Picking a name for your site is probably the hardest part of starting your online project. This article features three approaches to naming your site to make the process a bit easier for you.
Characteristics of a good name
Here are some quick tips for naming your site:
- The name should be different from your competitor, it should be unique
- It should be brief
- It should be simple
- It should be easy to spell
- It should be easy to pronounce
- It should be easy to remember
- It should be catchy
- It should be appropriate to your topic, but not so descriptive so it sounds generic
- It should not feature numbers
- It should not feature hyphens
- It should be legally defensible
When choosing a name make sure to think long term. Beware that many ideas and topics inevitably evolve, especially in the online world where everything moves quickly. Because of this try and avoid picking a name that is too specific, instead think of a more expansive name. The last thing you want is make a decision, start a site and after some time want to change the name and the domain name. This could negatively affect what you have built in terms of search engine optimization and branding.
Imagine that you told the name to a person you met at a conference, will he or she be able to recall and correctly remember it the day after? It’s important to make it memorable so do take your time to decide as it could be hard and confusing to change it later on. Sometimes your name just comes to you instantly, sometimes you need to spend some time thinking and brainstorming the options. Spend some time researching the possibilities to choose the name that fits your project. Here are the three main approaches for selecting a name:
Approach 1: Use descriptive keywords
A great name can be descriptive, appropriate to the topic and tell the visitors or at least hint at what the site is about and what they can expect. Descriptive keywords make your domain relevant to the topic and content of your site. Keywords help express what the site is about, and spell out benefits to the potential visitor. Start by describing what you do. Write down the keywords. Look for some synonyms to your words as well. Try and mix and match some of the words together to create something new and cool.
Approach 2: Come up with a brand name
The second method for choosing a name is to think about brandability and do a brainstorm to find some creative names that can become your brand. When thinking of brand names think of Google, Yahoo, Instagram, Twitter and similar. Something unique, catchy and short. Get your creative juices flowing and make up some interesting names. It can take a while to find the right name but can be really powerful way of starting something big. The negative side of this option is that in most cases the name will not be descriptive enough to tell the potential visitors what the site is about.
Approach 3: Simply YourName.com
You can also brand your site by your own full name. It is a nice way of having a more personal and warm presence while also building a name and a brand for yourself. Many bloggers have built their names in their fields which has allowed them to start selling teaching courses, doing conference talks and even publishing books. This option is not for everyone as some people will not be too comfortable putting themselves into the spotlight that much. You have to figure out if you are comfortable with this approach of putting yourself into the spotlight.
How to register your domain name
The .com domain name extension is the most popular and most recognizable extension. Most people regard that as the default extension and would automatically type .com after the name. Because of this always try and get the .com domain name, it is especially important if you are writing to a global audience. If you are writing a site in a language other than English then it should not be much of a problem to use a domain extension of your country. It is actually positive to have a local extension as visitors will understand that the site is targeted to their territory and search engines might send you more visitors from searches from that country.
So you now have some domain ideas in mind for your project? Very good! The process of checking if the domain name is available and registering it is pretty simple. Take a look at Bluehost for the easiest possible setup. They also offer a free domain name as long as you also get a hosting account to put your site on. The whole process takes 5 minutes as my video below explains and no tech knowledge is needed. Watch my step-by-step video guide below to get started.