What’s In A (Domain) Name? More Than You Might Think

Naming a domain is far more complex than most people believe. Don’t let that scare you though, as it’s not quite as complicated as the gears turning in your head are leading you to think. There are three things you must look hard at before naming the website you’ll be bringing into the world. I’ll go over those three items that go into making a memorable and effective domain name.


You want some way for the person looking at your domain name (and nothing else) to have an idea of what you do or why they should bother. This helps you “pre-sort” people as interested or not. If you use any type of PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising, this simple consideration in the beginning can save you money and frustration in the future.


By identifying what your business does in your domain name, you reinforce whatever advertising you do. It’s kind of a silent exclamation point that says to the person viewing or listening to your ad “We really know what we’re doing in abc industry.”


Keep It Short

People will naturally seek out and take the path of least resistance. Why do you think Google and the other search engines became so popular? It’s great, I type in two or three words and I get back thousands of relevant results back in seconds. That’s the ultimate in saving time. When you can offer that benefit, saving them time, you too become valuable to them.


People just won’t bother if your domain is keyword stuffed and too long to type. Even when they are dedicated and make the effort, they’re still human and make simple typing mistakes. The last thing you want your business to be is a source of frustration to your customers. You do want relevant keywords but your domain name is not the place to include your keyword list. Shoes for kids with fashion sense .com is certainly descriptive. Fashion feet .com is as well and has the added benefit of getting to the point. The majority of people are overwhelmed with things to do and see. There just isn’t time to do or see it all. That’s why your FaceBook friends are up at 2:30 in the morning. How do you know that? Because you are too of course!


Use Simple, Common Words

This gets back to typing errors. What good is a great domain name doing you if any percentage of the people typing it can’t find you? What happens with them? They still want what you offer but they end up going to your competitor who has a more user-friendly domain name.


Make sure the words are common so when someone tells somebody about your website, they can easily and correctly understand your domain name.


If you are only going after a very narrow segment who understands a technical term or archaic word (The word archaic is a good example of what to avoid as not simple or common), you are free to use that word or term. Just realize that it will not immediately, nor for quite some time, or maybe ever bring the masses in to your site.


Alternatively if you use words that are not simple or common, you take the risk of Google sending people away or worse yet even directly to your competitor. Have your ever typed something wrong and Google gives you a suggestion? Try that with your business and you'll often get your competitors right there on the first page. (Ask me how they do it!)


An easy to remember domain is usually just a function of all of the previous attributes. When your domain name is: identifying what you offer, short, and using simple common words, it will be far easier to remember. And after all, what good is that snappy domain name if your potential customer can’t remember or spell it?


Next: The Exceptions To The “Rules”


The following two tabs change content below.

Rob Calhoun

Backend Specialist at R. Calhoun IE
+ Rob Calhoun Helps small to medium businesses succeed by building systems for them that help them get new customers, retain customers, and re-energize past customers. Rob helps clients and marketers maximize the return they get from their online marketing efforts.

Latest posts by Rob Calhoun (see all)

About The Author

Rob Calhoun

+ Rob Calhoun Helps small to medium businesses succeed by building systems for them that help them get new customers, retain customers, and re-energize past customers. Rob helps clients and marketers maximize the return they get from their online marketing efforts.


  • Doris

    Reply Reply December 22, 2011

    Thanks on creating one of the most stylish blogs I have come across in a long time! It’s truly incredible how much you are able to take away from some thing simply because of how aesthetically gorgeous it is. Youve created a fantastic be site fantastic graphics , structure. site!

  • Rob Calhoun

    Reply Reply December 22, 2011


    I can help you with tips or more specific, in-depth, and hands on help with developing your website.

    I took the link out of the comment you posted because the comment is generic and smells of copy and paste. When you comment on a blog, you should read the post and comment on that post. Don’t try to flatter the website owner. It may take some time but you should consider that time reading and posting relevant comments an investment. If you post another comment that is relevant to the subject of the post, I will give you a “do-follow” link back to your page.

    Internet marketing is not easy money like some people may lead you to believe. It takes some time and learning but the payoff is worth the investment.

    You might also want to get a gravatar. If you have one, you just use the email you used to sign up for gravatar when you post on blogs.

    You can get a gravatar at https://en.gravatar.com/


  • Argelia Raynolds

    Reply Reply January 8, 2012

    Wow! I had no idea what was involved in picking a domain name. I see from the two follow ups there is even a whole lot more than what’s here.

    • Rob Calhoun

      Reply Reply January 10, 2012

      Thanks Argelia. The more thought and planning you put in in the beginning, the better your results are.

  • Elza

    Reply Reply March 17, 2012

    What about different language? Some words don’t translate so good.

    • Rob Calhoun

      Reply Reply March 26, 2012

      That’s a good point Elza. You have to keep in mind that by choosing some words, you may be limiting your audience. But focusing on the people who will best relate to your product or service is actually a good thing. What good is ten million hits if they all leave without being interested enough to look at another page?

      For business it’s about conversion – visitor to lead, lead to customer.

      Conversion is no accident, it’s a well thought out and executed plan. To learn more about conversion, just go to my front page robcalhoun.com

  • Lauren

    Reply Reply April 5, 2012

    A magazine theme would make ur blog look nicer 🙂

    • Rob Calhoun

      Reply Reply April 6, 2012

      I appreciate the thought. There are some updates in the works. They’re just taking a back seat to clients’ projects.

Leave A Response To Rob Calhoun Cancel reply

* Denotes Required Field