This guide has all the inspiration you need to choose a great and catchy name for your website. A credible name that attracts visitors, that’s unforgettable, and projects the message you want to convey.
Picking a memorable name is one of the biggest challenges when starting your site. You’ll love this guide as it breaks down this roadblock and makes the process much easier. Let’s dive right in…
Sometimes the name just comes to you instantly. Sometimes you need to spend some time thinking and brainstorming the options. These are the main approaches you can use to quickly choose the right name.
1. Use descriptive words that are connected to your purpose
A descriptive name is appropriate to the topic and tells the visitors (or at least hints at) what they can expect. It does the marketing work for you as upon seeing the name people will know what your site is about. It’s also good for getting targeted traffic from the search engines.
Start by describing what you do and the topics that you want to cover. What do you want to help people with? What values do you want to communicate? Write down these topical keywords. Use a thesaurus to find relevant words, synonyms and antonyms.
Now come up with some phrases by combining your descriptive keywords. Be clear and to the point.
2. Come up with something brand new and unique
Coming up with something new, cool and brandable can be a really powerful way of starting something big and unique. Get your creative juices flowing, take your descriptive words and invent interesting words and metaphors. Use tools such as this and this.
- Mix and compound whole words. Think YouTube, WordPress and FaceBook.
- Blend, mesh, overlap and truncate words. Think Lego, Pinterest and Groupon.
- Make up new words. Add affixes (prefixes and suffixes) to words to form a basis of new words. Think Napster and Spotify.
- Misspell words. Think Digg, Flickr and Tumblr.
- Create phonetic contractions. Think Reddit as in “read it”.
- Use foreign words as long as you are certain what they mean. Think Vox and Nike.
Don’t try to be too clever as it could confuse people or become unintentionally inappropriate and embarrassing.
3. Just use your full name as your site name
Name your site by your full name. This creates a more personal and warm presence. It also helps you build a personal brand which could lead to conference talks and even book publishing deals.
It’s also a great method if you switch between different topics you focus on as your name will always fit any project that you’re doing. It’s not for everyone though as some won’t be too comfortable about putting themselves in the spotlight that much.
The characteristics of an unforgettable website domain name
You cannot have a site without a domain name. A domain name is the internet address (the URL) that visitors type into their browsers in order to get to your content. Domain name consists of a name followed by an extension such as .com.
Some say that all the good domain names are taken but that is simply not true. The following characteristics of great names are very elementary, but they are essential for a memorable domain name.
- It’s got to be easy to remember. TheFacebook changed to Facebook. MyMint to Mint
- Simple. Can you make it one word?
- Short. Can you make it a four letter word?
- Pleasing to the eye.
- It’s got to feel natural in your mouth.
- Easy to spell.
- Easy to type.
- Easy to pronounce. This means no numbers and hyphens.
- Appropriate to your topic and reflects on your messaging but not so descriptive so it sounds generic.
- Different from your competitors.
- Available and not trademarked by another company. If your name is similar to another band’s, they could sue you and you could lose a lot of money and time.
- Not too specific so it may limit you down the road. A name is a long term decision so make it open to long-term expansion.
Many ideas inevitably evolve, especially in the online world where everything moves quickly. Snapchat had to rename to Snap as they’re no longer all about chat.
You don’t want to change your site name in the near future. It could cost you a lot of time and money. It could negatively affect your branding and search engine rankings. Just think Yahoo name change to Altaba.
Now that you have a list of ideas, imagine that you share your domain name to a person you meet at a conference. Will he or she be able to recall and correctly remember it? Get inspired and be creative. Try to find a balance between a catchy, descriptive and brandable name.
Dot what should my domain name extension be?
Domain names have extensions such as .com, .org, .net or .gov. There are many extensions available. See the full list. I always try and get the .com domain name. It’s especially important if you are writing to a global audience. The .com extension is the most popular and most recognizable one. Most people regard that as the default extension and would automatically type .com after any name.
Some recommend you change the name you had in mind in case you cannot find an available .com domain. The majority of big and successful sites are on the .com extension. All of top 20 most valuable Y Combinator startups and 94% of top 50 are on a .com domain. You will also notice a lot of the search results have .com domains on top.
If you are writing a site in a language other than English, then try and use a domain extension of the country. It’s 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 that country too.
Check if your chosen domain name is available (and register it)
So you now have some domain name ideas in mind for your project? Very good! The process of checking if the domain name is available is pretty simple. So is registering it.
You need a domain name registrar in order to register a domain name. There are many. They typically charge you an annual fee for the registration of the name.
I recommend Bluehost.
You can get your domain name for free there as long as you also get them to host your site.
More than 2 million WordPress sites are hosted there. And you can get hosted at $2.95 per month.
Click here to check if your chosen domain name is available.
It will take you 5 minutes to register your domain name and get your site online.
Note that when registering a domain name some of your personal details such as name, address, email and phone number will be publicly available through Whois lookup tool as you’re the legal owner.
In case you prefer to remain private, you can select the “Domain Whois Privacy” option in the registration. This puts the details of the registrar in the Whois database instead of your personal details.
Disclosure: I do earn a commission if you sign-up using my link at no additional cost to you. Please know that I only recommend products that I find helpful and useful. If you do choose to buy through my link, thank you for your support!