How to pick a good domain name is something that’s been worrying a lot of people, so we created this guide to help everyone understand the concept of domain names, domain authority on search engines, search rankings, and google searches. The different types and their potential, and some tips on how to choose the right domain name, especially for new websites.
This guide contains all the information you’ll need to start creating your business website, e-commerce, and social media profiles, such as LinkedIn. So, let’s get started.
Table of Contents
What is a Domain Name?
A domain name is a series of text linked to a numeric IP address that provides access to a website. In other words, a domain name is what someone types in the browser window to find a specific website. For example, Google’s domain name is ‘google.com’. A domain name corresponds to a website’s physical address and it is useful as users can find a site without too much effort.
The real address of a website is a complex numerical IP address, such as 126.96.36.199, but thanks to DNS, users can choose a domain name that is considered human-friendly and be linked to the websites they are searching for. Domain registries manage domain names.
According to VeriSign “there are currently over 367.3 million domain name registrations in the world” and also “domain name registrations have increased by 13.2 million, or 3.9%, year over year”, which highlights how domain names have evolved throughout time.
What are the 5 Types of Domain Names?
So, let’s explain the 5 types of domain names, their suffixes and prefixes, abbreviations, functionality, and hosting plans.
Type #1: Top-level domains (TLDs)
The first type is the TLDs and is on the top of the domain hierarchy. Every URL can be separated into various parts, so there are multiple different TLDs, and also sometimes they are called domain name extensions. Top-level domains are what come right after the principal domain name, for example, .com, .org, .net, etc. The most frequent ones and the ones you’ve encountered the most are .com, .net, and some others. But, as the capabilities of the Internet broaden, so do the domain names, and some of them use Chinese, Arabic, or Cyrillic characters.
Type #2: Country code top-level domains (ccTLDs)
Moving to the next one, ccTLDs are fitted in specific countries. So, every country has its country code, of course, that doesn’t mean you must use one just because you are located there. For example, the ccTLD for the UK is .uk, for Canada .ca, for the USA .us, and so on. Bear in mind that if you’re aiming at an international, rather than national, audience this type of domain name can be limiting. But, if you want to create a website name in a specific country and approach a more local audience base, this is the domain type for you.
Type #3: Generic top-level domains (gTLDs)
Up next follows the generic top-level domain type. This type is a different form from the TLDs type, so technically it can be classified as a TLD. This generic type refers to the use-cases that are intended for these domains, for example, educational providers are using the .edu, while non-profit organizations are utilizing the ending .org, and goes on, depending on the type of the domain. Keep in mind that you can register to numerous gTLDs even if you don’t meet the requirements, but for some others, like .edu, you need to meet the registration requirements.
Type #4: Second-level domains
The 4th domain type is placed below the TLD when it comes to hierarchy, without this meaning that they are less authoritative. So, let’s take for example the URL: www.dreamhost.com. Based on what we said before, .com is the TLD. The SLD is what immediately comes next, and that means the keyword “dreamhost”. On that account, the SLD will be associated with a website, so taking the time to choose the right one is vital.
Type #5: Third-level domains
The third-level domain comes after the second-level domain in the hierarchy. It is more of a part of the domain name, for instance, “www” would be the third level domain, in the domain name “www.hostgator.com”. Having a fully functional domain name doesn’t require a third-level domain name. The “hostgator.com” would work perfectly, even without the “www”. But, when you want to add a subdomain to your existing domain, you need to be using a third-level domain. The most common third-level domains include adding a blog, web hosting an app, creating an online store, and a resource section.
8 Tips on How to Pick a Good Domain Name
Let’s find out the 8 tips you need to follow on how to pick a good domain name.
Tip #1: Keep it short
You might think that you need to make your domain name as descriptive as possible, well that’s not the case. Domain names need to be short and memorable. So, you shouldn’t go overboard with the domain length as it will confuse users and they will forget it in no time. Based on research from Domain Registration.com, the recommended name length is 12 characters. You should try a name with 6-14 characters long. Some examples of short but memorable domain names are canva.com and notion.so.
Tip #2: Make it memorable
To create the perfect company name you need to pick something memorable. The right name will help your audience remember your brand and spread the word about it. Keep in mind that a brandable name makes your brand stand out from your competition as catchy and one of a kind. Choosing extensions like the .com domain name will make it even easier for you to create a brandable domain name.
Tip #3: Make it unique
Moving forward, another tip you should follow is to try to make your domain name unique, if you want your users to keep it in their minds as something that stands out. You don’t want to get confused with another brand, so focus on finding unique, memorable, and catchy keywords. For example, “Amazon.com” is far more unique than “BuyBooksOnline.com”. You can always check other blogs in your niche and have a look at some great domain names they’ve chosen and of course use business name generators to find your exact match.
Tip #4: Use keywords
Keywords are essential for your users to find you online and recognize your brand name at a glance. Most of the time, keywords include what a business or individual does (like “coffee” or “social”) so that people can find domains easily. For instance, “calendly.com” (calendar tool) or “tradingview.com” for online trading are some great examples of how to use keywords to create the best domain name. You can come up with some keyword ideas and maybe use a thesaurus to find even more interesting words that match your preferences and needs.
Tip #5: Pick a good hosting provider
Picking a good and reliable hosting provider is important for security reasons. So, choosing the right one requires being aware of your site’s needs and checking for server trustworthiness and guarantee. You need to approve the provider’s refund policy and guarantees, get an idea of what your upgrade options are, authenticate the provider’s features, and many more. Some prominent providers you could take under consideration are domain.com and GoDaddy.com.
Tip #6: Avoid numbers and dashes
Numbers, symbols, and hyphens are hard to type and might lower a website’s credibility and make it harder for users to find them. Symbols tend to create confusion and look like spam domains. Let’s have a look at the hypothetical example “trading-tool3.com”; it looks spammy and it harms the business name.
Tip #7: Choose the right extension
Choosing the right domain extension is very important if you want to make it memorable and also for SEO optimization reasons. Extensions like “.com”, “.org”, and “.co.uk” should be at the top of someone’s priority list, before choosing another one. The simpler the better. If your goal is to be found and gain as much visibility as possible you should go for the wider option.
Tip #8: Avoid double letters
It’s suggested to avoid domains with doubled letters, as they increase the chances of losing traffic due to typos. For example, a domain like Sociallab.com will be more prone to misspellings and potentially result in traffic loss. Using double letters is a bad idea because people will mistype your name and you won’t get discovered as much as you want to. Word of mouth can work if your domain name is easy to remember.
How to pick a good domain name is a common request and it requires paying attention every step of the way. Based on everything mentioned above you can start your domain name journey and get your biz started. You can always use domain tools that will help with brainstorming, come up with great domain name ideas, and create a new domain name when necessary. There are also some free domain name generators you could use.
If you have any questions you can always book a live demo with Mentionlytics and our team will assist you in no time. A great start for small business owners, startups, and beginners.