I registered my first domain name in 2004. That domain was the first of what would be many domain purchases I’ve made over the years.
I’ve bought domains for personal branding, for business ideas, for niche sites, and several others just because they struck me at the moment as being something unique that I could make use of at some point.
Picking a domain for your site brings up some intriguing challenges:
- What kind of website am I planning to build?
- How should I spell it?
- What should I do about numbers?
- Do I need a .com?
- and many more…
There are a lot of options to choose from, and places to look to find the perfect domain for your site, so let’s take a look at the factors we need to consider when choosing a domain name.
Click here to to get access to a free cheatsheet that will guide you through all the steps you need to grab the best domain for your new website project.
What kind of site am i going to build?
I think it’s important, before we get into all this, to talk a bit about what kind of site you’re creating. The things I point out here will work for any kind of site, but it’s important to have a clear idea for what you’re planning on building before digging into that.
So let’s take a look at a couple different types of site you may be thinking about.
How do i choose a domain name for my business?
Using your business name as your domain is a no-brainer if you’re building a site for your business.
Because that’s how people know you. You’ve printed your business name on your business cards, you’ve painted it on your signs if you have a brick and mortar location, and it’s probably how you introduce yourself when the phone rings.
But just as important is that if someone is searching for you in a search engine they’re going to use your business name in the search and you want to rank well for your own business name.
If your business name is common then it will be challenging if not impossible to get your business name as your main domain. However, with a little creativity, you can find a .com domain that will serve you well. More on why a .com is important in just a minute.
brands with their names in the domain
If you’re working on building your expertise in a particular area then you need to think about creating your domain based on what that brand is.
What is a personal brand? The idea of personal branding picked up steam with an article by Tom Peters called “the Brand of You”. He points out that we’re all CEOs of our own brand and it’s up to us to establish that brand and the value it delivers.
When it comes to choosing a domain think about the market where you’re trying to build your personal brand. There is a lot of great opportunity to find some great domain combinations using terms from your area of expertise.
Here are a couple great examples of personal brands:
There is another aspect of personal branding though. Not every personal brand needs to be built on a subject matter-based name. A lot of personal brands are built on one’s own name.
This is a good idea if your content is going to cover more areas than just your personal area of expertise. It’s an option that can give you a little more wiggle room when it comes to the content you produce. For example, if you have a fitness-based site, but want to incorporate content from other areas that won’t really fit into a blog with a fitness-based domain, building under your personal name would be a way to go.
There are good arguments for either approach. Think through what kind of content you’re planning on building and make the choice that fits best for you.