Choosing your domain name isn’t as simple as it sounds. The name might sound amazing to you, your friends may love it because it’s funny (to them), or you may think you’re the first person to come up with that name. This doesn’t mean it’s a good or viable option.
Your site’s name is something you’ll have to work with for as long as you have that website. This will be your brand, so it needs to work for you, and everyone who’ll be using your site. It should be easy to remember: short and catchy. Too long and you run the risk of people misspelling it. Too average, and no one will remember it.
Tips for choosing your domain name
Your domain name should be easy to spell – you don’t want people guessing. Avoid using ‘clever’ spellings, like thegr8g@sby. No-one will remember how to spell something like that. Avoid using hyphens in your name, as you don’t want your readers to forget where to put them. Likewise, numbers can be confusing – is it spelt out or written numerically? Keep it simple.
Choose something original. This may be easier said than done, with so many options already taken, or just too similar to the name you want. But a unique name will help make it memorable.
Your domain name should give readers an idea of what your website is about. A witty name may sound impressive, but you don’t want people glossing over your site in their search. There are obvious exceptions to this – take Google for example – but overall, try for something that makes what you do obvious. Like Site Launch Guide!
It should contain one or some of your main or primary keywords. This will help with your SEO ranking while giving people an accurate idea of what your website is all about.
Read your domain name out loud a few times, just to double check that it can’t be misread. Pen Island should have done this before creating penisland.org. Your website name also needs to be marketable – meaning it should be easy to read and easy to say.
Choose the right extension; .com, .org, or .net are common, and may not sound as catchy as some of the newer extensions now available. But these will be the top 3 extensions people try, followed by country-specific ones. Using a city extension like .durban could work if you’re location-based. But others like .dad, .joy or .save can make it harder for people to remember (and find) your site.
Do your research
Once you have a few options, make sure they are unique and don’t clash with other websites or businesses out there. If it infringes on a registered or trademarked name, or is even a little too similar, you could be dealing with legal issues that may set you back. On top of that, having a similar name to someone else means you’re going to struggle to create your own, unique brand.
Set up an email
You’ll be using an email for your hosting company, but this isn’t necessarily the email you want to use for your site. To set up an email address, or multiple addresses for your site, you’ll need to go to your CPanel.
Look for the section on email and select Email accounts. From here you can set up the email address and password. It’s good to go with something generic (admin or info) and then simply point these to your personal email account.
Once you’ve started your site you can add a Contact Us page where you can add your email address. You’ll also be able to add a Contact form using a plugin, to give your readers a convenient way to get in touch. You can also look for a plugin that allows you to add forms to your site.
If you haven’t yet decided on which hosting company to use, now’s the time.