Helpful Tips for Choosing the Right Domain Name

1. Brainstorm 3 to 5 keywords (or phrases) related to your organization and its core services or products

It is helpful to find 3 to 5 terms or phrases that best describe your organization and your core service offerings before searching for a domain name. Once you have a list, you can pair these key phrases and simplify them to create a good domain name. For example, if your organization is an auto repair business, you may start with words like: “auto, auto repair, auto services, vehicle repair,” etc. Then try pairing your business name and possibly your location with your keyword phrases. If your business name was Luke’s Auto Repair, and it was located in Minneapolis, you could try or


What is the most Effective Website Design for My Business?
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2. Keep your domain name short and easy to remember

Keeping your domain name short and easy to remember will help people identify, recall and share your domain name with others easily. You don’t want people to struggle to remember your domain name when it comes time for them to recommend your business to others. A strong domain name should be 15 characters or less.


3. Don’t choose a domain name based solely on keywords in the URL

In the past, having exact keywords in your domain made a big difference for search engine rankings, but today this is no longer true. While it may be preferable to have a domain name that has your target keywords in it, if the keyword is too long or difficult for people to remember, you should come up with a shorter, catchy name for your domain. For example: If your business provides chiropractic care in Minneapolis, Minnesota and your targeted keywords are “Chiropractor Minneapolis,” you should look into domain names like:;; or


4. Make your domain name unique

Make sure you do enough research to avoid having a domain name that is easily confused with another popular existing domain. Avoid domain names that are plurals (ex: or hyphenated versions (ex: of other established companies that provide the same products and services you do.


5. Choose a Dot-com domain

Although you could purchase one of several types of domains – .net, .co, or others – the .com domain is always preferable. If you’re serious about establishing a brand name and avoiding any confusion with other company domains in the future, you should choose a domain that has the .com extension. You wouldn’t want to try to promote while there was another similar business at You could end up sending business to them instead of your own site.

Because consumers are more familiar with the .com domain, they could easily mistake a .com website for your .net site. But, if you really like a specific domain name, and if a .net, .co (or other extension) is available, and the .com version is not your direct competitor, you could purchase that domain. If the domain is too expensive and beyond your budget, I would look for a different domain name.

If your organization is a non-profit, you’ll probably want to host your website on a .org domain, but you should also see if the .com domain is available. You should purchase both the .org and the .com domains. When your site is up and running, you’ll want to configure the .com site to forward visitors to your .org domain, in case people mistakenly type in your web address at the .com domain.

Owning the .com domain will also ensure you’re not a victim of domain solicitors who like to snatch .com domains as soon as they see your .org website goes online and try to sell it to you at a ridiculous price. Spending another $15 to get the .com domain is worth it.


6. Make your domain name easy to pronounce and memorable

Your domain name is something you may read out loud to others, so making it easy to pronounce can save time and help avoid confusion. It will also make it easier for those you may work with who are not native English speakers.


7. Don’t get a Banned Domain

You should check to see whether the domain you want has been banned by Google. Sites can be banned by Google for violating their quality guidelines. Violations often occur when site owners use deceptive practices – either through techniques designed to trick search engines into ranking their site higher, or practices designed to deceive their site visitors. Here is a tool to find out if a domain you’re interested in has been banned by Google or not.

If the domain you want has been banned, I recommend choosing a different one. Promoting a banned domain will make your online marketing campaign an uphill battle, and will cost you more time, effort and money to rebuild the site’s web rankings.


 8. Avoid Copyright Infringement

Although this does not happen often, you should research to make sure your domain name does not infringe on a trademark or copyright being used by another company. You should go to and search before you buy. This will help you avoid potential costly legal disputes.

I hope you found this article helpful. If you did, please refer back to it in the future or pass it on to others so they can benefit from it as well. Thank you!

Phong Nguyen

BA from St. Olaf College
MBA from University of St. Thomas
SEO from "the School of Hard Knocks."

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