One of the first things to do before creating your website is picking a domain name for it. Many people overlook that step but in our opinion it is a huge mistake to not paying enough attention.
In our opinion, you should look at choosing a domain name for your website the same way as picking a name for your newborn baby. This may seem a little bit exaggerated, but both have something in common – if you want things to go right in the future, you should think out every aspect of it.
And there are plenty of things to consider when you choose a domain name. Last week we wrote about the most important questions you need to ask yourself when you pick a domain name and to make things even easier we decided to create a practical guide with all necessary steps to undertake.
(See also: 8 Questions to Ask Yourself When Picking a Domain Name)
Step 1: Brainstorm some keywords
Before you even start thinking about a certain domain name, it is a good idea to brainstorm some keywords that best describe your product, service or the whole idea of your website. Probably most of them have already been taken or there is a brand with that name, but having those keywords in mind will give you a good starting point on choosing a domain name.
For example, if you offer smartphone repairment services, your list of keywords should include – smartphone, smartphone repair and mobile phones.
Another good idea is to make your domain name a brand name. Your brand name does not need to explain your business, but it must be catchy and easy to remember. Just look at our brand name – Oxxy.
When you conduct brainstorming and research for possible domain names, ask as much people to participate as possible. This will give you some different views and opinions and you will see what people like and what they do not find appropriate.
Step 2: Come up with a clear idea
When you are done brainstorming keywords, you need to select one of them and build your domain name around it. For example, you decide that you want to include the word “smartphone” in your domain. Obviously, you will need to add some other words to it. One option is to make a combination of your keywords or to pair them with other catchy words like “world”, “expert” or whatever else you think will be easy to remember by the visitors of your website.
Step 3: Choose a top-level domain
A generic top-level domain (gTLD), most commonly known as a domain extension, is the other most important thing to consider. The most common gTLD is .com which is intended to be used by commercial organizations, but is by far the most used extension and there are no restrictions for registering it. The other most common domain name extensions are .net, .org and .info, all of them with unrestricted use.
Another option is to go for one of the new gTLDs. If we take our previous example about the smartphone repair business, you can choose .services or .expert domain.
Back in 2007 Rand Fishkin from Moz advised in a blog post to only choose .com available domains. His opinion was that most people assume that all websites use .com. Although that we kind of doubt that 8 years later web users’ assumptions are the same as the internet has really changed a lot, it is still true that almost all popular and trusted websites are .com or own the .com domain and redirect to their website.
Another option is to go for a country code top-level domain. For example, if you are in the USA, you can buy .us domain or .uk, if your are in the United Kingdom. But keep in mind that country code top level domains are a bit more expensive and some of them may only be registered under certain conditions.
Step 4: Check if the domain name is available
This is one of the easiest parts in the whole process, but could be really frustrating and time consuming. Imagine you have come up with some really great ideas, but all of them have already been taken. Then you need to go all the way back, brainstorm again and generate new domain proposals.
Even if your domain is already registered, there is a big chance that nobody is using it and you may decide to bid for it. Of course, this will cost you more, but if the domain you are buying comes with some quality backlinks and a good domain authority, you are good to go.
If you are buying an old domain, it is a good idea to check if the domain is banned by Google. A powerful tool where you can find out that is Bannedcheck.com.
Step 5: Conduct a Google search and check in social media
Even if you find out your domain name is available, do not register it right away. There are a few other things to do before that. The first is to conduct a Google search and see what comes when you type your domain name. If there is another company or a website with a similar name, think of choosing something more distinguishable. One of the biggest mistakes is to choose a domain name that is not unique, especially if you go for a descriptive name.
The same is true about social media. You need to check if there are pages with your name on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc. Even if you are not planning to include a certain social media in your content marketing strategy, make sure that your name is free there and make an account as you may change your mind later and need it.
Step 6: Buy the domain
After you have checked out every important aspect, you may now buy the domain. If you are an Oxxy users, buying a domain is just as easy as modifying your website or changing any of your account settings. You may want to check out our special video tutorial where we present how to purchase a domain directly from Oxxy. Do not forget also that a free domain comes with every yearly premium subscription.
But do not worry – if you have already bought a domain from another domain registrar, we allow our customers to connect these domains to their Oxxy websites.
And a great domain needs a great website. Create yours now with Oxxy right now!