How to Choose A Domain Name That Best Represents Your Online Business

choose a domain name

One of the most difficult decisions to make when starting a online business is choosing a domain name that best represents your company.

There are 2 ways to go:

  1. Brandable Domain Name
  2. Keywords Within Domain

Let’s look at the pros and cons of each:

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How to Choose A Good Domain Name

Many website owners regret the domain name they registered for their online business because they didn’t put much thought into it. It is going to remembered every time someone types it into the address bar.

Benefits of choosing a good domain name

If you think of Nike or Google you immediately understand how using your business name in your domain helps brand your business. Your domain name can even be your business name if you’re lucky enough to still find a .com business name.

Professional web site address
Sometimes business owners try to save money by using a free service for their online business such as getting a free blog at WordPress. For example if I got a free blog for my web design business my website address would be something like instead of my registered domain name Registering a real domain name shows visitors you are running a professional online business.

Professional email addresses
Using a gmail, aol, or yahoo email address for your online business doesn’t project a professional image. Many of these addresses are automatically blocked or not accepted by online professionals because they are often used for sending spam emails that can’t be tracked.

If you register a real domain name you can include it in your email address. This makes it easy for your visitors to identify where it is coming from and which business it belongs to.

How to choose a good domain name

A good domain name is one that clearly reflects your business, is easy to spell and remember.

1. Business name

My web design business in called so I registered that domain name to brand my business. Try to do the same for your own online business. If the name is not available try keywords associated with your business.

2. Keywords related to your business

Search for a domain name that identifies your business keywords. For example if you’re selling red widgets, look for If the obvious keywords are already taken research other keywords related to your business and use them instead.

3. Domain extensions

Most .com names may already be taken so you’ll have to get creative e.g. use dashes between the words (red-widgets), numbers (1redwidget), add extra words (theredwidget) or try different suffixes (.net, .org, .info, .us, .biz)

4. Easy to remember

Has someone ever given you a domain name that was impossible to remember? It may have been too long or had several dashes or numbers in it. You want a domain name you can easily pass on to others that will stick in their minds without having to write it down on paper in case they forget.

5. Keep it short

The shorter the name easier it is to spell and remember. It will also be easier to fit on business cards and other offline stationary.

6. Hyphenated domain names

If you can’t find a domain name that matches your business, register one that has a hyphen e.g. I registered because was already taken. It will contribute to your search engine rankings because every time someone links to your website your main keywords will be included in your domain name.

7. Purchase a currently registered domain name

There are people whose business is buying a selling domain names. For example the person who first registered could now sell it now for thousands of dollars. If you are willing to pay for a domain name you’ve set your heart on first check if it’s for sale and how much it costs. Sometimes they are not very expensive. Read this article for more information about buying and selling domain names:

8. Expired domain names

Sometimes people purchase domain names but never do anything with them because they haven’t had time to develop them or lost interest. First check if it’s available, then check who it’s registered to at Contact the owner and ask if they are willing to sell may get lucky.

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How to Choose a Domain Name for Starting an Online Business

It’s not easy to choose a domain name these days because most have already been taken (especially a dot com name). This has grown the business of buying and selling domain names.

For example if you wanted to buy (if it was for sale) it would cost you millions of dollars to acquire it.

Why you shouldn’t get a free domain name?

If you wanted to save the $20.00 it costs to purchase a professional domain name you could use one of the services that offer a domain, web site and hosting for free.

For example you could sign up for a free blog at You could start with this if you’re short of cash. The problem with this method is that if the company goes bust you lose your online business. If you’ve created lots pages with optimized content that ranks well in the search engines, you’ll lose all your hard work.

How to choose the best domain name


If you wish to brand your company name (ie use it in the domain name. This will help visitors to easily identify your business online.

You may even use your own name to brand your business. Chances are, it may not be taken if it’s not too common..

Include keywords

People often associate the keywords in your domain name with the type of business you are in. For example I chose because I build web sites. I chose to offer my web hosting services.

Action steps

* Create a list of possible keywords that reflect the type of business you have.

* Visit and enter your suggested domain name. If it’s already taken it will offer many alternatives. It’s best to get a .com name because it’s the most popular for business names online however if you’re not particular try .net, .org, .info, .us.

You may have to try many different keyword combinations to find a domain name that’s available and reflects your company.

* Keep it short. Long domain names are them hard to remember. A short one is easy to type. When you add web pages your domain name already gets longer ie

* Make it easy to spell. Don’t keep your visitors guessing. They’ll avoid mistakes when typing it into their browser. A mistake on their part will take them to another web site.

* Avoid dashes. Dashes in a domain name makes it harder for visitors to remember and spell. Only use dashes after exhausting all your options.

* Register your domain name. Depending on the extension it will cost a little over $10.00. Godaddy runs you through mine field of features you can add to the purchase of your domain (ie privacy, hosting, etc). If you don’t need all these extra features opt for the quick checkout to bypass this.

If your chosen domain name is not available and is one that you have set your heart upon, you may be able to buy it from the owner. As I mentioned above, many people buy and sell domain names as a business. Be careful though..a domain name containing high ranking keywords may cost several thousand dollars.

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Herman Drost is the Certified Internet Webmaster (CIW)
owner and author of Web Design and SEO Services