Trying to choose a website name? It's one of the most important things you must do when designing a site. Given your website is one of the biggest advertisements for your work, it can feel like a big decision. Your website enables you to display your portfolio, and project your style and approach to your work, plus it makes it easy for potential clients to reach out to you.
The right name will get you noticed, ensure you appear higher in web searches, and give you a competitive edge over other creatives in your discipline (as will a well designed site, of course, so pick the perfect website builder). Read on to learn how to select the best name for your site and boost visitors – and potential clients too.
01. Represent your brand
When beginning to choose a website name you should remember that as a creative, your work is your brand, and your website domain name should reflect this. If you are new to your industry you might consider specifying your specific sector in your domain name. For example, it might be beneficial to include a word like illustration, design, animation, or photography in the title.
If you want to market your work under your own name, then a domain like 'www.kieronallenillustration.com' could work well. Otherwise, consider a name that sparks interest. In this instance, it's better to come up with a name for your service using eye-catching text, something like 'www.firebrandstudio.com'.
02. Check your competitors
To check the websites of your competitors, type the service you offer into Google and take a look at the key results in the rankings. This step will enable you to determine which of your competitors are ranking highly and may give you some inspiration for your own domain name too.
After you choose a website name, you'll need to check whether it's already been taken. To do this, use a website domain name checker. There are several good websites out there that enable you to do this free of charge. Some of the best are run by the web hosts IONOS and Go Daddy (see our guide for more web hosting options). If you settle on a name but find out it's already owned by someone else, you can always offer to buy it – but be warned, the most popular domain names come with a hefty price tag.
03. Don't underestimate the power of SEO
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a critical tool for driving visitors to your website. If you spend time optimising your domain name, it will rank higher in Google searches and showcase your work to more potential clients.
Keywords are the most important consideration when it comes to deciding on a website name. More SEO tactics can be deployed in the body of your site, but your domain name should be targeted to key words in your sector.
Bear in mind, search engine operators are aware of these SEO tactics, so even if your domain name is search-friendly, your whole site needs to be of good quality too. If not, there is a danger that you could be penalised for keyword stuffing, and your site moved down the rankings.
04. Keep it short and simple
Even though a creatively named website might make your brand stand out, you don't want it to be complicated or hard to spell. Avoid made-up words and go with more familiar terms that a visitor won't have trouble typing into an address bar or even remembering in the first place.
Another tip is to avoid making your domain name too long. Try and keep the text below the 14 character mark. In fact, it's best practice to keep it as short as you can. A good tip is to say the name of your site aloud. If it doesn’t sound right when spoken out loud, then don't use it.
Another consideration is trends. Although a word or phrase might be trending in popular culture right now, there's no way to say whether this will be the same story in years to come. Make sure your site is future-proof and think about picking text that's evergreen.
06. Consider another extension
Most people will automatically go for a .com address when deciding an extension for their domain name, but this isn't the only option. Today, there are countless extensions to choose from.
If price is an issue – .com addresses can be expensive – then the next best are commonly used extensions like .org, .net, or .us (for US-based creatives). Beyond this, there has been a trend in recent years for industry-specific extensions.
Although it's generally a good idea to avoid anything that sounds untrustworthy, like .biz, picking a domain extension that is specific to your industry can add an interesting element to your brand and help keep your domain name shorter because your profession is already in your domain title.
Popular extensions for creatives include .studio, .art, .graphics, .design, .gallery, and .digital, but the list is endless.
06. Test it on friends and colleagues
When you do find a winner, test it out on friends and colleagues to see their reception. You'll likely be stuck with your decision for the foreseeable future, as changing the name of your website after people become aware of it is a very bad idea – so make sure you are certain on the domain name you choose.
07. Brainstorm potential forerunners
Using all of the hints, tips, and techniques we've mentioned, you should be able to find the perfect website name to match your creative talents. It's an important process, so brainstorm a number of potential forerunners before deciding on your favourite.
Finally, when you've picked a winner, go ahead and register your domain name and start building your website. If website design isn't your forte, then we'd suggest opting for a website builder. With a well-thought-out website name, you'll be one step closer to getting your brand or business noticed by the people who are sure to love it.