Let’s not “form” ignorant.
Don’t gimme that look. You know what I’m talking about.
You’ve used one or more every single time you used the internet.
If you’ve been around this interwebs a bit, you know what a domain name is, even though you might not know that’s what it’s called.
According to Wikipedia, a domain name is “an identification string that defines a realm of administrative autonomy, authority or control within the internet. Domain names are formed by the rules and procedures of the Domain Name System (DNS). Any name registered in the DNS is a domain name.”
I know right? Big English.
Thank you Wikipedia for that definition only techies will understand.
Our own Sharp Guy definition of a domain name is “what you type into the browser when you want to go to a site.”
That means www.yahoo.com is a domain name. www.google.com is a domain name.
I think we understand ourselves. Now, moving on…
By now you probably already know that there’s no real online entrepreneurship without a website. And there’s no website without a domain name.
It’s like in real life, office-and-chair businesses, there’s no real business without a company name.
Before you get a company name, you’re basically just earning money from a part time hobby, like selling zobo to your family friends.
So when you’re starting an online business, a domain name is definitely top of the list of essentials.
In fact, it’s where it all begins.
Quick History of domain names
I don’t want to waste your time with irrelevant details, but for the techies out there, here’s a little something;
I was messing around in Canva trying to make an infographic (calm down, you’ll see soon) and well, spent hours on it trying to make it perfect. Which I did.
I tried to get my new design free and Canva screwed me over. Guess I’ll need to pay next time.
Take a look:
A lotta other things have happened since then (like some guy called Mike Mann who bought almost 15,000 domain names in 24 hours), but when it comes to online business, the fact is domain names (have been and) are a pretty big deal.
3 Things to consider when picking a domain name
- No long thing. Any domain name (here I mean the part between the “www.” and “.com”) longer than three words is just asking for nobody to remember your domain name. 1-3 words is great domain name length.
- NO funny spellings. Make it easy to remember for your sake and for the sake of your customers.
- Try to avoid using numbers in the domain name. It makes the domain name harder to remember. But there are exceptions to this. Take the name of this site for an example.
How to pick a domain name
I’m pretty sure there are many different approaches to this.
But as a Sharp Guy, based on logistics, there’s no time for long thing. There are 3 main ways to pick a domain name.
But Tomi? What about the (insert-whatever-theory-you’ve-heard-about-picking-domain-names-here)?
Shhhhh… Repeat after me.
I will not overcomplicate the matter.
Got it? Good.
Now, back to where we were- 3 main approaches to picking a domain name.
- Creating a domain name related to your product/ service.
This one is pretty simple.
If you sell bread in Lagos (#Olajumoke-style), and you wanted to create a domain name, you could go with:
Obviously, this will depend on whether the domain name is available, but you get the idea.
If you want to use this method, that’s all well and good. It’s simple, straightforward, and tells your customer exactly what you do and what to get at your site.
There’s nothing like having your domain name sell market before the prospect even reaches the site.
I don’t like this approach though.
It pales in comparison to the other two methods, and when there are better options, why settle for less?
2. Use your company/product/brand name.
If you already have your real life, office-and-chair business, I recommend using this method.
Because it allows you to build a brand online based on your company, and allows for expansion.
Here’s what I mean.
Take for example, you already started a bakery called “Vanilla Bakery” and you went with a domain name from our previous example- www.thebestbreadinlagos.com . In the beginning, you were only selling bread, and that was okay, but as business grew, you decided to start selling cakes.
Now you have a serious conundrum.
You’d have to either just include it on your site without changing the domain name or you’d have to get a domain name with “cakes” included.
All that “senrenre” is just not worth it.
Decide ahead of time what niche your company would be in and then use that to guide your choice of domain name. You could basically just use your company name or your brand name.
I know. I know the “Vanilla” name doesn’t give you a lot of choices while picking the domain name but at least it allows your brand to evolve and become whatever you want it to be.
Which is more than I can say for Option #1.
And last, but not least…. Option #3!!!
Yes, I saved the best for last. This right here is my ultimate favourite (and an approach favoured my most successful entrepreneurs)
Drum roll, please….
Create a unique word for your domain name.
Yes, you read that right.
Create a unique word for your domain name, preferably one that didn’t exist before.
Creating your own word?
It might seem ridiculous, but it really isn’t. Think about it.
When you craft the name from scratch, you practically own it. Before you created it, it didn’t exist. Think:
Need I say more?
This approach embraces the “You can be whatever you want” philosophy. And I’m the biggest fan of that.
You’d want to be careful with this though, because once you pick, you’ll have to do your best to stick with it.
Yes, you can change your domain name later if you don’t like it. But it’s kinda like marriage and divorce. You divorce a partner because of one little fault, and another because of another, and it starts you down a slippery slope.
Domain names are like that. Changing domain names too often begins to confuse your customers, and a confused customer is one that’s about to take their business elsewhere if you don’t “un-confuse” him or her quickly.
Apart from that teeny weeny caveat, there’s really no other serious disadvantage to this approach and I highly recommend you go with option #3
There you go, the Sharp Guy Guide to Picking A Domain Name. We’ll talk about web hosting in a different guide, so just keep calm and relax for now.
I got you.
Any questions or comments?
Author: Tomi Joshua
Tomi is a case.
A bit brash, at first blush. But ultimately, he means well. There are very few things he won’t say or do in the presence of tolerant company (especially when it could make for a good story later).
Tomi is a Doctor, writer, certified inbound marketer (Shout Out to HubSpot), Digital Hustler, and online business addict.
He is most likely to be found dancing to the beat of his own drum, even in accapella.