- Domain name registration myths you should ignore
- How to choose a winning domain name
- Make you domain name brandable, phonetic and memorable
A domain name is your web address, or in basic terms, the string of text that people type into the search bar to visit your site.
The domain name maps to a numeric IP address. It is an essential part of your brand due to its disproportionately large impact on user experience, SEO, revenue and business credibility.
Yet, while domain names play a crucial role in e-commerce, several myths surround website ownership circulating the Internet.
Domain name myths you shouldn’t believe
Most information and advice on domain names circulating the net is provided by companies selling domain names and is therefore partial.
We’re going to shoot down misconceptions about registering a domain name in this myth-busting article to empower you with website wisdom.
Registering a domain name is difficult!
Two of the most widely held misconceptions about domain name registration is that it is difficult, or all the good domains are taken.
You can purchase or ‘register’ a domain name in as little as 5 minutes these days.
While some speculators register domain names purely to sell them, plenty of registrar websites function like clockwork and are designed to be as simple as possible. They offer the tools to search for available domain names and provide suggestions for others if the specific one you’re looking for is already registered.
Our personal favourite is namecheap.com, but a simple Google search will give you many alternatives to try out, and it generally comes down to personal preference.
You can also find a suitable, brandable name by playing around with words. For example, if a domain name is taken, look at synonyms for the original phrase you had in mind.
I only need a domain name if I have a website
Many people assume that you only need a domain name if you have a website, but there are more reasons to acquire one than just for hosting a website.
Even if you’re the owner of a traditional brick and mortar store, people are always searching for you online; even if it’s just to source the location of your shop. However, if you have competitors on the web, it would be worth securing a domain name.
People also register a domain to utilise a professionally branded email address, or as a way of pointing visitors to elsewhere on the web, or they register it before even building a website just to ‘reserve’ the domain before someone else does.
It’s a smart move to purchase a domain name ahead of time so that when you’re ready to build a website, you have peace of mind that you already have the domain you want to secure.
Registering a domain is expensive
People are often scared to purchase a domain name because they think they can’t afford it.
However, some domain names can be registered for as little as 99 cents per year, depending on the domain extension and the period you want to secure it. Furthermore, with the availability of website building platforms such as WordPress and Shopify, you can even build a website in one day with no coding knowledge, removing the need to hire an experienced developer.
It’s also quite common for businesses to buy domain names in bulk to build a portfolio or use them in a marketing campaign. There are some “designer” domain names out there that cost in the thousands (and even millions!), but for the most part, they are affordable.
Registering a domain = owning a domain
When you register a domain, it’s more akin to renting it than owning it.
Registering a domain name does not mean you keep it forever, as domain names are purchases usually in annual increments. Once that period of time has passed, you have the choice of renewing the registration or letting it go back on the market.
It’s not uncommon for other businesses to swoop in and take your domain if it becomes available, particularly if it has attracted a lot of traffic previously – so it’s important to keep on top of renewing your domain if you wish to ‘keep’ it!
Anyone can own a domain name
Given that domain names have renewal periods, almost nobody can own a domain name.
Although you can pay a registrar to list the domain name with The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which takes responsibility for TLDs, they are still bound by the Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA) and can resell your domain.
However, as you do not have full ownership of a domain, you risk getting stripped of it if you do not adhere to compliance rules.
Social media profiles are more significant than domains
Another growing misconception about domain names is that they are less significant than social media profiles.
However, research shows that internet users like to use websites just as much as social media. In fact, people often use several media channels to inform their buying decisions. With that in mind, it would be more effective for businesses to utilise both mediums by leaving a link to your website on your social media platforms for visitors who may be interested in your products or services.
Synchronising the two mediums will help boost the performance of your website by sending a proportionate amount of traffic from your social media profile to your website, which Google will also find appealing.
Domain names need to include keywords
Another massive myth about domain names is that they should contain keywords.
Hopefully, you have conducted keyword research so that your domain name relates to the products or services you will be offering; however, including keywords in the domain name won’t make much of a difference in terms of value.
Visitors could also interpret a domain name jam packed with keywords as untrustworthy or a budget option as keyword-heavy domain names tend to sell generic goods.
Even if you’re confident in your current keywords and think using them in your domain name would be valuable, remember that keywords change. For example, most businesses were required to change to some degree due to COVID-19, so it’s not wise to restrict your options.
Top Level Domains (TLDs) are a better investment
Top-level domains (TLDs) have been speculated to be more noteworthy than cheaper domains, hoping that they’ll attract a significant resale fee.
However, inexpensive domains could be hidden gems. Besides the higher cost, premium domains also have legacy issues such as troubled browsing history, which new owners would not want to inherit.
You should seek to acquire a .com domain for SEO
Although most users will recognise a .com domain instead of a .guru or .mobi domain, it all boils down to the value you offer with your domain name.
As .com web extensions are more recognisable, it’s worth investing in one. However, weird domain names can still do well as long as you focus on offering value to your users by creating high-quality content and employing effective marketing strategies.
How to create a good domain name
Now that we’ve dispelled some myths about domain names, here are some smart tips on choosing a winning domain name.
Your domain name is the face of your company, so it needs to be brandable and non-generic.
It needs to sound like a brand. You can do this by making it unique, memorable and straightforward. Avoid inserting special characters or numbers, as this will make it sound complicated.
Make it short and flexible
A short domain name is easier to remember, but don’t make it too short by hacking off words or using abbreviations, as this could have the opposite effect.
You also want to make your domain name flexible, so don’t tie yourself to one demographic. Think about the future of your business!
Easy to pronounce
While users may not say your domain name out loud, pronunciation is still crucial.
We recommend creating a domain name between six to twelve characters and two to three syllables to make it easy to recall and remember. Note that names that don’t require a person to think too hard are more likely to inspire a positive response.
Make it phonetic
Most spoken languages have around 40 phonemes, which are the basic vocal gestures of a language. Therefore, if you make your domain phonetic, it will be easy to communicate globally.