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How do I choose a good and effective domain name?

Jeff Bell

Jeff is a 20 year old Tech Support Operator at TemplateMonster. Helping our clients to edit and customize their sites every day, he knows what they need most and how to make it as easy as possible. More than one satisfied client already promised to call their child after him. Being a semi-professional high jumper in the past Jeff leaves no issue unresolved.


Choosing a domain name is one of the most important things for your site’s success. Your site URL is what gives people their first impression of you. In this guide, we have compiled instructions to help you make a good choice.

You’ll Learn About:

  1. Choosing a domain name
  2. Naming and Branding Strategies
  3. Registering a domain name
  4. Domain name costs

1. Choosing a domain name

A domain name is one or several words that describe your site in the browser address bar. You should get yourself one which will tell people that they need to go no further to find what they are looking for. The domain name has to stand out and be substantial. You can easily generate a decent domain name with tools like Name Mesh, Domainr or Wordoid.

In my opinion it’s better to give it some thought and make up the domain name yourself. For starters, try to make your name easy to remember and type, so the shorter it is the better. But, to give you better guidelines, let’s check out some of the strategies which, in my experience, have proven themselves effective.

2. Naming and Branding Strategies

  • Brainstorm possible domain names with your friends. Create a big list and start filtering until you find “the one”.
  • Consider using a wordplay, if not for the domain name, at least for the slogan.
  • Think of those to whom you want your site to relate and what they like, adding emphasis to what your audience knows best in order to win their hearts.
  • Think of the geographical location on which your business will concentrate and go with something authentic for it (watch out for stereotypes though).
  • If the name you want is taken, try contacting the owner to buy it out.
  • Consider putting hyphens in the name if the one you want is taken e.g. the domain name of toysforcats could be searched as toys-for-cats, thus providing an additional opportunity to get a comparable domain name you can use.
  • Try using the names you came up with as a verb, e.g. “google” something or “skype” someone. If your brand is successful, it’ll become a verb at some point. You’d want it to sound good.
  • If you’re not in a hurry, just relax and let your brain do the work in the background for you. Chances are, one morning you’re going to wake up with the perfect domain name in mind.

3. Registering a domain name

To register a domain name, you simply need to indicate your choice when registering your hosting plan. Check our guide on how to choose the right hosting. Hosting providers tend to make this process very easy to ensure that you choose their service over their competitors. You can also go with domain marketplaces or auctions where providers resell the names that aren’t in use anymore, but sound distinctive.

4. Domain name costs

Domain names from reliable companies may cost $10 - $15 per year. Bear in mind that custom and rare domain extensions (other than .com and .net) may increase the price to several hundred dollars.

Consider using specific domain name extensions to signify where you are based. E.g. oldstonegallery.ca means it is a Canadian company, or oldstonegallery.co.uk means it is a British company. If you are dealing with a local market only, then it helps to identify in which country you are located as an alternative to a .com extension.

If you go to the Gmail page and try registering an email with just your name before the @, it will most probably already be taken. The same is true about domain names. A lot of cool stuff is already in use.

So it wouldn't go amiss to reserve the domain name you like even if you’re not going to launch a site straight away. It will cost you less than one good meal, but you will be sure that once you are ready, you can commence creating your site using a domain name of your choice.

After you've chosen and purchased your domain name, move on to choosing your website's design among diverse website templates out there.

Now you are well equipped to provide your site with a name that stands out from others. If you know about other important aspects to consider when choosing your site URL, please, share them in our comment section below. And don’t forget to subscribe to our updates!