Basic Rules for Choosing the Right Domain Name

Selecting the Right Domain  Name

When it comes to building an online business, a domain name is to your company what a physical address is to a brick-and-mortar storefront.

It goes without saying that a good domain name is one of the defining factors in the early success of a website. But unfortunately, many domain names are taken, and finding the right one can be a real challenge. Chin up!

We’re lucky to live in the 21st century and we can use WORDS to designate our website address, while a few decades ago (before 1984) there were no domain names at all, only numbers. http://154.170.153…. – try to guess what kind of business this domain name belongs to :). So, now when you see that your odds to find a meaningful domain name are rather high, let’s refresh a few good rules on picking the right URL.

Conduct Keyword Research

You may find this boring, but first of all, you should use your keyword tool to get some insights. Surely, you may skip this stage, but more often than not people end up using keyword tools :), especially if their business niche is highly saturated. You may also use one of the domain name tools suggested in this post.

From an SEO standpoint your domain name should include your major keywords. For instance, my personal website contains ‘website builders’. In case you’re serving local users only, you may add your location to attract local visitors. Many also recommend to hyphenate domain names to help search engines see separate words in your URL. However, these domains can be difficult to verbalize and remember.


Once you have compiled a list of the most likely domain names, start checking their availability using one of the popular registrars. Don’t lose your heart if it appears that your top 10 names in the list are taken. Just add a suffix, prefix or join a few words together until you get something sharp, easy-to-remember and recollect. The process can be time-consuming and exhausting. However, you should never use non-related domains for your websites. Other don’ts include:

  • Don’t make it long. Long domains are more likely to be misspelled and often don’t look professionally.
  • Don’t use modified versions of the already existing, popular websites. This is a recipe for disaster, to my mind.
  • Don’t give up fast!

Sometimes it makes sense to check whether the domain name had been used used before. As a rule, it’s not the most important factor, yet sometimes it can be the reason for a low ranking and other mishaps (for example, the domain name was used for illegal or unethical purposes).


As for extensions, I would recommend using .com, especially if you’re dead set on building a powerful international website. While local extensions will be perfect for your affiliate localizations.

Speaking about prices, a typical domain name will cost you about $10 per year. However, you may equally pay a few millions for an exclusive URL if you so choose :). You may also get a domain name as a gift (if available) when purchasing a hosting package or creating an account with one of the top 10 site builders.

About Howard Steele

Hi! My name is Howard Steele, and I can't survive a day without writing a technology-related post :). Most of these are website builders reviews and comparisons that I publish on my personal website


  1. Hi Howard

    Your point about checking whether a domain has been used before…

    This can sometimes be a good thing and you may find a domain that has just expired and has loads of relevant and authoritative links that you can take advantage of.

  2. You’re quite right,
    An old domain name with loads of relevant links will certainly give you a leg up!

  3. choosing a domain name is not easy job as your bnad value and seo all its depend on the domain name. And giving priority to seo you can’t choose stupid name. So this is really good post. Thanks

  4. These are some good tips, no doubt. One thing that I would recommend before choosing a domain is making a road-map for the the site now to the future. Maybe the domain name is right now, but 6 months later or a year later the site has developed as planned into something else or bigger-and the domain does not represent you correctly any longer.

  5. Hey Howard
    Some great ideas there with a very difficult topic these days. Domain names are really tough to find, with almost all one and two word combinations gone!
    You have to start to get creative or use a brand name instead of SEO words.
    There are not many options left, and sometimes it has taken me weeks to come up with something I am happy with
    have a great week

  6. Hi Howard,

    Great list of tips for choosing right domain name, I actually liked it

    These regulations are very helpful for those, who are seeking to select a domain name for their websites.

    Thank you for posting

  7. Hi Howard,

    I just thought of a domain and it became the chosen one of me but I still consider all the points you have laid down before choosing one. The reason why I did this is because all I wanted was a blog without knowledge of how something like a domain name would affect my ranking. Anyway it is not bad but people should follow such a guide like this. Thanks ~ Anetta

  8. Well hello Howard, thanks for clearly spelling out the fundamental decisions and research to be carried out when considering this apparently simple matter.

    One extra test I would add that is one that you touch upon.

    Test your proposed domain name on a friend, say it to them, get them to write it down and ask them what they think its about.

    Did they spell the domain correctly and did they make a logical connection to the niche you are targeting? Whilst quirky works, all too often it just makes the marketing more difficult that it needs to be.

    igor Griffiths

  9. Great points Howard. Mostly the long domain names not only make it hard to remember (unless they are meaningful phrases) but they also get super long for the urls of the inside pages!

    And long domain names are also hard to type directly on to an address bar without mistakes :)

    Thanks for sharing!

  10. Domain should always be short and sweet, and most importantly it should be brandable!

  11. Hi Howard,

    It’s the basic of SEO to have your keyword in your domain name, which certainly gives you advantage over other websites. However, if your website don’t serve quality to your audience then it could become the victim of Google EMD penalty. So you shouldn’t think that if you’ve a domain name with your targeted keyword then you can easily rule the SERP. You have to offer best experience to your audience.

  12. I want to know that what type domain is better long one or short one? Will it affect SEO??

  13. Good Domain is important for Seo but it’s hard jobs for me. I just pick one which have a good meanings like that. and do not care about long or short.

    Thank you for Sharing

  14. That’s not an easy job at all. One must start with a short, effective and a brandable domain name to dominate the blogging field. This job has now become a lot more difficult because of increasing competition and niche related search. Keyword research is the best thing to take care of selecting an effective brand name for your blog. Keyword rich domain is of the best priority. Thanks for this beautiful share Howard.

  15. Blogging must start with a great and keyword rich domain name as this is the only key to get sure sort success in today’s blogging world. Your domain name must be very much researched one as it has to reflect your area of expertise. It will be very tough to take your blog to the next level if you do not have a keyword rich domain name which can add value to your blog post. The post tells all about everything which need to be done to find a perfect domain name to for your blog.

  16. Before choosing a domain name, we must first stick to a specific niche. Then we can choose a domain name which suits with our niche. Further, using catchy words in the domain name makes the visitors remember our site easily.

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