How much value is in a name?
When it comes to your domain name, there’s a LOT of value packed into it. If you’ve been having a difficult time choosing a domain name, you’re not alone. Many entrepreneurs feel the same way before they find “the one.”
It’s important to have a domain name because it will help your website look more professional. When your domain name is easier to remember, it will help you increase direct search traffic to your website, which leads to more engagement and lead generation.
You’ll also have a better chance of capturing and keeping your audience’s attention when your website is easy to find. That’s what we all want, but it starts with selecting a domain name that’s memorable and remarkable.
I know it can be a pretty big decision, but let’s make it feel easier with these five steps.
5 considerations to follow when choosing a domain name
Have you already spent time brainstorming names for your business? No matter if you have a few initial ideas or you’re drawing a blank, I’ll walk you through the process of choosing a domain name that’s best for you.
If you’re at this stage, your business is likely either in the pre-launch phase or you’re hoping to rebrand with a new name. It’s crucial to choose the right name for your business because it’s a significant part of your brand identity. It’s how you will be known and remembered.
Since it’s better for your SEO performance to keep using the same domain name for your website instead of changing it later, let’s make sure you make the right decision from the get-go. If you want to learn more about how that works, you can read up on the ins and outs of domain authority or find out more in my course Simple Showit SEO.
In the meantime, let’s dive into the main considerations you’ll want to keep in mind when deciding on a domain name for your site.
Make sure it’s available
This may seem obvious, but I’ve seen it happen before where an entrepreneur will become attached to a business name before they realize someone else is already using it.
If you can relate to this, you’re not alone. It’s happened to me with side projects before, so that’s why it’s best to immediately search for its availability. This doesn’t mean you have to completely let go of the name if it isn’t available, but I’ll talk more about that in a minute.
First, let’s talk about how to determine if a domain name is available. One way is to search for it on your own. For example, if someone was interested in the name “digital grace design,” they might search for “digitalgracedesign.com.”
By doing this search, they’d find my website, of course! That’s a clear sign that it’s already been taken. While this works, I find it easiest to search on domain name search sites like GoDaddy or Name.com.
Let’s use my same example. In searching for my own domain name, you’ll see the result message that says “digitalgracedesign.com is taken.” That makes sense, but what’s cool is that the tool will give you a few domain variations you might be interested in instead.
Let’s choose a different domain name and see if we get the same result. If you were a business coach for working moms and wanted the domain name of “themombossishere.com,” you’d quickly find that it’s available for purchase. From here, you could add it to your cart and make sure no one else takes it.
This is an easier decision to make if the price is right, which is what we’ll talk about next.
Know what your budget is
Did you notice in our previous example that “themombossishere.com” domain name is available for purchase at $9.99? This is a very affordable price point for a domain name. However, you may stumble upon a domain that is available but comes with a hefty price tag!
Let’s say you really liked the name “Cool Kids Club” for your business and blog. By doing a quick search, you’d be happy to see that it’s available… but then you’d see the price. Right now, to buy this domain, you’d need to spend over $7,000 to make it yours.
That’s quite a jump from the $9.99 domain we just saw!
Some business owners (myself included) would look at this price and move along to our next option. However, there are plenty of business owners who care enough about their business name to make that kind of investment (or more!) in their domain.
A few startup founders think $10,000 is a cheap price for a domain name, but all of these claims are relative to how much you’re willing to spend. Also, keep in mind what kind of value your domain name will bring to your business.
That’s why I recommend that my clients always have a maximum budget point in mind when they look for domains. That way, you end up choosing the right domain name at the right price for your business.
Choose your domain extension wisely
Have you noticed all of the examples I’ve presented so far have “.com” in the domain name? That’s because it is the most popular domain extension. It was originally created to designate for-profit businesses but most brands use it now.
It’s said that if the “.com” domain name is available for purchase, you almost always want to move forward with it. This is because most people will instinctively search for your name with a “.com” at the end of it, making it easier to find.
We’re all creatures of habit, so using the most common domain name extension will help your business increase direct search traffic. However, if the “.com” of your ideal domain isn’t available, you can also look into some other domain extensions.
Other popular domain extensions include:
- .net (originally used for tech-based websites)
- .org (primary used by nonprofits, political organizations, etc.)
- .co (typically used when the “.com” extensions isn’t available)
- .us (or similar domain to designate the country the site is from)
You may have also noticed that more people are using domain names that add longer domain extensions that are unique to their site. This is done in hopes that it will become more memorable for their users, like Ashley and Dale using “theabundance.group” instead of “theabundancegroup.com.”
With domains, you have more creative freedom and control over what your domain says than ever! While I typically recommend my clients to choose a “.com” domain, there may be instances where that isn’t the case. In the end, it’s up to you.
Consider if you have any name competition issues
If you’ve gotten to this stage and you’re still completely sold on your domain name, there are a few more questions to ask yourself. One of them is if you are choosing a domain name that is similar to another competitor in your industry.
This is really important to check for, especially if the other company has a part of their name trademarked or copyrighted. You don’t want to get into a legal mess over a name, so it’s best to do this check before you move forward.
Also, you wouldn’t want a similar name and potentially create market confusion. This mix-up could be detrimental to your business, theirs, and your customers. Instead of standing out from other businesses in your field, you’d end up blending in with them. If you’re a new business, that’s even worse for you since they likely have an established name and customer base.
So, how do you determine if your name is too close of a fit? If you really want to avoid legal issues, it’s best to go to a practicing attorney rather than only asking friends and family members. Only a legal professional can give you the peace of mind you’re looking for.
As always, if you find yourself getting too inspired by a competitor, I recommend unfollowing them and staying in your lane. Remember how our teachers in school told us to keep our eyes on our own paper? That’s what we need to do in business so we don’t sound or look like someone else in our field.
Let’s go to the last consideration!
See if your name is available on social media
While this doesn’t have as much to do with your domain name process, it’s still a good idea to see if your business name has already been taken on social media. You already know how important it is to promote your business on social media, so this step should seem like a no-brainer.
If it isn’t available on social media, you don’t have to throw away the name! Instead, you might want to look into creating variations of it.
For example, if I found that @digitalgracedesign was taken on Instagram by someone else, here are a few ways I could switch it up so I can still keep my same domain name:
Of course, it would be best if you could keep the exact same name as your domain, but it’s tougher on social media since you are also competing with people who have personal accounts.
Once you decide on a name, sign up for a new email address and use it to create an account on each social media platform. That way, when you’re ready to launch (or relaunch) your business, you’ll already have the names set aside for you.
Searching for your domain name should be easy
I know the domain name process can feel overwhelming and daunting at times, especially if you keep running into issues with your ideal names being taken. My best advice is to search early, reduce your attachments to any given name, and have fun with it!
You may be able to move forward with your first idea, or you may go back to the drawing board a few times. No matter what this looks like for you, don’t get lost in the details. You’ve got this!
If you need more resources and help with naming your business:
- 7 Tips for Naming Your Business
- Business Name Generator from Shopify
- Don’t Call It That! A Naming Workbook on Kindle