Choosing the perfect domain name for your next website should be something that is done between you and your web designer, using their expertise and your unique understanding of your business.
The Radio Test
The key to choosing the perfect domain name is to keep it as short as possible and should pass the “radio test”. This basically means, how would your domain name sound if it was being announced on air? berkshiresupersweetcandystopstore.com doesn’t work as well as berkshiresweets.com. The domain name needs to flow naturally, not just visually but “aurally” as well.
Hyphens (and let’s call them hyphens shall we and not dashes?!) can be used to break up long words and make your domain name seem easier to “mentally digest”. For example, if your company name was Golf Flowers, I would suggest you choose golf-flowers.co.uk over golfflowers.co.uk. The hyphen here has broken up the two words quite nicely and makes it clearer. This is needed when the company name is made of two words and the first word ends with the same letter that the second word starts with. Hyphens are great for breaking up words in domain names but you need to limit yourself to just ONE hyphen. If you need to use more than one, then the domain name then you’re thinking of is far too long! Remember, keep it simple!
Your company name doesn’t necessary have to be in the domain. What does have to be in the domain name (if not your company name), is what you do and where you do it. For example, readingbuilders.co.uk would be great if you were a building company in Reading. The search engines (Google, Yahoo and Bing), give a lot of credit to sites that contain keywords in the domain name. For example, if someone were to search “builders in Reading”, readingbuilders.co.uk would have a pretty good stab at coming out on top. Of course, you shouldn’t rely on just a domain name to improve your page ranking for SEO purposes, but it does help!
As well as the commonly used .co.uk and .com extensions, you can set your domain extension to .gov, .net, .org, .eu, .info or .biz. There are many, many more options available to choose from but these are extremely specialist so we won’t cover them here. In fact, we’re going to ignore them all apart from .com and .co.uk. Ask yourself one question – do you sell to outside of the UK? If the answer is yes, then consider a .com. It’s really that easy! The search engines also rank .co.uk domains better than .com when the user searches for a local search. Worth keeping in mind!
Even though you may not shorten your company name using an acronym, you may still want to consider using an acronym for your domain name. Shorter domain names are easier to remember and more difficult to get wrong. Have you ever heard of a company called Bayerische Motoren Werke? You can probably bet their domain name is bmw.co.uk. Even if you never EVER shorten your company name, it’s worth considering when thinking about domain names.