Choosing a domain name – not as easy as you’d think

By Paul Skeldon October 25, 2017 - 1:05 pm

Starting a business is filled with challenges, but in the world of ecommerce choosing a name – and by default a domain name/web address – is perhaps one of the most overlooked. You might be called Brian and you want to sell candles; but Brianscandles may not work for a number of reasons (not least, another Brian may have got there first).

So how do you go about choosing a name? Here we take a look at some of the key things to bear in mind when looking at names and, in particular, URLs.

You can learn more in Section 1: Start of the DIY ECOMMERCE GUIDE

  1. Make it easy to type

Sounds simple, but you have to spell things correctly – or in their most common way – and avoid unusual or confusing characters. For example, don’t use Xpress instead of express or ‘U’ instead of ‘you’. In fact you should avoid ‘you’ altogether to avoid confusion. Likewise, don’t put in ‘_’ or ‘-‘ as these can be easily mistaken. Try and pick a name that is easy to remember, simple to spell and easy to type. Remember if you need to add a non-alphanumeric then you need a new name!

  1. Keep it short and sweet

The shorter you can make your name the better. Long names are more likely to see errors creep in when they are being typed in – and if it doesn’t work the first time, they probably won’t try again.  These days many people will come to you via links, but again long and complex URLs can be mistyped even by you, creating even bigger problems if you get it wrong in your entire email marketing shot.

  1. Use key words

Try picking out keywords and using those in your name and URL, as this will help search engines find you. So think about the kind of key words people pay stick into Google when looking for what you do. If you make scented candles then maybe look for a URL.

  1. Be memorable

As well as meeting all these rules, you have to also come up with a name that is memorable and fitting. Once you have a name – and before you register it – try it out on friends and family and see what they think.

  1. Research it

And while you are trying it for size with friends and family, research it to make sure there aren’t too many similar ones about. When you come to register the name, the URL registration service you use will tell you if its already in use, but you may want to make sure that no one has a very similar one.

  1. Use appropriate extensions

As mentioned, you can get a variety of ‘dotX’ domain name extensions – so pick one that works for you. As Hiro Tsukahara, CEO. GMO Registry – part of .SHOP – tells us in this video, there are lots to choose from and it can help in many unusual ways. The old list of .com,, .info, .org, and so on has been hugely added to and now features .shop, .tv, .biz, and so on.

  1. Use a tool

You aren’t alone in this and there are many tools you can use to not only register your name and URL but that will take the key words you have and create unique names for you. Why not try:

Shopify Domain Name Generator

Quick and easy to use and comes up with some excellent results for ecommerce.


Claims to be the ‘domain name creator for the perfectionist’, it gives you lots of choice as to what sort of name you want: common, good SEO, new, short, fun or a mixture.


The original URL and business name generator does what they all do but does feature the ability to create URLs that rhyme.

Image credits:

  • Fotolia,
  • OlPeculier
    12 months ago

    “Likewise, don’t put in ‘_’ or ‘-‘ as these can be easily mistaken

    – you can’t use a _ in a domain name.

    “If you make scented candles then maybe look for a URL.

    In 2012 Google implemented a policy called Exact Match Domain something, which stopped exactly this kind of thing.

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