5 Tips on Choosing a Good Domain Name

We've all had one of those moments: you find a company you really like the sounds of and their products/services look great, so you decide to check out their website. You go to type in their URL.... and then you realise. www.reallylongandcompletelyunrelatedurlthatstotallyinappropriate.net. Wow. That's terrible.

Don't let your company's domain name get easily forgotten! Here's 5 essential things to consider when choosing your domain name.

Should Your Domain Name Be Your Company Name?

Where's the first place you look for information on a new company you've just discovered? I'm going to go ahead and guess you said one of three things: their website, social media or Google. How do you make a website easy to remember for a new visitor? An easy URL. Not only does a URL based on your company name (and your overall website name) score better on the search engines, it requires less effort for people to remember. But what if someone else owns that domain name? Well, your first option is to find out who owns it (hello, who.is), contact them and offer to buy it from them. Be aware that they might not want to sell it - or may try and charge you an incredibly high fee for doing so. If you're not locked into that particular name, try an alternative that is similar - or if you're a startup, you could even consider changing your overall business name.

.ie, .com, .org, co.uk or .net?

This can be a tricky one to decide on. Generally speaking, the .com is for an international online presence. If you're hoping to target an international market, choose the .com if you can get it. A lot of people still assume a company's website will be located at 'www.companyname.com'. If your competitor has this domain name, you may be in trouble.

If you're an Irish business, targeting the Irish population, go for the .ie - Google will love you for it. People will instantly know you are an Irish company, servicing Ireland. Pre-2017, only companies with proven links to Ireland could buy the .ie of their own business name. This has now changed and .ie domains are freely available to purchase by anyone - including your competitor.

Traditionally, .org domains were used by non-profit organisations and are still pretty popular today. How can you personally stop visitors going to the wrong web address? Make sure all of your marketing includes the correct URL in full.

Long or Short Domain Names?

There are pros and cons to both of these options.

Benefits of short domain names
Easy to remember
Easy to type

Benefits of long domain names:
Can be more meaningful
Can include keywords = good for SEO

The maximum number of characters allowed is 67. Definitely avoid getting a domain name with 67 characters.

Should I Use Hyphens In My URL?

There are only two reasons to use hyphens in your URL.

  • 1) Someone else owns the non-hyphenated version already.
  • 2) Google can read the words easier, resulting in better search engine placement.

Generally speaking, we always advise people not to use hyphens unless it's absolutely unavoidable. Why?

  • 1) If your competitor owns the non-hyphenated version, people looking for you may end up on the competition's site instead.
  • 2) They're easily forgotten
  • 3) They're irritating for people to type

Sound a bit petty? You're probably right - but why put more obstacles in a potential customer's path?

Should I Use Plurals in My Domain Name?

If you can't get the non-plural version, perhaps. Trying to purchase dog.com but your competitor already has it? You could buy dogs.com - but how likely is it that potential clients are going to go to dog.com by mistake? Pretty likely. Don't deliver your hard-earned clients to the competition. If you have your heart set on this option, make sure you promote your website's full URL and make it prominent.

OK! Now you've digested all of that - you're ready to purchase your domain name and hosting. Check out cloudhostireland.com (what a good domain name!) and get started today.

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