Let’s assume you’ve already made the choice to go with a .CA domain for your business or personal website. Hear that? All the Canadian geese in a 10-kilometer radius are already singing your praises.
Now, you’re ready to give that .CA domain a proper name and let it be known to the world. Right?
Ah—but let’s hold on a sec. Choosing a good domain name is a pretty important step! The domain name you pick shouldn’t be an afterthought or a throwaway. What it should do is speak clearly to your business or passion project.
A good domain name can help separate you from the pack and drive interest (and traffic) to your site. It screams credibility, it’s a pillar of your digital presence. A badly chosen domain name? Well, it does the exact opposite. So, what’s in a name? Quite a bit.
Fortunately for you, the name gurus here at CIRA headquarters have come together and shared their four top tips when choosing a good .CA domain name.
Four tips when choosing a good domain name
Tip 1: keep your domain name simple, brief and typable.
While you might give yourself creativity points for a long, eccentric domain name…your users won’t. Or—worse yet—they just won’t remember your domain name…or misspell it and get lost on the way to your website. That’s why we recommend keeping your domain name short, simple, typable and easily pronounceable.
Lengthwise, you should try to avoid names that are longer than two or three words. Aim for a sweet spot of between five and 14 characters.
In terms of complexity, try to avoid things like random numbers (www.computers6752.ca), dashes and repeated letters (ppppizza.ca). All these things can make your domain name hard to read and remember. Plus, deliberate misspellings (like “mrketing” instead of “marketing,”) can make your site seem spammy and suspicious.
Tip 2: make your domain name memorable AND a match for your brand or hobby.
We’re not here to cramp your style. Just because something is short and simple doesn’t mean it can’t be memorable! Here are a few ways you can come up with a domain name that sticks in your audience’s brains, and nicely captures the essence of your business.
Make your domain name a catchy call to action:
- We’ve all seen how a catchy call to action can build strong brand associations—i.e., “Think Different,” “Have it Your Way,” “Just Do It,” etc.
So, what about making a short, punchy and direct call to action (or catchphrase) your domain name? That’s just what renewable energy dealers, Switch Energy, did with “maketheswitch.ca.”
Go with your business name (or a shortened version):
- If you’ve already mapped out a unique name for your business, why not have it (or a shortened version) serve as your domain name? This helps ensure consistency and drives brand familiarity.
Check out gourmet popcorn purveyors Corn Popper (cornpopper.ca), or pet treat retailer Bone & Biscuit Co. (boneandbiscuit.ca). Business name too long? Shorten it up! Ottawa-based Kichesippi Brewing Company went with one letter from their business name, plus the golden, sudsy product they sell to make “kbeer.ca.”
Go with a memorable acronym or abbreviation:
- “Mountain Equipment Co-op” is a bit of a mouthful for a domain name. So, they used an acronym of their name: “mec.ca.” It’s short, sweet and catchy.
Sometimes your actual name will suffice:
- If your intent is to create a personal branding website—or—say, an online portfolio—then what could be more unique than your own name?
If you’re stuck for out-of-the-box ideas and need a jumpstart—use any one of the free domain name generators out there. Nameboy is one that’s been around for a good long while.
Tip 3: sprinkle in keywords and/or locations.
Incorporating keywords related to your business or hobby can be a great way to help users (and search engines like Google) understand what your site is all about, as well as what you do or offer, at a quick glance. Keywords for your local coffee shop can include things like, “bagels,” “chocolate,” “coffee,” “smash cake.”
For example, transcendcoffee.ca, or peacebychocolate.ca beautifully blend in keywords to create unique business and domain names.
You might also think about working the location you serve into your domain name. For instance, “beelocal416.ca” is all about “sustainable urban beekeeping” in the Toronto area.
Even airport codes (think YYC for Calgary, YVR for Vancouver) provide a short and memorable way to target customers in specific cities. For example, check out yegburger.ca—“Edmonton’s best burger joint.”
Tip 4: don’t let your pursuit of “perfect” get in the way.
Yes, coming up with a unique domain name is an important first step, but don’t get too-too carried away. Sometimes, “good enough” will get you over the hump and onto bigger, better things—like building a gorgeous, functional website and establishing your brand online.
Alright, you’ve got some of the best domain naming advice in the blogosphere.