I’ve got clients who, literally, spend weeks or months trying to come up with the perfect domain name for their new website. They probably lose sleep over it. I always say, yes, try to come up with a good (or great) domain name, but don’t stress yourself out over it!
Occasionally, I’ll help a client come up with a name. One of the best, in my opinion, was www.locktheknee.com. That was for a yoga studio, in which the owner/teacher would, during a particular pose, always say, “Lock the knee!” So, I thought, what a great name for her website. And she and all her students loved it! Very catchy and memorable. Of course, it doesn’t mean much to non-students of that studio, so we also came up with a second name, which made sense for others and got automatically forwarded to the site.
Does including keywords in your domain name help with its Google rankings? Some Google experts have suggested it is a “very small ranking factor.” In my own – nonscientific – tests, I haven’t seen much, if any, evidence. For example, when I do a Google search, here in Victoria, for “website design”, of the top 20 results (nrichmedia included), only two had one of those keywords in the domain name. That’s 10%. Not exactly overwhelming support.
All of this is not to say that your domain shouldn’t include keywords. It certainly can’t hurt. But I wouldn’t make much of a fuss over it.
Tips for coming up with a good domain name:
- The shorter the better. Try to keep it to a maximum of four (preferably short) words.
- Make sure people can spell it easily, otherwise they might end up at your competition’s website. If your name is difficult to spell or there are multiple spellings (e.g., Brian/Bryan) use something else.
- If it works, go for a name about the business you’re in, in general. For example, if you’re a plumber, rather than mcneilsplumbingservices.com, how about something like thedependableplumber.com?
- Better yet, if you can come up with something cute and catchy, people will remember it – e.g., nomoredrips.com.
- Remember, you can always get a second domain name (cheap!) and have it forward (or mask) to your original name.
- Stay away from hyphens if possible. People want easy!
- At the same time, be careful stringing words together with no spaces between them. You never know where people are going to split the words in their mind. “Bob’s Hit Records” may not look as intented as a domain name! 😉
- If at all possible, get a .com, rather than .ca, .net, .biz, etc. After all these years I still find that people think .com no matter what you tell them your domain name is. Having said that though, if you’ve got a great name and it’s not available as a .com, you might consider one of the alternative extensions.
As with many things, coming up with a good/great domain name is a balancing act between thinking up something unique and memorable and one that is easy for people to spell. Use your imagination and inspiration and you’re bound to come up with a good one. But don’t lose sleep agonizing over it!
This article has been updated since its original publication.