new domain

These days, choosing a domain is one of the most important things you can do for an emerging business. In fact, until you have the domain name set, you may not want to get too cozy with that great business name idea you had. You can have the perfect name idea for your business, but if you can’t get the right domain, you’re probably going to want to scrap it and start over.

So before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s look at 10 tips for choosing a great domain name for your business.

1. Avoid Seemingly Spammy Characters

If you’re wondering how to choose a domain name for SEO, this is it. It used to be that you would stuff a bunch of keywords in your top level domain and that would help your site rank. These days, that doesn’t matter nearly as much as it once did. Today, you’ll do well if you focus on avoiding things like numbers and hyphens that appear spammy to the search engines. Keep in mind, though, that this isn’t a hard and fast rule. There are reputable websites that use these characters and can rank on the search engines, but just know that using them may put you at a slight disadvantage – especially if you’re over-using them.

2. Keep it Short

Here’s another way to help with SEO. Whether you’re trying to learn how to choose a personal domain name or how to choose a domain name for your blog, keep it short. Long URLs often appear to be keyword stuffed and don’t tend to perform as well. Even if you’re not worried about SEO, don’t you want your domain to be as memorable as possible? Keep it short.

3. Make it Memorable

Keeping your domain name short is one way to make it memorable, but here are two more: Avoid names that can be pronounced in many different ways, and avoid misspellings (even if you think they are clever). Unless you plan to put a lot of marketing money behind your brand, it’s going to be difficult to get that name to stick in people’s minds.

4. Consider Choosing a Name with Relevance

This step is completely optional. Some of the best sites have the most random-seeming names. It’s okay. In a world where everyone has a website, it’s difficult to register a descriptive name for your business. But if you can choose something that relates to your business, it will help new customers easily understand what you’re all about.

5. Make a List of Great Names

Start brainstorming. This is the fun part. Just jot down every idea that comes to mind. Don’t be embarrassed if you think it’s silly. Just keep those ideas flowing directly from your brain through your pen (or keyboard).

6. Use a Domain Name Generator (If You’re Stuck)

If you are having trouble picking a domain name off the top of your head, look for domain name suggestions. Selecting a domain name isn’t easy, and you’ll likely go through many before you choose one that works.

7. Check Availability

Now, don’t even bother narrowing down your list. An availability check will do that for you. Head to a domain name registrar, such as or, and start typing in the names on your list. Cross off the ones that are already registered and put a star next to those that are open. From here, you should be able to narrow your list to a shortlist of available domains.

8. Look for Similar Domains

Take that shortlist and think about how people could misspell or misunderstand those names. Now, check the misspellings and misunderstandings. If they point to a competitor’s site, it’s a definite “no go.” If it points to a non-competitor, you’ll have to decide if you can live with that. Ideally, any common misspellings or misunderstandings should be available, so you can also register those.

Many people will register their domain on the three most popular domain extensions: .com, .net and .co. When you’re ready to register, keep in mind that it can be done at any registrar, but they are not all the same. Prices and services vary among them, so be sure to do your homework. We often recommend Name Cheap and Network Solutions, but there are many choices.

10. Register Your Domain

Now that you’ve learned how to choose a domain name in 2014, you’re ready to take the plunge and register. You can check availability and register at any of the registrars mentioned in this post or at 123 Reg or United Domains. Selecting a domain name is the hard part. Choosing a domain name registrar is easy.


Written by Alexis Kestler

A female web designer and programmer - Now is a 36-year IT professional with over 15 years of experience living in NorCal. I enjoy keeping my feet wet in the world of technology through reading, working, and researching topics that pique my interest.