Choosing the right domain name can be tricky. In terms of traffic, picking the right one is critical. Domains that are difficult to remember or type directly affect how easy it is for users to get to your site, and ones that inaccurately portray your content may deter visitors from search results.
Domain Name Relevance
Sometimes new website owners get so caught up in coming up with a clever domain name that they forget what the website is really about – their identity, content, or service. A domain that doesn’t represent these things will likely only confuse visitors.
Try brainstorming several keywords that represent your website first. If you run a nail salon, do some research. Think about terms commonly associated with your brand or service. And don’t be afraid to be obvious – if you own a nail salon, put nail salon in the domain name!
And remember not to get too caught up in clever keywords. Aim for memorable and relevant, not something that attempts to squeeze in as many keywords as possible.
Easy to Remember and Understand
If your domain name is likely to be mistyped, it’s likely to lose traffic. Or, at the least, confuse users, which hurts your user experience and affects how users view your brand.
Common mistakes in this area include things like dashes, which aren’t often pronounced and are easily forgotten, and things like numbers which will often be confused for their actual word version.
Also, don’t make the domain name so long that a spelling error is more likely to occur (or otherwise be forgotten or confused).
A good way to test for this? Ask a friend to type it out or write it down. You can repeat this process, but chances are if one person got it wrong, then it’s not going to stand the test of the internet.
Keep It Simple
Although the temptation to follow in the footsteps of traffic giants like Tumblr and Flickr may be great, try to avoid getting too out there with your domain name.
It’s good to be memorable, and quirky things like spelling and crafty word choice can help with that, but consider how those choices might impact your users. It’s taken some brands years to build up their current traffic under brands like that – carving a niche with something novel is like swimming against the current.
Also, you might be tempted to pick one of those shiny TLDs (top-level domains) like .ly or .co, but the reality is that while these certainly have their uses, it makes more sense to go with what users are expecting. And that is typically a .com ending.
Choose a Domain That’s Not Already Taken
Say you come up with the perfect name, it represents you, your brand, your business, and it’s easy to remember and super catchy. When you go to get it registered, however – someone already grabbed it.
This is an unfortunate reality of sharing the internet with countless other international businesses. The good news is, you can always check if the name you picked is available on your hosting site, or with your hosting provider.
Domain names are a critical part of not only your website, but your identity. If they don’t represent your company accurately, are difficult to type, or aren’t easy to remember, users will have trouble finding your site and understanding its purpose, making them less likely to recommend your website or service, or to return, period. So, make sure it makes sense and keep it simple.