Once you’ve made a business case for your website, it’s time to start thinking about a domain name for your site. There are millions of domain names registered so the one you want might not be available, but with some creativity, you’ll be able to come up with something that will work for you. Here are some pointers on how to choose a domain for your business.

5 Tips for Choosing a Great Domain Name

Keep it Short

When a domain name is long, there are more chances for people to make a mistake entering it. Keeping your domain name short is preferable. If your company name is something like “The Great Canadian Cinnamon Roll Factory”, you could have a domain of thegreatcanadiancinnamonrollfactory.ca. You could, but you could also have cinnamonroll.ca. Just remember: shorter is better.

Top Level Domains Matter

What is the Top Level Domain (TLD)? An example of a TLD is .com, or .ca. The extension at the end of the main part of the domain is the TLD.

It’s often been said to purchase the .com version of your name. That’s because the .com TLD is the most recognized worldwide. If you’re a Canadian serving the Canadian market only, you might be fine just sticking to the .ca version of your domain. I think it’s worth purchasing a few TLD variations.

Avoid Trademarks and Similar Names

Above I used the domain cinnamonroll.ca as an example. The domain cinnamonrolls.ca is already registered. While the two are distinct, there is a possibility of confusion between them. You could also theoretically register cinnamon-rolls.ca. Adding hyphens is a way to get a name you want, but it makes it harder for people to remember.

If the domain you’re thinking of includes a trademarked term, avoid it. There’s no point registering canadian-porsche.ca if you’re not a Porshce dealer. You’ll just be inviting a lawsuit and nobody needs those.

Avoid Hard to Spell Domains

I have a customer whose restaurant name is The Fisherman’s Plaice. For those who aren’t familiar with fish, Plaice is a type of fish. Most people don’t know that and think of the restaurant as The Fisherman’s PLACE. We decided to register both fishermansplaice.ca and fishermansplace.ca. That way people who didn’t know how to spell the restaurant’s name would still be able to find the restaurant’s site. You may find this worthwhile.

Stick to Letters When Possible

The proliferation of “vanity” license plates makes driving a little bit more interesting. Seeing a plate of “CU L8R” is cute. It might not be so cute for your domain. When people ask you for your website, they would hear “See You Later”. A friend of mine has a domain of lev8.ca, which is prounced “Elevate.ca”. Cute, but tricky to spread by word of mouth. If you’re going to use a domain like this, make sure you hand out business cards when networking.

Your domain name is sometimes the first thing people see about your business. Choosing one that will represent your business professionally is important. Invest some time into researching and choosing a name that will serve you well.