How to Choose a Domain Name with Purpose

Maybe you have listed twenty or more domain name ideas and none of them feel right. After much thought you picked a domain you loved, told someone and they just didn’t get it.

No matter which name you settle on you question yourself about the decision.  Should I lead with a keyword, my name, or go for something artistic?

The more you think about it, the more difficult the decision becomes. Ahhhh. You need help.

No problem, we’ve got your back.  Today we are going to share with you some top tips on how to choose a domain name with purpose.

The first step is reframing the question; What Should My Domain Name Be? To

What Should My Brand Name Be?  Because that’s the real question.

When you approach domain naming from this perspective it becomes more about marketing and branding. If that sounds even more scary to you, don’t worry.  It’s not scary when you break down the options into chunks which help you make the decision.

There are three primary ways you can go about naming your domain, let’s cover those now.

  1. Personal Branding

Basically this is your name.

Examples: |

Both of these entrepreneurs have lead with their name as their domain name.

Choose this option if your business needs to be about your expertise and experience. Leading with your name gives trust & credibility & celebrity like status. Oh la la.

Before you decide though – make sure…

You name easy to spell!!  If your friend can’t spell it your clients won’t be able to spell it either.

  1. Descriptive Brand Name

The descriptive name gives users an idea what your website is about without visiting your site.  There is also some SEO benefit to this, but don’t choose your domain name based solely on SEO.  We are approaching this from a marketing / branding point of view.  Ultimately Google ranks quality brands and quality content.

Examples:  |   |

All of these companies have used a keyword or keyword phrase in their domain name so that their clients know what they are about without having to visit the site.

  1. Non Descriptive Brand Name

This is a brand name which isn’t related to what you do as a company but does give some information as to the kind of brand you are.

Example: Apple

Apple, this has no context to technology but it does represent the kind of brand tone the company wanted to set.  When you think of an apple you think clean, crisp, fresh maybe a little bit tangy and zingy.  These are all words that Apple wants to be associated with.

Something else which they did is use a natural word, totally different to what you would expect from a technology company.  And, when you hear about Steve Jobs, hippy, nature loving and rebellious background, it becomes all the more genius a decision.

If you go for this be careful.  Make sure that the word is easy to remember & be prepared to do a lot of branding work to make sure that it becomes associated with the context of what your company does.

What Else To Think About When Choosing A Domain

So, now we’ve covered the 3 basic ways you can go about naming your domain, we hope you have a good overview.  What else do you need to know?

Well, aside from the structure you also need to make sure you stick to some basic principles.  These are pretty common sense, but you’d be surprised how many business owners don’t follow them.

Do Make Your Domain Name

  • Easy To Remember
  • Easy To Spell
  • Easy To Say
  • Look Good On A Logo & Marketing Material

Don’t Put The Following In Your Domain

  • Numbers
  • Hyphenation
  • Any weird symbols
  • Punctuation

So now you have some idea about how to craft the first part of your domain name, you need decide what you’ll end it with.  You’ll need to decide which domain name extension your brand will sit under.

The extension provides the user with more information about what your company does & depends on what type of business you are.  If you are a commercial business like Amazon it will be .com.   If you are a non-profit like greenpeace it will be .org.

You can also choose your extension according to language.  If you are in the UK you might choose for example.

Let’s take a look at the primary domain name extensions and what they mean.

Domain Name Extensions

  • .com – Commercial
  • .net – Network – internet service providers
  • .edu – Education – Universities / Colleges
  • .org – organisations – non-profit / trade associations
  • .gov – government – not publically available
  • .biz – business – small business
  • .info – information – most popular after .com
  • .us – American
  • / .de / .fr – English, German, French

Top Tip: Most SEO’s say that .com. .net & .org rank the best in search, but this is up for debate.

Still Finding It Difficult To Pick A Domain?

So far we have covered a lot of practical advice.  This will help you pick your domain with purpose, something that will represent your brand in the best light.  But, there is still something missing.

And that’s the creative process.

At the end of the day this domain is going to represent your business, you need to be emotionally and creatively attached to it.   And for that there is a process.

Start with a blank sheet of paper or desktop notepad and just write everything that comes to your mind.   If you have trouble, kick off your brainstorming session with a thesaurus.

Get as many ideas down as possible without worrying about what comes out.  Push yourself to come up with over fifty names. Top companies like Freeparking will allow you register just about any name. You only need to have a look here at

Once you get there, go through the list and apply some logic.  Cross off anything which doesn’t fit with the style or tone of your brand.

When you have your short list you can go to a couple of online tools and do some further searching. is fantastic for showing you what’s available & will help you come up with even more ideas.

Above all remember, this is a creative process which will take time and that’s fine.