A question I get a lot from clients when I'm building their first website is: how do I choose my domain name?
While there are some clear dos and do-nots with this topic, there are also some grey areas that I will help guide you through so you can feel empowered in your decision!
The first step is to decide on your domain ending (good news, this is the easy part!) When deciding how to end your domain, the best option is always going to be “.com”. Why? Think about what you type into your search engine: is it .co, .net or .com? While there are many sites that end it .co or .net, the majority of people who search for websites will type in .com. Think about if you had a .co site but someone else had the same exact domain that ended in .com — you could be losing visitors to another site simply because of having the wrong ending! And we don’t want that.
Now that we have that sorted, this is where you have to make some tough decisions. You must ask yourself questions such as: Do you go with your name + occupation, just your name, a nickname, and what if you get married and change your last name??
Here’s how to navigate this: if it’s available, the best option is using your first and last name only. As someone who was sure I was going to focus on building a private flute studio when I started my site, I sometimes regret choosing www.taylorrossiflutist.com as my domain name. That being said, if just your name is not available and you are further along in your career where you feel more confident and certain about what you do, then it’s okay to add your instrument or occupation.
To check if a domain is available, use this tool from GoDaddy!
Pro Tip: If you're really on the fence about what your domain should be and there are multiple available, buy a few! You can always sell them in the future.
Now that you've decided on your perfect domain name, you may be unsure of where you should buy it from.
When it comes to purchasing your domain, I highly recommend buying a domain through sites like GoDaddy that specifically focus on domain hosting. When you purchase a domain through your website platform host such as Wix, the company may lock it to your account and if you ever wanted to transfer it, it may not actually be possible to do.
While that may not sound like a big deal at the moment, think about from this perspective: if everyone already knew your URL since you, of course, did such a great job branding and marketing it, and now you have to get a totally different domain name, not only do you have to rebrand and make sure people learn it, but you also could lose out on potential traffic if you have your old domain name listed on your business cards, posters, and any other print materials which you cannot update. Nightmare, right??
That's why I'm here to make it simple for you. I've created a simple breakdown of the process with 4 easy steps:
STEP 1: Select .com as the end of your domain name
STEP 2: Search for your first and last name (if that's how you refer to your business) in GoDaddy.
STEP 2A: If that is unavailable, go with your 2nd choice
STEP 3: Purchase that domain name form GoDaddy, Bluehost, or another credible site that focuses solely on domain names
STEP 4: Hook up your domain name to your website!
BONUS STEP: Do a happy dance because you just chose an incredible and memorable domain name! Whoop Whoop!