Choosing the right domain name is crucial for your new website. It’s the initial step to build a brand online where most beginners fail.
Picking an SEO-friendly domain name is not as easy as it sounds. It takes time and a lot of consideration.
If you pick the wrong domain name, you may end up losing search traffic, revenue, or the worst that can happen, Google will mark your website as spam.
But don’t worry. I’ve got you covered.
In this article, I will share eight tips that will help you choose an SEO-friendly domain name for your new website.
Don’t have a website yet? Read this guide on How to Start a Blog!
What is a domain name?
A domain is your website’s name on the internet. It’s the address that people type into their web browser to reach your website.
In a domain name, the first part (before the dot sign) is called the domain and the last part (after the dot sign) is called the domain extension. For example, in the domain name “VincentGoh.com”, “VincentGoh” is the domain and “.com” is the extension.
When you register a domain name, you need to choose both the domain and extension based on your website type.
Why is your domain name so important?
- It defines your brand: A good domain name increases awareness of your brand and retains your customers.
- It adds credibility to your website: A domain is the first thing your visitors will see. A good domain name makes your website look professional.
- It increases the click-through rate: A good domain name helps to increase the click-through rate (CTR) as well as boost search traffic.
Let’s check how to choose an SEO-friendly domain name for your new website.
How to choose an SEO-friendly domain name
1. Use top-level domain extensions
Before purchasing a domain, you need to know which domain extension is right for you or suits your business.
There are over 1,000 domain extensions available in the domain name system and it’s pretty confusing to choose one.
According to W3Techs, more than 49% of all domain names have the “.com” extension. There are other popular domain extensions available that you can use like “.net”, “.org”, “.edu”, “.info”, etc.
Here’s an image below of top-level domains (TLDs):
The most used domain extensions are “.com”, “.net”, “.org”, “.edu”.
However, if you are going to start a blog, business or any kind of profitable website, then I highly recommend you go with the .com domain extension.
You may notice when somebody tells a website’s name for the first time, we usually access the website with the .com extension. This is because it’s so popular.
You may wonder if there is any SEO benefit of choosing a .com domain. If you are asking so, then in a domain name, the only thing that matters is the domain, not the extension. These extensions were created to differentiate different kinds of websites.
.com – .com is used for commercial businesses or any profitable websites. For example, Apple.com.
.net – .net stands for “networking”, which was created for network-related websites, such as, slideshare.net.
.edu – This extension is mostly used by education-related websites. For example, harvard.edu.
.org – Non-profit organizations mostly use the .org extension, such as Wikipedia.org.
Now, you can understand which type of domain extension suits your site. If you have a website for the purpose of making a profit, then go with the .com domain. However, if you are still not sure which extension is right for you, you can read an article that explains the difference between .com and .net domain.
Now, here comes the problem.
The .com extension is so popular; it looks like all the good .com domains are already taken. In this case, you need to come up with new domain names or go with .net or .org.
2. Go for brandable domain names
Have you ever wondered why many popular websites rank always higher than a brand-new site? The answer is they are not just a website, each of the websites is a brand. Search engines like Google use ‘brand signals’ to show articles from high-quality websites.
But what makes a domain name brandable? Well, there are several factors that come into play, for example,
- A brandable name is unique and has no specific meaning, for example, Google.com
- It’s very simple and easy to remember
- It’s simple to pronounce
- It stands out from the competition
For example, the domain “Apple.com” looks more brandable than the domain “TheNewBrandApple.com”.
To come up with new names, you can try adding relevant keywords or random suffixes but make sure the new domain sounds like a brand like we discussed before.
3. Keep your domain name short
Try to keep your domain name as short as possible. Short domain names are super easy to pronounce and also remember.
You see that most successful companies have a short name like Google, Amazon, Twitter, Facebook, and so on.
According to a study, the most typical domain name length is approximately 12 characters. We recommend you to keep your domain length between 6-14 characters.
This site – “VincentGoh.com” is exactly 10 characters long.
4. Avoid hyphens and numbers in your domain name
When choosing a domain name for SEO, it’s always better to avoid hyphens and numbers.
Hyphens and numbers make it harder to pronounce.
Let’s take Apple.com as an example.
Apple.com is a very short domain name and is easy to pronounce. More than that Apple.com sounds like a brand.
What if there were any hyphens or numbers in the name like “App-le.com” or “Number1Apple.com”, of course, the company could not have spread so promptly if that was the case.
So, if you are finding a domain name for your new website, always keep it simple and avoid hyphens and numbers.
5. Make sure it’s easy to type and memorable
Finding a domain name that’s easy to remember is very important to success online.
If you have a complex domain name such as jjkmysitee.com it is very hard for users to type. It’s also very hard to remember for them.
Now think, if your users want to revisit your website, your domain name will confuse them, and if they mistype your domain name, they will end up visiting another website. Not to mention, this way you will lose your visitors as well as revenue.
Just think how successful sites or companies choose their domain name. For example, Google, Facebook, BBC, Twitter, Yahoo, etc.
One thing they have in common is that they’re all simple to spell.
6. Don’t use repeated letters
Another thing you need to keep in mind when purchasing a domain is to not use repeated letters. Always keep it simple.
Here’s what I mean.
Let’s compare two domain names, “flowershop.com” and “floowershoop.com”.
The first one “flowershop.com” is a good domain name because it’s simple. The second domain name “floowershoop.com” contains repeated letters.
Now both the domains sound the same but look different. If your domain contains repeated letters then most of the time visitors will mistype your domain name and go to another site.
Indeed, most of the good domain names are already registered. But you shouldn’t use the same brand name and repeat the letters just because your business is in the same category.
7. Use domain name generators for new domain ideas
There is no wonder that most of the good domain names are already registered.
Luckily, there is a way you can generate hundreds of thousands of domain names. That’s where a domain name generator comes into play.
Basically, a domain name generator automatically adds relevant and most common suffixes.
NameCheap is a great domain name generator tool. Here’s how to use this tool to generate an unlimited number of domain name ideas.
8. Add a keyword to your domain name
If you are already familiar with search engine optimization (SEO), then you know how important keywords are.
On a page on your site, for example, you usually add the keywords in the title, in the meta description, in the URL, and several times inside the article.
So, why not add a keyword into your domain name?
It has no specific SEO benefits but it could help boost your search traffic by getting more people clicking on your listing. For example, if you are a web developer, then a good domain name that contains a keyword would be “webdevs.com”.
To register a domain name, write down a few domain names that suit your business. You can also use a domain name generator tool if needed.
Also, register your domain with the most popular extensions that I have discussed above, if you can. Remember, if you are late, somebody will register that domain.
Bluehost – Get a FREE domain for a year
Bluehost is one of the best web hosting companies out there and they are powering over 2 million websites worldwide. They are also officially recommended by WordPress.org.
In general, a domain costs around $14 for a year and web hosting $11-$14 per month. That’s pretty expensive if you are just getting started.
Luckily, Bluehost offers a 60% discount on their hosting plans. With Bluehost, you can register a domain for FREE for a year. They provide almost all types of top-level domain extensions such as .com, .net, .org, .info, and many more.
Their hosting plan includes a free SSL certificate, unlimited bandwidth, and more.
Choosing a domain is not easy. There are many things you need to keep in mind. By choosing a good domain name, you can easily create a brand as well as boost your search traffic.