I've always found the most exciting time is when you start a new idea or brand/company. You sit down and search for the perfect domain for your new website! Let me share some thoughts on what I think you should be looking to buy.
My first piece of advice is to keep it short. Users sometimes have to remember your domain in certain circumstances, so the fewer characters they have to type, the better. Ideally, try to keep it to one or two words; in my case, I went with ryangittings.co.uk.
Easy to say
From time to time, you will need to share your domain with others verbally. The website domain must be easy to remember, but it's also important it's easy to say and understand. If the user doesn't get it right, the consequences could be fatal, and you could miss out on a new lead, sale or conversion. Before you press the buy button, it could be worth saying the domain out loud and sharing it with friends/family to ensure they can remember, type and share correctly.
The right suffix
I bet you've been on a website with a snazzy suffix, like .dev, .group or .org. The suffix can be a significant part of the domain as it often sets the subject before you even visit the website. If you see a URL with .gov, you immediately begin to trust the website; likewise, if you see a .co.uk domain, you know that the business is targeting UK customers. I have a few general rules I advise my web design clients with:
- Are you a non-profit organisation? .org might be an excellent trust-building suffix.
- Are you educational? .edu might be perfect
- Do you want to appear modern and bleeding-edge? Using one of the newer suffixes like .dev, .group, .app and .jobs might be a great way to showcase that.
- Are you targeting a specific country? Go local with .co.uk, .au, .jp etc.
- Is the website for a global audience? .com might be the perfect fit!
Years ago, when I started as a freelance web designer, clients bought domains containing the keyword, such as christmastrees.co.uk (Follow Mark, he's a gem). It's become less popular but can remain very influential in ranking specific keywords. So you may want to rank for your primary keyword; let's say you are a hair salon and want to target one geo-specific area only; hairsalonlondon.co.uk might be perfect. The other more traditional approach is to use your brand name directly, as I've done with my name for this site. There is no right or wrong here; it just depends on your goals and what you want your website to do for you.
A personal opinion, but I would avoid hyphens. They create confusion and are another potential banana skin for users. Keep it simple by combining words, just like my site. Just be careful with the wording, as some unwanted mishaps may occur (looking at you, penisland.net - pen island, the best place to go to for all your pen needs). I would avoid hyphens.