How to Choose a Domain Name

A domain name is a website’s signature, its virtual calling card. Because of this, it’s vital that you pick the best domain name possible. Yet, that might seem easier said than done. With so many choices, selecting the right name can be overwhelming. Luckily, Constant Contact’s website builder makes it easy to search for and then select the perfect domain name. 

Curious how to come up with a blog name or domain name? To help you with that, we’ll review the following tips:

  • Ask yourself the right questions
  • Pick a website extension
  • Use a domain naming formula
  • Keep the name short and simple
  • Make sure it’s available on social media
  • Don’t give in to choice paralysis
  • Register your domain name

Ready to get your flashy new domain name? Let’s dive right in. 

Ask yourself the right questions

Before you dive right in, give yourself plenty of time for the research phase. This will help you reach the optimal domain and blog name on your first try. So, ask yourself the following:

What is the site or blog going to be about?  

With your website, you should have a strong vision prior to getting started. Ask yourself: what is the purpose of this platform? 

Your domain name should align with your site. So it would be pointless to come up with a name such as ‘The luxurious traveler’ and then write about sports. Although you could come up with a vague name, it’s best to find your niche and then think of words, phrases, and ideas that are related to it. 

Who is the target audience?

You want to cater your website to a specific customer persona. Doing so will help you better understand the brand’s identity and come up with a suitable name.

Your name isn’t the end all be all, especially if you already have an established reputation. That said, when you’re a new site, the wrong name could turn away prospective readers or visitors who assume that it’s not meant for them. 

First impressions are extremely important, after all.

What name has your competition chosen? 

Research your competitors’ site and see how their name applies to the niche, audience, tone, voice, and the brand itself. Identify their strengths and weaknesses, then ask yourself whether the name encapsulates their service offering. This practice can help inspire domain name ideas, shape your naming strategy, and iron out what you want to focus on. 

Pick a website extension 

Currently, there are 7 primary top-level domains (TLD), which are also known as domain extensions. These are:

  • .com – Shortened for commercial, this is the most popular extension.
  • .net – Shortened for network, this is the second most popular extension but is typically only used by service providers.
  • .org – Shortened for organization, this is often used for nonprofits.
  • .edu – Shortened for education, this is reserved for universities and secondary schools.
  • .gov – Shortened for government, this is only used by agencies, officials, or agents.
  • .mil – Shortened for the military, this is reserved for the American military branches.
  • .int – Shortened for international, this is usually used by international organizations.

In addition to the top 7 TLDs, there are hundreds of alternatives like .co, .biz, .shop, .blog. 

Selecting a .com is often recommended. This is because it’s the most common TLD and nearly everyone is familiar with them. In fact, nearly half of all websites use a .com. Although alternative TLDs allow you to be clever and unique, sometimes they dissuade visitors from clicking through to your website. 

Constant Contact’s domain finder makes it easy to check for a domain name’s availability. Even if it’s taken, you may be able to purchase it from the owner. But keep in mind that popular domain names can cost a pretty penny. 

Use a domain naming formula 

Although there’s room for creativity, generally, a domain name should be:

  • Short
  • Catchy
  • Memorable
  • Easy to say and spell
  • Unique

There are several methodologies to come up with a fun and catchy domain name. 

These include:

  • Audience and final goal – By combining the main topic and primary audience, this formula simplifies the naming process. For example, teenconnect could be a blog that’s focused on helping teenagers handle romance and interpersonal connections. 
  • Portmanteau – Portmanteaus are when you combine multiple words or sounds into one domain name. For instance, a podcast is a portmanteau of the words iPod and broadcast. 
  • Visual thesaurusVisual thesaurus is a powerful mapping tool that you can use to identify strong root words for your brand name. From there, build upon or modify the optimal words as you see fit.  
  • Domain name generator – Name generators are an easy way to create unique names or variations of the ones you’ve been considering. In addition, many generators will automatically tell you whether the extension and domain are registered. This is so you don’t land on the best domain name and then wind up disappointed when you discover it’s already been taken. 
  • Keyword-rich names – These are domain names that emphasize specific SEO keywords that can be used to describe your product or service. SEO is short for search engine optimization, a technique for getting websites found on Google and Bing (search engines). For this, you’ll want to do some keyword research and generate a list of keywords and phrases that describe what your company does. Ideally, a potential customer would be able to find your site intuitively through searching one of these terms. 
  • Brand-centric names – Many brands become associated with their name over time due to recognition. Names like Amazon.com or Google.com didn’t have any clear and specific meaning to the average person but gradually grew to be a part of our vocabulary. Think of this type of name as an empty vessel that you define as you grow your brand. 

Keep the name short and simple

In the game of brand-ability, a name that is short and sweet makes it easier to remember. You want to be able to vocalize or show the name (visually) and create an immediate link. 

So, what are the characteristics of a short domain name?

  • Fewer than 15 characters, not including the domain extension
  • Free of hyphens, symbols, underscores or any other type of punctuation
  • Simple words that don’t include numbers unless absolutely necessary
  • Easy to remember and easy to pronounce
  • Although this rule can be broken, generally speaking, it’s best for your domain name to be spelled predictably  

You’ll also want your domain name to easily be showcased through a visual branding element, such as a logo. A short, recognizable domain name will make it easy to figure out how to create a logo that best represents your brand. When you design your logo, you can pull inspiration from your registered domain name. Or with Constant Contact’s logo maker, you can simply type in your brand’s name or slogan (or domain name, in this case) and our AI-tool will generate hundreds of eye-catching logos to choose from.

Make sure it’s available on social media 

Although this isn’t a necessity, it’s wise to have a domain name that matches your social media handles. When selecting a domain, check social media sites for availability also. This includes: 

  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • Twitter

By keeping a uniform name between your site, blog, and social media platforms, you help to further establish your brand and identity. Also, Constant Contact allows you to integrate your website and blog page with your social media channels. This gives you a powerful marketing opportunity via social media ads; however, if your site and social media handles don’t align, your ad campaign may be less effective. You want all your channels to be seamless.  

Don’t give in to choice paralysis 

Naturally, you may feel overwhelmed by the number of choices at your fingertips. Furthermore, if you pick the wrong name, you don’t want to be stuck with it. Worry not, this is normal. While you should go about the process methodically, don’t overthink it. In all likelihood, you might choose a name you’re not crazy about only to obsess over it in the future.

A decent domain name is better than none. So, give it time. Think carefully. But don’t wait forever to choose a perfect name. It’s also important to remember that you shouldn’t fixate on a single one since there’s a chance it might already be taken. 

Instead, come up with a list of top candidates and then go from there.  

Register your domain name

By this point, you’ve done your homework and come up with your favorite domain and blog names. Once you’re set, you need to check for availability, and if it’s available, purchase and register the name. To accomplish this, follow these steps:

  • Search for a potential domain name with Constant Contact’s domain name search tool.
  • Enter your chosen name. 
  • Constant Contact will display a list of potential candidates, extensions, and annual prices.
  • If available, select the name and continue to checkout.

Constant Contact is the all-in-one platform to build a website and blog, and register a domain name. On top of that, you receive a domain name with your website for the first year of an annual plan.

Why it’s important to know how to choose a domain name

As you can tell, there are several steps that go into choosing a domain name. As a word of caution, it’s important that you don’t rush through the process, but rather, carefully weigh and consider each stage. By doing so, you’ll increase the chance that you land on the perfect name — one that helps you establish your authority, build your personal or business brand, and improve your search engine optimization efforts. 

Every domain name on the internet is unique thanks to the domain registrar system. This means that you have a chance to select a catchy name that will become uniquely associated with your site, blog, and product or service. But what are the characteristics of a good name? Typically the right domain name will:

  • Reflect your personal or business brand 
  • Answer who you are as a business
  • Indicate the product or service you’re selling

Remember, your domain name will act as your virtual storefront. Therefore, it’s crucial that you think of this process the same way you would about finding a physical location for your business to operate out of. For that, you wouldn’t simply go with the first option you find, right? Of course not. You’d need to take the time to scout various locations, weigh their costs and benefits, and find the one that best suits your business. 

Treat your domain name with the same reverence and you’ll increase the likelihood that you pick the best domain name. 

Constant Contact: Helping you every step of the way

A domain name plays an important role in any website or blog. Not only is it important for internet navigation but it’ll also become a key part of your brand’s identity. Therefore, you must take the time to ensure that you pick the right domain name. If you want to simplify the process, keep in mind the following advice: 

  • Do your research and ask the right questions
  • Use a .com domain name extension 
  • Utilize a domain name formula
  • Keep the name short and sweet
  • Check for availability on social media
  • Don’t overthink it

Once you’ve completed these steps, you’ll be sure to have a list of awesome names to choose from. After that, register it. But what do you do if you don’t even have a website yet and don’t know how to make a website? 

For that, there’s also Constant Contact. Creating your own website using our intelligent builder takes under an hour. Whether you need a domain name or website, Constant Contact makes it easy to get both quickly and easily.

Interested in getting your site going or your domain name registered? Let’s get started.

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