How to Create an Ideal Domain Name, Part 1

June 16, 2016

 

Do you love your domain name?  Does it practically sing when you repeat it?  Here’s the most important question.  How confident are you that your domain name stands the test of time – say 10 minutes?  Is it memorable enough to be recalled by someone who can’t visit your site right away.

In the course of developing your digital presence you may have a few domains for multiple purposes.  With over 25 new extensions, countless domain brokers, and ever-changing SEO rules, the challenge of creating a domain name that stands the test of time is more complex than ever.

Here, we focus on the URL on your business card, the one you’ll repeat dozens of times per week.  It holds the answer to almost every question you’ll meet.

The goal of a domain name

The ideal domain name will register effectively in a single mention. You’ll say it once. It’s descriptive and catchy, and your audience makes an instant connection between the name and your business purpose. You can say it in passing without having to spell it. That’s the goal! Fall short of this goal, and you’ll be barraged with…

  • ‘Tell me your website again?’
  • ‘Would you spell that out?’
  • ‘How does that go, again?’

Sure, search engine optimization will do the heavy lifting. Browsers should be able to find you with a single keyword search. If they can’t, we’ll fix that, too. However, you’ll routinely share your name with audiences that won’t get a second chance to clarify what you just said, and they won’t necessarily guess the keywords you’re using. It’s for those moments we’ve developed this guide.

First, keep it short

Ideal domain names are no longer than 25 digits, including the dot com (4 digits). Your audience should have a strong likelihood of remembering your URL after one mention. Repeating your domain again and again, spelling every letter, clarifying abbreviations or numbers used for words … This cannot be your life. Clarifications disrupt the flow of your presentation like a left shoe on the right foot.  Short domain names communicate confidence, and strong brand development.  Consider these constraints for an ideal domain name.

  • Fits in the corner or middle of a business card without reducing it to 3-point font
  • Placed under your name in an email signature, it doesn’t upstage your name
  • It fits on a single newspaper column of text, never spilling into the next line
  • It’s catchy enough to be remembered during the average social scroll
  • It is phonetically intuitive, and doesn’t include repeating letters

Second, keep it clear

Carestruck shows how to create a domain namePeople need to hear your domain name and write it down with the first thing they can write with before forgetting what you just said, missing a word or forgetting a letter. That means, if at all possible, avoid the following.

  • Acronyms and abbreviations
  • Repeating letters or plural words
  • Apostrophes or dashes where apostrophes should go
  • Special characters

Substituting numbers for words is cute in a text, but use 4 to mean ‘for’ in a domain name and you’ll be clarifying it for the rest of your domain life! If a person has to type your name or domain name into the search window more than once to find you, chances are you’ve lost one.

In healthcare, the word ‘doctor’ or ‘dr.’ or degree signatures, like MD or PhD is one of the greatest temptations. The word doctor adds value to a domain name only when doctors are your target market. Degrees and titles don’t add value to a domain name. They don’t distinguish you as an expert in your field, only content can do that.

We’ve covered most of pitfalls to avoid in creating your domain name.  In How to Create an Ideal Domain Name, Part 2, we cover what you should do.