May

Answered: Your Most Burning Questions About Choosing A Domain Name

A practical no-nonsense guide to finding brandable domain names for your website

Ever struggled when choosing a new domain name?

Not being able to find what you want, not sure if hyphens are a good idea (they’re not), not sure if that long name will actually be memorable – these are all frustrating and confusing parts of choosing a domain name for your new website.

I know – I’ve been there. And I’ve wasted money on domains I never should have registered.

So how do you know what you should register?

I registered my first domain name in 2004.

There was so much new then about the internet and all its potential and possibilities. So much was unknown, too.

That domain was the first of what would be many domains I’ve registered over the years.

I’ve registered 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 build something on at some point.

You see, picking a domain name to register 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 keep things simple and take a look at just a couple questions we need to answer when choosing a domain name.

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.

Are you building:

  • A blog?
  • A portfolio site?
  • A personal website?
  • A small business website?

Knowing what you’re building can give you the most obvious clue.

But here’s the thing:

Don’t overthink it.

Don’t waste hours in front of a computer screen debating the nuances of one domain vs. another.

If you like both, grab both.

If you like more than two, grab them all.

It’s easy to redirect the ones you don’t use to the primary.

But here’s a bit of a curveball – what if your personal brand is your business?

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.

Why?

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.

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.

Next Steps

I’ve got seven primary strategies and steps I use to build out new website projects, from big sites with custom post types, custom fields and fully bespoke custom themes, to small sites and personal blogs.

If you’d like to learn about how I implement all seven strategies and steps to build a new WordPress site then you will definitely want to download the Ultimate WordPress Start-Up Guide here.

In this guide, I show you the behind-the-scenes things I use every day as a web developer so you can see all the things you need to start a new website project with WordPress right at your fingertips.

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