So you’re looking to start a website. That involves a lot of moving parts. Finding a place where to host it, deciding what kind of hosting you need, figuring out the platform that will best suit you and your skill level. It’s a bit of a handful. Through all of that decision making, you might forget to take into account one of the essential decisions – picking out the right domain name for you. A domain name is going to be the first impression you make to your visitors. So it’s worth putting in a little extra thought for it. And we’re here to help you with that, with a few helpful little tips.

What’s a domain in the first place?

First things first. What is a domain? It’s the address you type in when you want to reach a website. Imagine if instead of an address of your favorite business, you’d have to memorize the GPS coordinates. It’s the same with websites: domain names were invented so you wouldn’t have to memorize IP addresses. Pretty clever, right? Now that we know what’s a domain name, we’ll try and find the right one for you. We recommend using this domain search tool: hostinger.com/domain-name-search/ as the go-to for this exercise. It’ll illustrate some of the ideas behind good practices you can take part in when picking a domain.

So How Do you pick the right domain name?

We’ll highlight a couple of key points that are definite musts, when trying to pick out your domain name.

  • Know your project

Seriously, we can’t preface this enough. You’re the one that makes the big calls and the meaningful decisions. Get your company down to its core values, it’s brand name, and really think on what word or phrase would suit you best.

  • Be original

No one likes a copycat. Or a thief. Using trademarked names is the surefire way of getting yourself flagged or even getting into legal trouble. Our business is yours alone, treat it with respect!

  • Know your TLDs

Top-Level Domains are the things that go on the end of the domain name. Like .com or .co.uk. When thinking of your project take the time to get it down to what you want to achieve? Is it local? Then you should use a ccTLD (country-code Top-Level Domain) like .co.uk or .in, depending on what market you’re aiming for. Starting an organization? Use a gTLD (generic Top-Level Domain) like .org. Originally, every TLD was created with a specific use in mind. .com has become a catch-all TLD, but the rest still holds. Do a little bit of research before you decide what TLD fits you best.

  • Make a good impression

 Keep in mind that your domain name doesn’t have to be just your brand name. It’s all about how you use it. In some cases, something creative, like a short catchy phrase, can be beneficial and guarantee that your address will be easy to remember. But sometimes a cluttered phrase can really spell the end for your online presence. Realistically consider how hard it is to remember your preferred domain name idea. Take the giants of the media world: Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram – what do they have in common? They’re all really short, catchy and made up from basic words. Don’t be afraid to take inspiration from success stories! You should also make sure that whatever you’re doing fits the mood or mission of your project. Might not want to try swinging funny jokes if you’re starting up an animal shelter website.

  • Remember SEO

Seriously. If you want your website to be found, you need to learn and implement SEO (or Search Engine Optimization) into your website. Without it, you’ll most likely keep your site in the Google Search Result graveyard (let’s be honest, when was the last time you checked past page three of the results.) With the way Google search engine algorithms work, you’ll be able to include an extra keyword in your domain name. Give yourself the extra edge.

Wrapping up

That should cover you for starters. If you have the need, there are tons of additional resources that will help you out even more, but these are the MUST KNOW basics, that you have to consider before making any kind of domain purchase. It’s equal parts science and art. Try not to lose the heart of your business, but treat this purchase as a calculated move. Doesn’t matter who you are, a freelance photographer, blogger, influencer or a CEO of a company – on the internet everyone is equal.

Look up some solid practices, think about the domain names of your favorite websites and what they did wrong, do your research and make sure you’re buying from a safe place. When making your purchase, the bare minimum is having a provider that is ICANN accredited. That means you’re safe with making that purchase. Take into account other things, like privacy protection – a service that hides your personal details from public databases, replacing them with generic info. Lastly, if you get a provider that does both hosting and domain names, you’ll be doing yourself a great favor, by making sure any and all troubleshooting will be much easier.