Keep It Simple
Look for a domain name that is both real and unusual. Make sure it is easy to spell and pronounce. The best way to test this is show ten people the written down version and ask them to say the name and get another ten people to write the name down after they hear you say it. If 90% or more get it right, you’re on the right track!
Tweak If It’s Taken
This is arguably Rand’s most valuable principle. Circumvent a few of the issues you’ll learn about in the points below by giving preference to a name that yields few or no exact or similar Google results. You’ll lower the probability of trademark infringement and it’s a good indicator that the country’s TLD will be available as well as the handle within social media.
If your brand name is taken, make simple tweaks until you land on something that’s available. If you were the owner of the fictional pet store referred to earlier, but Paws and Claws was taken by another pet business you might look at pawsclawspets.com, pawsclawsstore.com or pawsnclaws.com, for example.
Consider Associations and Connotations
Be careful when choosing a domain name because it can be easy to accidentally choose one that is associated with another company or product. For example, if you choose a domain name like ‘KatterAxe’ people might think your company is related to eye problems, which probably isn’t the image you are going for.
Avoid Trademark Infringements
Countries like Australia, UK and the US all have a directory to reference when forming a company/brand name. Double (and triple) check them before you lock in your choice.
Top Level Country Domains
Top level country domains such as .com (US) or .com.au (AU) provoke trust. Rands advises against alternative extensions such as .info due to the association with spammy websites.
As of June 2022, 52.8% of the internet uses .com domains extensions and new options like .io, .tech, .site and .store, for example, are emerging all the time but they have a way to go before they build the same credibility level of .com domains and those similar.
According to these research findings by ICANN-accredited domain name registrar, Namecheap:
• 55.8% of respondents still trust companies and websites with .com, .net, and .org domain extensions more than those with newer domain extensions like .club, .website, .online, .store
• 78.9% would choose the onlinepayments.com website to pay for the bills when 28.9% would choose payments .online and 16.5% onlinepayments.finance.
• 71.7.% would choose the laptops.com website to research or read about laptops, although, 56.4% would choose laptops.tech
Same Same but Social
Verify that the name you want hasn’t already been taken on social media.
Check all the major platforms and any others you plan to be active on. Having social media handles like your domain name – or at a minimum, closely related – makes it easier for your audience members to locate you. Additionally, it builds credibility, strengthens brand recall and fosters trust in potential customers.