Like choosing a company name, choosing a domain name requires careful thought since it can be a hassle to switch later on without hurting your brand and search rankings.
Your domain name is your identity on the web – it should be memorable, it should fit your business, and it should be easy to find and promote.
It would be best to go with the business name since it is more brandable eg. Wesellbooks vs Amazon, of the two Amazon is more brandable.
• Examples: microsoft.com, sony.com, nike.com
If you have a common/generic business name, lets say ABCLinen it might be a good idea to add a geographic identifier to distinguish yourself from others.
For example: abclinen.co.za -> abclinenjozi.co.za
A name that emphasises your brand will build trust in your site, which in turn supports your business. And a brand name — rather than a generic descriptor name — can also help you with site traffic if you want to reach an international audience that may not recognize a “concept” name from a different language.
Personal Blog Domain
For a personal blog it is more important.
If you are looking for a good domain name for your personal brand it makes sense to go with the obvious. Your Name 🙂 since you are the main attraction and the centre of the information on the website.
if your personal brand name is not available, then consider adding a keyword modifier that identifies what you do or what you’re about. For example: jadesnellart.co.za, katyperrymusic.co.za stephenkingauthor.co.za.
There is also the option of using a different extension eg. if you are Anna Franco and annafranco.co.za is taken, you could opt for annafran.co or (See what we did there?)
Choosing a Domain Cheatsheet
Here is our cheatsheet for choosing a domain name for your business, brand, or blog:
- Be original
- Make it easy to type/spell and pronounce
- Keep it as short as possible
- Avoid hyphens, double letters, numbers, and unfortunate word combos
- Add keywords (where it makes sense)
- Target your area (where possible)
- Leave room to expand
- Use the appropriate domain extension
- Research it
- Test it
- Register the domain yourself
One of the main goals of your website is to gain the trust and respect of your reader. Your domain name is often the first thing they see, and you don’t want to risk getting off on the wrong foot.
But you also want to keep things in proper perspective. Avoid trying to be clever or witty with your domain name. Let the content of your site provide the wow factor, not the domain name.
If you’re looking for a domain to help publicize your business, you should consider a name that matches your business name rather than a generic word that describes what your business sells
Make Your Domain Name Easy to Pronounce & Spell
You should be able to easily share your domain name when speaking as well as writing. You never know when you’ll be asked to share your domain name in person.
If you’re planning to use your domain name to create a professional business email address, then it definitely should be easy to understand and spell for any listener.
Keep It As Short As Possible
We recommend keeping your domain name under 15 characters. If your domain name is long and complex, you risk customers mistyping or misspelling. Short and simple is the way to go, Not to mention, users will also be more prone to entering typos with longer domain names which can lead to loss traffic.
Consider how you might use your domain in various types of marketing and promotion like business cards and other printed media. A long domain might pose some logistical challenges for you.
However, if your preferred domain is not super short, don’t sweat it.
Once you have a few concepts for the name, run it by friends or family, is there one that stands out? Or one that is chosen over others? Go with the best of the concepts
Avoid Hyphens & Numbers
Hyphenated domains are also prone to typos. If you choose a domain name with hyphens because the domain you want is already taken, then your users will likely end up at your competitor’s site if they forget to type in the hyphen. You don’t want that!
Also, people who hear your website address don’t know if you’re using a numeral (5) or it’s spelled out (five) or they misplace or forget the dash.
If you need these in your domain, register the different variations to be safe.
Example: loungeon75 & loungeoneventyfive.co.za
Avoid Double Letters
It’s a good idea to avoid domains with doubled letters, because it increases your chances of losing traffic to typos. For example, a domain like Presssetup.com will be more prone to typos, and result in lost traffic.
Avoiding doubled letters will also make your domain easy to type and more brandable.
Beware of Unfortunate Word Combos
Sometimes innocent word combinations have unintended consequences. Let’s say name of your business is Experts Exchange. The domain expertsexchange.co.za might not be the best choice.
Add Keywords (Where It Makes Sense)
Keywords in domain names are a lot like powdered sugar on waffles.
but not a necessity. If you can, and it makes sense to use a keyword, you should.
Example: A company named “Ovilex (Pty) Ltd” in the petroleum industry might choose a domain like OvilexFuels.co.za
Again, it is not a necessity but if you can find a balance between brandabilty and the ease of industry identification, it is bonus.
While keywords are important, don’t go overboard with domain length. It’s better to have a domain name that’s short and memorable.
Target You Area (Where Possible)
If your business is local, consider including your city in your domain name to make it easy for local customers to find and remember. Example: JoziGlassRepair.co.za
Leave Room to Expand
Its clever to go with a domain name that’s related to your industry because it gives users
an idea of what your website is about. At the same time you don’t want to limit yourself in the long term
For example, a gamer might choose a domain name like cargamesblog.com, but then they may want to start blogging about other types of games beside car games. In that case, the domain might prevent him/her from attracting readers interested in other games.
Use the Appropriate Domain Extension
Choose the appropriate extension. While .co.za is still at the forefront in South Africa , the newer — and far cheaper — extensions are becoming more popular by the day, so they may be worth considering, too.
Extensions are suffixes, such as .com or .net, at the end of web addresses. These can have specific uses, so make sure to choose one that works for your business. The .co.za and .com domain extensions are the most popular for South Africans. It can be tough to get a short and memorable .com domain name because it’s been around for so long.
Here are some other top extensions and how they’re often used:
• .co.za : an abbreviation for company, commerce and community based in South Africa • .info : informational sites. • .net : technical, internet infrastructure sites. • .org : non-commercial organisations and non-profits. • .biz : business or commercial use, like e-commerce sites. • .me : blogs, resumes or personal sites.
The great top level .com is still the king for domain extensions, for both SEO and memorability.
But there are a lot more domain extensions than there used to be, and if used strategically you shouldn’t have any problems.
Google the name. Ideally, there are not any other organisations that pop up. If there are, you at least want to make sure they are not in the same industry, or even in a closely related industry.
If it passes the Google test, make sure the name you’ve selected isn’t trademarked, copyrighted or being used by another company. It may result in a huge legal mess that could cost you a fortune, as well as your domain!
Use a site like to make sure the domain has a healthy reputation. Sometimes domains might have expired and you might inherit any bad reputation that the previous owner.
Always Register the Domain Yourself
It’s a good idea to not let anyone else (such as an agency) register a domain name for you. Even though it’s slightly less hassle that way (since someone else does all the work), it can lead to trouble later on. If someone else registers the domain, you’re giving them a hold over you and your website. If you ever want to move away from their services, you can encounter trouble in terms of them not being too eager to transfer the domain over to you and give you full control of it.
Long story short, always register your domains on your own. It’s not that difficult anyway.
When you are ready, ask yourself the below about the name
- Do you feel good about the name?
- Do you like it?
- Are you confident when you say it?
- Does it feel good when you write it down?
- When you read it?
- Is it unique & brandable?
- Is it unique, easy to remember and meaningful?
- Is it easy to read and spell?