Choosing the perfect domain name can seem overwhelming…
If you are just getting started in the wonderful world of WordPress, the name means everything. It will be the thing everything else is built around.
With that in mind, it can be tempting to suffer from paralysis by analysis, and not make any decisions.
Don’t let that worry stop you. With just a little planning, and following these tips, you will come up with the perfect (for you) domain name.
1. Keep it short
There are so many websites online now that it is unlikely you will get your first, or even your second, choice. Don’t try to grab the word you want by creating a phrase, adding numbers, hyphens or using unique spellings.
This will backfire when you end up with a name that is not memorable and frequently mistyped. If the name you wants feels too long or unwieldy, brainstorm or play a word association game to come up with shorter, catchier alternatives.
Consider how easy it is to type. Some words and phrases just feel better than others when fingers hit the keyboard. Once you have a few choices, type them, both on a keyboard and a mobile device. You’ll probably find one that stands out as more difficult, with particular typos or mistypes over and over. That would be a good one to avoid.
Once you think you’ve settled on something, ask a friend to do the same, if they found your choice easy to type as well, it’s probably a winner.
2. Make it easy to brand, pronounce and remember
This is no time to be cute or clever. You want a name that makes sense when you hear it, that even if people don’t know what it means, can understand that you are saying actual words, not some strange collection of random letters.
Since most people will type rather than say your domain name, it’s tempting to underestimate the importance of being able to easily pronounce it. The human mind is tricky, however. If something is difficult to say aloud, it will also be hard to remember.
Keep your future WordPress site plans in mind. You may start out with a gluten-free recipe blog, but unless you plan to stay on that very narrow niche, consider a name that allows you to naturally expand to other topics in the same general niche.
You can use keywords, targeted advertising and many other methods of getting the word out about your blog content. While you want your domain name to let readers know what to expect, be careful about painting yourself into too tight of a corner.
3. Check for a trademark
Before you get too attached to a domain name, consider carefully whether it could be confused with an existing trademark. Something you think is a cute play on words can end with a cease and desist letter and wasted money on rebranding.
If you feel like you have the perfect domain name in mind, but it isn’t available, brainstorm on ways to change your choice up so that you can use it. Of course, you don’t want to add a word or pluralize a popular company or blog to try to gain their audience. Doing so will likely end in a spectacular legal mess for you.
If, for example, you have an existing store in your town, and want to open up an associated e-commerce store, you will want to use the same name. If someone else, somewhere else in the world is already using that name, try changing it up somewhat.
For example, instead of store.com, you may choose storeincity.com. You will get the advantage of your existing brand reputation, without getting into hot water with another business.
Checking for a trademark is a fairly straightforward process using a database search. Depending on the country where your business is located, the database may be free to use, or you may need to hire a lawyer.
4. Include a broad keyword
A keyword in your domain helps ensure that the name makes sense in relation to your content, and it also helps with search engine optimization.
You want a word that tells your readers what they should expect to find at your WordPress site. Using a popular keyword or search term as your domain name in an attempt to drive traffic to your site will not work, and can actually end up having the opposite effect.
It might have worked a long time ago but never try to cater to keywords when naming your domain or even writing content for your blog. While using the keyword in a way that makes sense, for example, if it explains your blog in a broad sweep, is a great way to optimize your site for search engines, you want to be careful of using keywords where they don’t belong.
One constant is that search engine optimization is always changing. What works one day may get you blacklisted the next. The best way to stay on the good side of search engine optimization is to choose words that make sense and back it up with good content.
5. Try to grab the .com
Sure, this is getting harder to do, and it shouldn’t matter anymore, but it absolutely does. In the absence of specifically being told otherwise, .com will be assumed, and even if the surfing public knows it is .net, they will often miss-type it.
The other guys, if you need them
While we applaud you for choosing the most popular website platform in the history of earth – WordPress – even this fairly simple and versatile method of creating a site might involve more of a learning curve than your technical skills will support.
In that case, we suggest you check out one of the leading website builders. Five years ago, these drag-and-drop solutions were juvenile at best and embarrassing at worst. A lot has changed in the meantime, and even real, live legitimate businesses choose dead simple website builders like Wix, Squarespace, or Weebly. If you find yourself frustrated by WordPress, check out them out.
The Bottom Line
Once you have the perfect (for you) domain name picked out, you’re ready to start your WordPress online journey. Remember, a domain name is the first impression many people will get of your site. You want it to be professional and relevant to the content you create. It defines what you hope people to think of your business, and should be a reflection on that, whether it is professional, carefree, or somewhere in between.