How to choose the perfect domain name for your website

Every website needs a domain. The domain is what visitors use when accessing your website and is vitally important. An example of a domain is ours, which is elixirrdesign.com.

Throughout this article we will refer to different parts of the a domain. These parts often have similar names so can be confusing when discussed. Refer to our diagram if you’re ever unsure.

How to choose the best domain

How good a domain is can be quite subjective but following certain guidelines can make your domain easier for users to remember and use.

  • Make it short. Shorter domain are easier for users to remember and quicker to write down. Keep in mind that your root domain will make up part of your email address and this is something people might have to type in frequently. Ideally your domain name should be 15 characters or less.
  • Make it easy to spell. If you need to explain the spelling to somebody over the phone, you’re making room for errors and mistakes. Somebody could misspell your domain and end up on an entirely different website, losing you a potential sale.
  • Make is easy to say. If people are mispronouncing your domain this can lead to confusion surrounding your business. It can also lead to spelling errors when people write it down or type it in.
  • A very common but very effective choice is simply ensuring your domain name is the same as your business name or the name you use to trade. This is professional and helps users to find you when they search for your brand.

What if my business name has been taken?

There are billions of websites so there’s a good chance the domain you want has been taken, especially if you’re looking for a .com. There are ways to get around this and still have an effective domain name.

Add a localised keyword

If your company was called Elixirr Design and you were based in London you might use elixirrdesignlondon.com. A benefit to this is it can help you be noticed by search engines. Users often search for a service, product or business name followed by a location.

A negative to this is that it isn’t suitable for companies that serve a larger area or operate internationally. It restricts you should you ever decide to branch out to new locations.

Use a new domain extension

We’re all familiar with the likes of .com and .co.uk domain extensions. They’re what most people use. However there are hundreds of other extensions available such as .education, .business, .cars and .law. These are great because they combine your business name with a keyword relevant to your company. This helps to instantly add context to your business and can help with search engine optimisation.

Most people expect something like a .co.uk or .com domain, so an alternative extension may cause some confusion and require an explanation. However as these extensions become more popular this should become less of a problem.

Add something before your business name

This could be as simple as adding “weare” so your domain name could be weareelixirrdesign.com. Another option could be thisiselixirrdesign.com. Some companies choose to add a verb, for example tryelixirrdesign.com. Depending on your company name you might be able to prefix it with “the”.

Things to Avoid

Avoid using digits

Adding numbers to the end of your domain name can look like a choice made as a last resort. You couldn’t have the name you originally wanted so you added some numbers to the end of it like it’s a personal email address.

It can also create confusion when users don’t know whether they should be spelling a number or using digits when typing in your domain.

Avoid hyphens and dashes

Any special characters are generally worth avoiding. These can create confusion when it comes to giving out your domain name. In an ideal world you would also like your social media handles to match your domain name and a lot of platforms don’t allow special characters.

Purposefully misspelled words

By using a misspelled word or phrase you’re asking for confusion when trying to communicate your domain name. We know what you’re thinking and we at Elixirr have to confess to committing this sin!

Initialisms

An initialism is a group of letters that are pronounced separately to make a word. For example DVD or USB. These may seem easy to remember because they’re household names. However if your domain name is what can seem like a random assortment of letters it can be difficult to recall until it’s imprinted in somebody’s mind.

Homonyms

A homonym is a word that can have the same spelling or pronunciation as another but has a very different meaning. For example the words hair, hare and her. The English language is packed full of these so they can be difficult to avoid, but they’re something worth keeping in mind.

Accidental spellings

Sometimes putting two words together doesn’t always have the desired effect. If your company is called ‘Business of Art’ you should probably avoid using businessofart.com. Although this could lead to a lot of people sharing your website for a bit of fun!

Test Your Domain

A quick and easy way to test your domain is to tell it verbally to a selection of people and ask them to write it down or type it up. You’ll soon discover if there are any issues that need to be ironed out.

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