I am asked quite a bit for advice on picking a domain (website) name but there are several factors to consider before you can select the right one and then what do you do if the name you want is unavailable. Here I attempt to explain what I do.
Firstly, your domain name would ideally be your company name, or if you are a new start-up, why not make your domain name (including the suffix such as .com) into your company name. However, always make sure the domain name is not copyrighted, someone else’s trademark or being used by another company.
Should your business rely on word of mouth or traditional advertising (not search engine marketing) you should be looking for a domain name that is easy to remember. If you have a long company name you might want to look for a shorter version of that name. The shorter the domain name, the easier it will be for people to remember how to spell it and they will not make mistakes when typing.
Avoid a name that is spelt differently depending on geography such as colour (UK) and color (US) or that is quite often misspelt (including slang). Also avoid number replacements of letters (t0ps1t3.com) or hyphens as people will not remember what letters need replacing to make the name or where the hyphens should go.
If your business relies on people finding you on the internet then you should consider using the keywords that they are likely to enter in the search box as part of your domain name. Search engines tend to give priority to URLs with the keywords in them and domain name makes sure those keywords appear on all your pages. Domain names can be of any length up to 67 characters.
There are many other extensions and initially they had their meanings but overtime anyone uses any extension for whatever purpose they want (there are a couple of domains that enforce a type of usage but not many – .mobi for mobile compatibility and .pro for professionals or professional services, spring to mind). If you can’t find a good name with the most popular .com or .co.uk extension then consider one of the other extensions (.net, .org, .info, etc…).
You might have trouble getting the domain name that you want but if your business is local, you might find the name you are looking for if you combine it with your location.
It is worth getting more than one domain name to redirect traffic to your main website (such as a longer name filled with keywords that search engines like). For your main website/company name you should also get more than one domain name extension to help protect your brand (so others can’t register anything similar for themselves). I wouldn’t bother with every extension available but definitely the most popular ones and always the .com and .co.uk if you can.
The most important thing though, is if you like the sound of a domain name then buy it. They are quite cheap and they do go quickly so get it registered before someone else does.