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How To Choose a Domain Name: The Ultimate Guide

One of the most common dilemmas for people starting a website is how to choose a domain name.

A domain name is much more than an address used to identify your website on the internet. It can make or break your business. A good name can help you establish an online identity, improve brand recognition and make a profit. A bad name can prevent you from achieving all these things.

All of this means there’s enormous pressure to choose the right domain name.

The good news is that there are many strategies you can use to create an effective domain name. This guide to how to choose a domain name will share 15 tips to help.

Let’s start:


How to choose a domain name: tips

1. Use a domain name generator for ideas

Whether you already have something in mind or are completely clueless about your future domains name, name generators can help a lot. They can give you a good starting point or further improve your existing idea. This is one of the best free domain name generators:

DomainWheel

DomainWheel is an AI-based name generator that can help you generate dozens of name ideas in seconds. Simply enter a keyword, click Search Domain, and see the results!

These are the results we got from DomainWheel when searching for the word “health”:

How to choose a domain name: DomainWheel domain name generator search results for "health"

If you want even more creative ideas, you can scroll down the page to find suggestions for words that sound like or rhyme with your original keyword. You’ll also get some random suggestions. Click on any suggested word to generate a whole new set of name ideas.

How to choose a domain name: DomainWheel additional suggestions

This tool is free, so you can use it to run as many searches as you want. As an added bonus, DomainWheel automatically checks to make sure domains are available. This means all of the suggestions you see will be domains you can claim right away.

2. Choose domain extension wisely

How to choose a domain name and extension when there are so many possibilities? There are over 1500 TLDs (domain extensions) [1]. The most common ones are com, net, org, etc. Even though there are plenty of interesting options out there now and you might feel tempted to use some of the interesting options like .pizza or .ninja, you should go with trusted basics. Using extensions like com, net or org instills trust.

Google says that extensions do not affect ranking, but with so many online scams and spam mail, people may be less likely to click on a website with an unknown extension and open a mail from such a business. More than 37% of domains have a .com extension, and there is a good reason for it [2].

3. Keep it short

According to available data, the most common .com domain name length is 12 characters [3]. A domain name can have up to 63 characters up to the extension (.com, for instance). However, the golden rule in domain naming is that less is better. Namely, according to a study conducted by Gaebler, the five most popular domains have only six characters [4].

On average, the 100 most popular websites have 6.2 characters. And as we expand the number even further, a pattern begins to emerge. The top 100 websites have seven, and the top 10,000 websites have eight characters on average. And if we increase the number to 100,000, we get 9.1 characters.

4. Add keywords

The next tip on how to choose a domain name has to do with keywords. Namely, making it easy for search engines to find you and place you in SERPs. For instance, if you are in the car or coffee business, make sure that you put it in your domain name. If you are oriented toward the local market, mentioning the location in the name can be beneficial for local SEO. Use Google Keyword Planner and our guide on choosing the best SEO domain name to help you out.

5. Make it easy to pronounce and spell

People might mention your business or website to their friends. Having a name that is difficult to pronounce or easy to misunderstand can do much harm. In fact, it might send your potential customers straight to your competition. They will type in the wrong name in the search bar, search engines will provide them with the next best thing, and they are gone.

For best results, choose a domain name that is spelled the way it sounds. This will make it easy for people who hear your name to type it out and remember the spelling later on.

6. Make it unique and specific

Your brand and domain name needs to make a statement, be unique and memorable. Also, for a beginner, it is best to have a name that gives a clue about the company’s niche. Of course, there are plenty of company names that don’t follow this rule, but these companies made a name for themselves when there was much less competition in the market.

7. Check the domain history

There is a chance that the domain you chose had a previous owner and, thus, history. If it is bad, it could affect your rankings. You can check the previous history using tools such as Wayback Machine and Whoxy.

How to choose a domain name: Wayback Machine screenshot

8. Check if the social media handles are available

Social media is very important. You would want to have social media handles the same as your domain name. You could do it manually, but it would take too much time. So, we recommend using Namecheckr. It allows you to check dozens of social networks with one click.

How to choose a domain name: Namecheckr screenshot

9. Act quickly so someone doesn’t beat you to it

Statistics say that there are 175 websites created every minute [5]. So, by the time you finish reading this article, there will be another 1,000 websites out there. The chances of someone else stealing your ideas are not that high, but they exist. So, don’t waste too much time overthinking things.

10. Protect your brand

As we’ve mentioned earlier in this guide on how to choose a domain name, there are so many extensions out there. And it is wise to secure your position by acquiring the most popular extensions of your domain name and the most common misspellings (view advice No5).

People may remember the name but not the extension. And when they type it, they might confuse them. This is an obvious example:

Safeatlast.org

How to choose a domain name - Safeatlast.org screenshot

Safeatlast.co

Safeatlast.co screenshot

Now, these two companies are not in the same industry or niche, and they are not competitors. One company won’t steal the other company’s customers. But if someone types in the wrong extension, they might think they’ve remembered the domain name wrong altogether or even that your company doesn’t exist anymore.


How to choose a domain name: what not to do

1. Avoid using double letters, hyphens, and dashes

You should avoid everything that’s hard to pronounce or explain verbally. Hyphens and dashes fall into that category. To be honest, they are sometimes even hard to type (when switching keyboards, for instance). Let’s not forget that the number of voice searches is on the constant rise and that AI assistants are gaining popularity. By 2026, more than half of internet users will use voice assistants [6].

Double letters are also on our list of things to avoid when choosing a domain name. You are simply asking for typos that will lead your traffic elsewhere.

2. Avoid funny spellings and slang

Funny-spelled words or slang might seem cute and interesting, but to an outside observer thinking about clicking on your website or opening your business email, they might look suspicious.

Avoid words that have many homophones, words that sound the same but have different meanings. For instance:

  • To, too, and two.
  • Ait, ate, and eight.
  • Ade, aid, and aide.
  • Peak, peek, peke, pique, etc.

3. Don’t use other companies’ brands

Getting sued for copyright infringement is certainly not at the top of anyone’s must-do list. That’s no way to start a business, but it is a way to end it.

So, it is best to do good research and avoid stepping on some corporate toes. You can check trademarks registered in the US on Trademark247.com.

Trademark247 screenshot

4. Avoid making it too niche-specific

Businesses develop over time; they expand or take different courses. Don’t let your name limit your business. For instance, don’t name a website topmotorcyclestudio.com when you could possibly expand to automobiles, trucks, and motorboats.

5. Don’t overspend

Expenses are an important factor in any business, and you should keep them low, at least until you start getting some income. So, getting affordable hosting with free domain registration is a good starting point. We can recommend Bluehost; it is affordable and dependable.

Bluehost screenshot

How to choose a domain name: conclusion

As you can see, choosing a good name for your domain is not that hard as long as you do your research. Choose a user-friendly name that’s easy to spell and remember, while also being unique and relevant to your brand.

If you can’t think of any name ideas, simply plug keyword or phrase into DomainWheel to instantly generate dozens of domain name ideas.

πŸ—οΈ First time building a website? Check out our guide to πŸ‘‰ How To Install WordPress on Bluehost!