How to Choose a Domain Name

You definitely want to put some thought into choosing a domain name. The goal of the tips below is not to meet every criteria (that would be impossible), but to give you some guidelines to consider in the process.

how to choose a domain name

Just so we’re straight:

  • Domain = amylynnandrews.com
  • URL = http://amylynnandrews.com

1. Go with .com

Most of the time internet users assume .com when browsing. Having a .net, .info, .tv or any other extension puts another potential roadblock in the process of finding you. Having said that, there are plenty of successful sites that use a .net extension (or something else), but a .com is ideal.

2. Short and sweet

The shorter the better. Enough said.

3. Easy to say and spell

The goal is for your domain name to be passed along easily by you and by others. This is more likely to happen if people don’t have to stop and think about how to say or spell it.

4. No hyphens

It’s not very smooth or punchy to specify a hyphen. (“Hi my name is Jane and my domain is fly hyphen fishing dot com.”)

5. Use keywords

Have you read my post What is SEO? (And Why It Matters)? Your domain is one of the best places to use a keyword or two. And the more compact and closer to the beginning of your domain, the better. For example, if “fly fishing” is your keyword, FlyFishingAdventures.com is better than AdventuresInFlyFishing.com.

6. Consider using your name

I highly recommend registering your name as a domain even if you have no plans to do anything with it. Why? Because you never know if you just might become a household name in the future. And then you’ll be glad you have it.

If you plan on using your blog to sell a service you provide or if you hope to speak or become a published writer, your name might be perfect.

If you have a really difficult name to say or spell, consider using your first and middle, or a nickname, or make up a new name altogether (yes, people really do that).

7. Make it expandable

You never know how your business might expand, so avoid names that box you in. For example, FlyFishingLures.com is nice, but what if you want to sell fishing poles down the line too? I also recommend avoiding life-stage-specific names like AllAboutMyWildAndCrazyToddlers.com. (It’s good now, but they’re toddler years will be over so fast!)

8. Avoid strings of words

If you have a wide range of interests and you also want to incorporate keywords in your domain, you might be tempted to string them all together. I recommend against this simply because it’s confusing. LuresRodsLinesPoles.com is a recipe for major confusion when a visitor is trying to remember the correct order.

9. Avoid obscure terms

If you are trying to appeal to a wide audience, avoid using niche-specific terms in your domain that someone outside your niche would be unfamiliar with.

10. But all the good names are taken!

Be creative. It’s very possible (and in many cases probable) that you’ll come up with the perfect domain only to find it’s already taken when you try to register it. Don’t be afraid to go back to the drawing board. Try looking up similar words in the thesaurus. Ask others for ideas. Mix words up or around. Use a tagline, a nickname or a phrase you say all the time.

11. Make sure the name is available on other social media sites

When picking your domain, check other social media sites to make sure it’s available on those sites too. If you use the same name on your blog and on Twitter, Facebook, etc., it solidifies your brand and makes it more memorable. Kikolani alerted me to this cool tool that helps you do just that: knowem?

12. Don’t overthink it

I hear from a lot of people who get stuck at this point because they’re afraid of making the wrong choice. The most common problem is that they can’t find an available .com. If this is you, just make your best guess and move on. A not-quite-perfect domain name is better than no domain name at all. Just do your best and own it!

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