How to Pick the Right Domain Name: 12 Steps for Success

Today, I want to share some of my best tips on how to pick the right domain name.

During the past 10+ years of making money online, I have owned nearly 50 domain names. Some were good, most were bad. When I first started online, I had no idea about what I should or shouldn’t do when it came to picking a domain.

Through the years, I learned some valuable lessons about how to pick the right domain name. I hope you can learn from my successes and mistakes, so you can choose the perfect domain name for your website.

What you will see below are my steps to success. Just follow these suggestions in order and you can’t go wrong.

how to pick the right domain name

How to Pick the Right Domain Name

# 1 Pick Your Niche & Site Keyword

The first thing you want to do is pick your niche and site keyword. Who do you want to serve? Who is your target market? What is the primary purpose of your website going to be? Do not skip this step. Ideally, you want a niche that isn’t too big and isn’t too small. An example niche might be “weight loss” and an example keyword might be “natural weight loss.”

# 2 Determine Your Unique Selling Proposition

What do you want your website to be known for? What makes your website different from all of the other websites in your niche? What do you have to offer people? WHY should people visit your website as compared to someone else? Try to write down your Unique Selling Proposition in a short and simple sentence. An example might be “we help people over 40 lose weight.”

# 3 Use the Keyword in Your Domain

Whenever possible, you want to use the site keyword you chose in your domain name. For example, if your keyword is “roller skating” you want a domain such as rollerskatingtips.com. In my opinion, this gives you more credibility, informs your visitors about your niche and purpose, and might even help you with your search engine optimization.

# 4 No Hyphens or Dashes

I was once told that hyphens or dashes were good things. After more than 10 years of making money online, I no longer agree with that statement. I believe there is no reason to ever use a dash or hyphen in your domain name. For example, rather than doing roller-skating-tips.com I think it would be much better to do rollerskatingtips.com.

# 5 Keep it to Two to Four Words

Less is more. I’ve visited some websites that had more than 100 characters or letters in the domain name. That is not a good thing. I believe that three words or less is ideal. It would probably be hard to find an available one-word domain name, but two or three words is very doable. Four words max and you will be good to go.

# 6 Make it Memorable & Easy to Remember

Ideally, you want your website to be like a good jingle. It should be catchy and easy to remember. Short and sweet is good. If it rhymes, even better.

# 7 Pick a Dot Com Website

While .net and .biz websites aren’t bad, you really want to look for a .com domain name whenever possible. It’s just my opinion, but I believe the .com websites have more credibility to your audience than a .net or .biz website does.

# 8 Brainstorm 20-50 Potential Domain Names

The next thing you want to do is get a notepad and brainstorm potential ideas for domain names. Write down as many potential domain names as you can think of. Ask your friends and family for ideas. The more ideas you come up with the better. Take 48 to 72 hours to do this step. Once you have at least 20 to 50 potential domain names, you can move to the next step.

take your time when choosing a domain name

# 9 See Which Options Are Still Available

Your next step is to visit a domain registrar, such as GoDaddy.com and see if any of your potential domain names are stil available for purchase. You will quickly discover that many of the domain names that you like have already been taken. Any domain name that is not available, just cross it off your list. Once you’ve researched your entire list, make a new list containing the domains that are still available. You should have at least five to ten options left.

# 10 Check for Trademarked Terms

The next thing you want to do is check your potential domain name against trademarked terms. The last thing you want to do is pick a domain name, only to receive a cease and desist letter a few months or few years later.

You don’t want to include a trademarked name IN your domain either. For example, if you write about Ford cars, don’t put the word FORD in your domain name, because that could be seen as a trademark violation.

# 11 Don’t Rush It

Before you make a decision on your final domain name, sleep on it for a day or two. Do not rush it. One of my biggest mistakes is not putting enough thought into my domain name. What sounded like a good idea at the time turned out to not be not so good. Had I put a little more thought into it, I would have done more due diligence and been 100% sure before I made a decision. Once you are set on a top choice and a second choice, you can move to the next step.

# 12 Register Your Domain

The final step in the process is to register your domain. On most registrars, this will cost you between $10 and $20 per year. After you register your domain you can purchase hosting and start building your website.

Final Thoughts

In summary, these are my best tips on how to pick the right domain name. While most of this should be common sense, it’s still pretty easy to make these common mistakes.

On a side note, I would love to hear your thoughts about how to pick the right domain name. What do you suggest? Please leave a comment below to tell me what you think. I look forward to hearing from you.

 

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14 thoughts on “How to Pick the Right Domain Name: 12 Steps for Success

  1. Excellent article about picking the right domain name, Chuck. These tips are awesome. I wish I have read some of it before picking my domain name. I’m bothered about the hyphen I put in between my domain name, but I am happy because I did other things right, and my website was indexed within 2-weeks after creating it. I think newbies are going to benefit greatly from this post. Good work putting this up. 

    • It’s not the end of the world using a hyphen in your domain name. I just don’t suggest it. If you followed the other advice in this article, I know you will succeed. 

  2. These are some great tips on how to pick the right domain name for your website. I know when I first started trying to make money online I rushed my decision when picking my domain name. Looking back, I should have spent more time coming up with something even better. When I start more blogs in the future, I will follow the advice you outlined in your article so I get it right the first time around. 

    • We all make mistakes when we are brand new to something. Just learn from your experience so the next time you do it, you will do even better. 

  3. This is an insightful article filled with tons of value on how to pick the right domain. This will be very useful for me because I am about to select a domain for my blog and I found more than enough tips and tricks from this blog post. I have heard that a prospective blogger must be very selective when choosing their domain and niche. Thanks for sharing. 

    • Yes, it’s much wiser to get the right domain name the first time around, rather than do it wrong and have to start over a few months down the road. 

  4. In my experience online, I’ve seen some really terrible domain names that don’t relate to anything the website talks about. 

    I know definitely, picking a domain name that ranks with your niche’s keyword is a plus. It has to be kept as short as possible, to encourage users to remember it. It’s true that people view .com domains are being more credible, however do you think it’s wise to use a country specific domain when operating a local business? 

    For example, if my blog is based in Italy, and I want Italian audience, is it compulsory I used .it domain? Is there any benefit to doing this?

    I know I asked too much questions, please I really want to hear what you think.

    Regards

    • I think for a local business, like in your example, using the country domain works great. 

  5. This is a really good and comprehensive list about choosing a domain name. I totally agree with so many points in this post, especially the first step. Choosing the right keyword AND having it as part of your domain name is crucial. I remember when I purchased my first domain name, it was terrible. I didn’t have my keyword in the domain name and there were just too many words. It was hard to remember and not catchy.

    • We’ve all made mistakes when picking a domain name. Hopefully, others can learn from my mistakes.

  6. Thanks for writing this article covering the steps on how to pick the right domain name. This is something that many of us overlook as we are in a rush to get our new website started. Taking your time, and getting the right domain the first time around is definitely the way to go. That’s a lot better than having to change your domain name a few years down the road. 

    • Thanks for the comment. I’m glad you liked the article. 

  7. Oh.. Thanks for sharing this article.

    It is indeed a comprehensive and quite understandable guide on how to choose a  right domain name for our website. You are very right that .com websites have more credibility to audience than a .net  or .web domain does. I wish I had read this article before I purchased my first domain. 

    • Glad I could be of help. Thanks for the comment. 

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