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Picking A Domain Name

You’ve got a business, it has a name, it’s time to make it official. All you need to do is just buy the domain. But… wait…

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What do you do? You could just buy the domain… but that’s never cheap. I’ve heard tales of crafty visionaries who are now sailing their fleet of high tech yachts around the world thanks to a few solid domain name investments. One of my previous employers had to send an executive out to a remote town with a check the size of my condo (in $$, not actual measurements) just so they could drop the “.net” from their branding.

But I don’t have that kind of money, at least not yet. Instead, I’ve used these tips to make sure I can always get a domain for my site.

1. Add a Verb

Rather than thinking of a URL as the product name, consider it advertising space instead. While developing the concept for Dwellbeing, Liberty Mutual’s home maintenance prototype, we found that the domain we wanted wasn’t available. But by adding a verb- in this case, “Try”, we turned our domain into a call to action- www.trydwellbeing.com. It described the product, was memerable, and got us a unique (and affordable!) domain name.

2. Consider alternative TLDs

A TLD is a Top Level Domain- such as .com, .net, .gov, etc. Over the years, hundreds of alternative TLDs have been released- such as .biz, .rocks, .pharmacy, .adult, etc. These can add a bit of personal flair, especially for a product in a specific space (i.e. twitch.tv or a portfolio (i.e. poweredwith.coffee, portfolio of my amazing partner and product designer extraordinaire).

Many people think alternative TLD’s are less desirable as they can be harder to remember. The “.com” is fairly burnt into our minds, so much so that my previous domain “toypig.co” was constantly misremembered, but that appears to be changing as time goes on. There’s also a misconception that alternative TLD’s are bad for SEO- but according to Google, that’s not true:

3. Drop The ‘The’, But Buy It Too

Stylistically, the trend these days is to drop any “a” or “the” at the beginning of your brand. After all, it worked for Facebook. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t own the domain! If your website is “coolestwebsiteever.com”, it’s not a terrible idea to purchase the domain name for “thecoolestwebsiteever.com” and have it redirect. If it’s inexpensive, it might be worth it to ensure you not only capture those who misremembered or mistyped your URL, but also own the “adjacent” properties before someone else encroaches on your brand.

4. Keep Your Vowels

The trend of dropping vowels from common words is at a decline. Names are becoming harder to remember, and there are really only so many permutations of words that work without those valuable vowels. Rather than removing letters, try adding words. By adding a verb before your brand, or being more descriptive in your url (i.e. invisionapp.com) you can keep your sanity and also find a solid domain name for a decent price.

Bonus Tip: Pick A Registrar!

Take your time figuring out which registrar works right for you. I’ve had bad experiences in the past, but for a few years have been happily working with Google Domains. Whichever one you pick, make sure it’s one you can stick with as transferring domain names can become a headache if you’re ever managing more than a few.

If you’re looking for help building a product or website, let’s get in touch!


Also published on Medium.

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