How to Choose a Domain Name? Learn the Best Practices
A domain name is what the visitors will write into the search bar of their web browsers to access your site.
That’s why it’s essential to ensure that the domain name is memorable, easy to spell, and ideally includes the business’s name. After all, you don’t want your potential customers struggling to find the company online just because a domain name is no good.
How to choose a domain name that will suit your business? How to ensure it will help build credibility and trust while representing your brand at the same time?
To answer these questions, let’s have a look at what a domain name is made of. We’ll use www.store.brandname.com as an example:
- www and store – both of these are subdomains, but nowadays www is more considered as an optional prefix rather than a necessity. www is mostly used alongside second-level domains
- brandname – is the second-level domain
- com – is the top-level domain
Ideally, a second-level domain should include either your personal or business name. It’s the part that visitors have to memorize to access your site, so the name has to fit.
The best way to choose an excellent second-level domain name is to make a list of potential choices. Then, narrow them down by checking their availability using a domain name checker.
Once you’re down to only a few options, see what top-level domains (TLDs) can be attached and choose one that’ll work for your website. Here at Hostinger, we offer a wide variety of TLDs, so feel free to check our options before buying the perfect domain name.
How to Choose a TLD
A TLD is the last bit of your URL address and it indicates the purpose of your website, as coordinated by ICANN.
In summary, there are three main types of TLDs:
- gTLD – generic top-level domain
- sTLD – sponsored top-level domain
- ccTLD – country code top-level domain
A gTLD is the most common type of top-level domain that doesn’t have any restrictions for registration. Most of the website are using .com domains but other good examples of gTLDs are:
However, this list is not limited to the most popular extensions. There are a lot of other domain endings that are considered to be good alternatives. They include .online, .site, .store and other relatively new TLDs.
Ideally, each type of gTLD should represent the purpose of your site. For example, .com should be used for commercial sites, while .org domain should be reserved for organizations only. In addition, .net domain names were originally used by companies involved with the internet technologies such as internet providers.
However, nowadays anyone can register their website using any of the gTLDs, no matter if it fits the purpose or not. For that, there are extensions such as .xyz or .icu domains that are free of usage restrictions and are not associated with any specific niche.
Although, it is always a good idea to use a domain extension that reflects what your site is about. For example, if your online store address ends with .store or .shop domain name, the potential buyers are more likely to click on it.
If you’re running out of ideas for the perfect domain name, use a domain name generator.
sTLDs are handled by private organizations. Meaning, you can only register an sTLD if you follow specific rules and have permission to do so.
Good examples of sTLDs include:
- .gov – for government institutions only
- .edu – for educational institutions
- .mil – for the military organizations
The last type of top-level domain is ccTLD. These represent the location or country that the website or organization is based in.
Good examples of ccTLDs are:
By seeing this type of TLD, visitors can tell which area the website is based on. There are no additional permissions to get or requirements to meet when registering for a ccTLD.
Although, some ccTLDs are no longer associated with specific countries or territories. For example, .ai is the official extension of Anguilla, a British Overseas Territory in the Caribbean. However, many tech companies use this domain suffix as a generic top-level domain due to its association with artificial intelligence (AI). And originally assigned as Cocos Islands’ ccTLD, the .cc domain has grown to be a .com alternative. It is used for different personal and professional websites today.
Knowing how to choose a domain name for your business is crucial. A bad domain name can directly affect the traffic, conversion rates, and overall credibility of the website.
To stop this from happening, really put some thought into it. Brainstorm different options, see what represents your branding, and narrow it down to the very best choice.
To summarize, here are our tips on how to choose a good domain name:
- Make a list of domain names that suit the website and branding.
- Check the domain name registrar for availability and narrow down the options.
- Purchase the chosen domain name for your site.
Here at Hostinger, prices for great domain names start at only $0.99/year.
You can also get a domain name completely free of charge if you pick one of our premium web hosting plans.
Overall, consider what option is better for you, and make a decision based on what’s best for your business.