I bought my first domain, adaringadventure.com on a whim.
I liked the Helen Keller quote, life is a daring adventure or nothing and it seemed fitting.
What could be more of a daring adventure than walking away from a successful 20-year sales career to become a life coach whilst emigrating?
On reflection, and even though it has served me well, I could have almost certainly bought something better.
It’s by no means the be-all and end-all, but your domain name is important for a number of reasons as will become apparent.
It’s well worth giving it time and consideration in the same way you would (hopefully) your business name.
If this post. throws up any concerns/questions please leave a comment and I’ll do what I can to address them.
10 Rules for choosing your domain name
1. Go for a dot com
Good dot coms are hard to get and there’s a reason for that other than they’ve been around the longest.
It’s because they have more credibility and are instantly recognisable.
Even older gTLDs (generic top level domains) like .info, .biz and .net don’t carry anything like the weight.
In fact, avoid .info at all costs as it was raped and pillaged by scammers.
2. Buy your local ccTLD
A ccTLD (country code top level domain) such as .co.uk for here in the UK or .ca for Canada, designates (or should) the country you’re in.
Buy your country code even if you don’t plan to use it because you have a .com you prefer.
If you never want traffic/clients outside your own country it may even be better than a dot com because it could offer SEO (search engine optimization) benefits.
3. Be wary of new gTLDs
It’s tempting when a new gTLD is released to grab it because it includes your exact business name.
But they have inherent risks.
- The general public isn’t familiar with new domains, so they can look spammy
- Nobody will guess what your domain is when all they have is your business name
Relatively new domains like .click .club and .site have already been abused and should be avoided.
I’m not against .coach, but even for a coach, I prefer .com or a ccTLD.
4. Buy your own name
I own timbrownson.com even though I’ve never used it.
You may not use yours, but at least nobody else will either.
If I didn’t own mine any other marketing coach could buy it and piggyback off it.
And probably more important than protecting your personal brand is that if you move into public speaking your name is what people will search for.
The same goes for if you write a book, or if you’re seen being interviewed online or on TV.
5. Be suspicious of great domain names
If you see a killer domain that’s available go and check it out on Wayback Machine before you buy it.
Drop the URL into the search box and you will be able to see snapshots of what it was used for before – if anything.
It could be you just got lucky and it’s pristine, in which case buy the fucker asap.
But it’s possible it’s been used for dubious purposes.
Google does not sit idly by and let people use domains to scam and spam people, it de-indexes them.
That means they cannot be found in a search.
You can restore the reputation of a domain, but it’s time-consuming and you’re better spending that time on your marketing.
6. Be consistent
I’m spitting feathers at the moment and not just because I ate a live peacock for lunch.
I wanted to change the name of the Coach the Life Coach Facebook group to The Fully Booked Coach but somebody is already using that as vanity name.
The really annoying thing is that it’s not even the name of their business, they are just hijacking it.
I now have the problem of finding a name that isn’t confusing to new visitors.
In an ideal world, your domain wants to be exactly the same as your business name because otherwise, it may confuse people.
The exception to this is if you use your own name.
7. Don’t use hyphenations
My new domain of thefullybookedcoach.com (coming soon) is easier to remember or guess at than thefully-bookedcoach.com.
Hyphenation can look spammy because it is actually typically used by spammers to create EMDs (exact match domains).
Let’s suppose you want to sell supplements to help people with Monkey Pox because they have a high-profit margin even if you know they’re fucking useless.
You could buy monkeypox.com which is for sale at $113,000, or you could buy best-vitamins-for-monkey-pox.com.
The latter looks spammier than a can of spam deep friend in spam juice, but it *may* trick Google into helping you rank for that specific term.
It’s fine to buy a hyphenated domain to protect your name/brand, but inadvisable to use them as your main domain.
There are big brands like Harley Davidson that use a hyphenation, but they are very much the exception.
8. Avoid long domains
Every extra letter is an extra opportunity for people to make a mistake when typing it into their browser.
And as a rule, every extra word makes it harder to remember.
Iamareallybrilliantcoach.com is still available and there’s a reason it’s still available. It’s shit.
Long domains may also get cropped in the search bar on a mobile device meaning people cannot read them.
9. Don’t get cute
I’m sure you’re very cute, but your domain name shouldn’t be.
I know I said to avoid long domains but that doesn’t mean you should be going all creative to keep yours short.
Removing vowels is all well and good if you’re Tumblr, Scribd or Flickr, but you’re not, so don’t.
The same goes for making up new words or adding ly to the end of a word because every fucker else seems to be.
You’ll look pretentious and confuse people if you don’t have the branding behind it.
10. Don’t pay over the odds
Registrars like GoDaddy and NetNames act like resellers and all search the same ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) database for available names.
However, resellers can charge what they want for a domain and prices can vary dramatically.
I have fallen for buying from GoDaddy with what I thought was a good price only for it to triple the following year.
It’s a pain in the ass moving domains, especially if you’re using them.
So they bank on people like me who can’t be arsed to move when renewal time comes up.
Cloudways sell at cost (at least at the time of writing) because they make their money on hosting, which you don’t have to buy.
A .com will usually set you back less than $10 but some domains are more expensive.
Don’t panic if your domain name sucks!
Just remember, you can always change your domain.
It’s not advisable to be doing it often as it will cost you traffic (ask in the comments if you want to know more).
But, if you have read this post and think yours sucks, don’t panic, just find a new one.
You will need to redirect the old domain to the new one to avoid losing ALL your traffic.
Similarly, you can redirect any domains you do have to your main domain so that if people type them in they still find you.
If you don’t know how to do that the person who set your website will.
If you have any thoughts/questions, please do leave a comment below.