How to Choose a Domain Name

Choosing a domain name is kind of like choosing a business name.  We end up taking a super long time to pick one — agonizing over finding that perfect .com — and ultimately it doesn’t really matter as much as we think.

First step is to head over to Whois.net, where you can search for your ideas to see if they’re already taken.  (Don’t buy your domain there though, as you’ll likely overpay.  Buy it from our recommended registrar instead for max value.)

At this point, if you haven’t already realized, you’re about to find out that your first 10 awesome domain name ideas are probably already owned by someone else.  Now what do I do?

As it turns out, choosing the perfect domain name isn’t quite as critical as we believe.  If your name is Mike Stevens and you own a consulting business, you’ll immediately discover that stevens.com and mikestevens.com are both taken, but mikestevensconsulting.com is available!  Maybe you register that last one, and then a couple years later mikestevens.com becomes available so you buy that one too.  But mikestevensconsulting.com is already all over your letterhead and advertising.  Not to worry — it’s fairly simple to redirect users to your new domain.  So don’t overthink it, ok?

General Guidelines
  • Dot-com is Still the Best
    Domains that end with .com are the most common, and therefore the top choice.  Next best are .net and .org.  If you absolutely must, then .us, .info, .io, and .ws are okay but not quite as ideal.
  • Shorter is Better
    Shorter domain names are easier to remember!  Two words is great, and three words is okay.  More than three words is not ideal.
  • Easy to Remember, Say, and Type
    Don’t pick super obscure words, and avoid hyphens and numbers if possible.
  • Don’t Be Too Restrictive or Specific
    If you register SeattleNewFurniture.com and later decide to start selling used furniture, you’ll probably wish you had picked something more “expandable”.
  • Just Do It!
    In the end, selecting a “good enough” domain name is better than overthinking and not getting any domain name at all.  Take imperfect action — just pick something and move forward.
CONGRATULATIONS — you’ve settled on a good-enough-yet-still-awesome domain name, and you’re ready to move on to choosing a web host!