The number of domain names to choose from is virtually limitless. With a plethora of top-level domains (TLDs) and the ability to use any combination of numbers, letters, and hyphens in your domain, the possibilities are endless. However, this freedom also opens the door to potential mistakes. Here are fourteen common errors to avoid when selecting your domain name:
1. Avoid Double Letters
Domain names with double letters, such as ‘ss’ or ‘tt,’ can confuse people. For instance, domains like ‘suziesscents’ or ‘supersmartteam’ leave users unsure if it’s one ‘S’ (or ‘T’) or two.
It’s best to avoid consecutive double letters in your domain name. Instead, find a unique, correctly spelled domain that fits your brand.
2. Steer Clear of Nontraditional Spellings
Domains like ‘kandles’, ‘jewlz’, or ‘kitchn’ may seem creative, but they can lead users to the correctly spelled domain – potentially a competitor’s site.
If ‘fancypants.com’ is taken, settling for ‘fancypantz.com’ might inadvertently send your customers to another site. Instead, find a unique, correctly spelled domain that fits your brand.
3. Avoid Hyphens
Some suggest using hyphens in domains, like ‘mamas-home-business-advice.com,’ to include keywords. While this once provided an SEO advantage, it can make your domain confusing and complicated to remember today. Instead, opt for a domain without hyphens, like ‘mamashomebusinessadvice.com,’ which is still a bit long but easier to remember and tell your customers.
4. Avoid Complicated Domains
Any domain name that requires an explanation is likely too complex. A simple, memorable domain like ‘mycompany.com’ allows visitors to return without having to write it down or second guess themselves. Avoid domains with tricky spellings or unusual words that might confuse visitors. The easier your domain is to remember and type, the better.
5. Consider Your Business Image
The words in your domain should portray a professional image of your business. For example, a candle business might want to avoid words like “smell” and “odor” in their domain name, even if they are descriptive. Instead, opt for words that evoke the right image, like ‘premiumcandles.com.’ This not only sounds more professional, but it also gives a better impression of what your business offers.
6. Don’t Ignore Local Relevance
Consider including your city or state in the domain name if your business is primarily local. But, be careful not to limit your business if you may expand to other areas. For example, ‘chicagoplumbers.com ‘is a good choice if you’re a plumbing business in Chicago but not if you plan to expand nationally. It’s important to strike a balance between local relevance and future expansion.
7. Avoid Overly Long Domains
A domain name that’s too long can be challenging for users to remember and more prone to typos. Keep your domain name short, simple, and memorable. For example, instead of ‘bestplumbingandheatingrepair.com,’ consider something shorter like ‘bestplumbheat.com.’ Shorter domain names are generally easier to remember and less prone to typos.
8. Check for Trademark Infringement
Always ensure the domain name you’ve chosen isn’t trademarked or copyrighted. This could result in a legal mess that could cost you a fortune and your domain! Use online tools like the USPTO’s trademark database to check for potential conflicts. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when avoiding trademark infringement.
9. Remember the Extension
.com is the most popular domain name extension, but it’s not the only one. There are many other options like .net, .org, .biz, .info, etc. However, users associate .com with more established, credible businesses, so it’s generally best to go for this if available. For example, ‘mybusiness.com’ is usually perceived as more trustworthy than ‘mybusiness.biz.’
10. Register Similar Domains
If your domain name could be easily misspelled, consider registering those misspellings to prevent competitors from siphoning off your traffic. Similarly, you might want to register your domain’s .net and .org versions. For instance, if your domain is ‘mybusiness.com,’ consider registering and ‘mybusiness.net.’
11. Avoid Using Numbers
Unless it’s a part of your brand name, using numbers in a domain name can be confusing. People who hear your website address need to know whether they should spell out the number or use the numeral. For example, if your domain is ‘4everflowers.com’, people might need clarification about whether it’s ‘4everflowers.com’ or ‘foreverflowers.com.’ It’s generally best to avoid numbers unless they’re a part of your brand name.
If you need to use numbers, register both domain variations, such as ‘4everflowers.com’ and ‘foreverflowers.com,’ or ’11movers.com’ and ‘elevenmovers.com.’
12. Check Social Media Availability
Before finalizing your domain name, check whether the same name is available on social media platforms. This helps maintain brand consistency across different platforms. For example, if your domain is ‘mybusiness.com,’ make sure ‘mybusiness’ is also available on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
13. Consider Future Business Expansion
While choosing a domain name that reflects what your business does is important, it’s also crucial not to limit your options for future expansion. For example, if you sell dog food, choosing a domain name like ‘bestdogfood.com’ might limit your options if you decide to sell other pet products. Instead, consider a more general domain like ‘bestpetproducts.com.’
14. Domain Name Generators Can Help
If you need help coming up with a catchy, available domain name, several online domain name generators can help. These tools can provide ideas based on your keywords, helping you find the perfect domain name for your business.
15. Consider Domain Name Scalability
As your business grows, your domain name should be able to grow with it. Avoid choosing a domain name that is too niche or specific to a particular product or service. For example, if you start a business selling handmade soap and choose a domain name like ‘handmadesoapstore.com,’ you might limit your growth if you expand your product line to include other handmade beauty products. A more scalable domain name is ‘handmadebeautystore.com.’
16. Make it Pronounceable
A domain name that’s easy to pronounce is easier to remember. Avoid using words that are difficult to say or that have unusual spellings. For example, a domain name like ‘pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis.com’ is not only hard to spell, but it’s also hard to pronounce. Instead, choose a domain name that’s simple, straightforward, and easy to say.
17. Avoid Double Meanings
Words can have different meanings, so be careful to avoid any unintended or inappropriate double meanings in your domain name. For example, a domain name like ‘itscrap.com’ could be intended to mean ‘IT’s Scrap,’ but it could also be read as ‘it’s crap,’ which has a negative connotation. Always check your domain name for potential double meanings before you register it.
Remember, your domain name is an integral part of your brand. It’s one of the first things a visitor will see, and it can have a big impact on their first impression of your business. So take the time to choose a domain name that aligns with your brand and is easy for your customers to remember.