A domain is not just something to connect to your website and forget it. You’ll have to say it, write it, print it, and link it everywhere you go.
It’s important to think about all the ways you’ll be sharing your domain. Here are a few ways you may or may not be sharing your domain name and how to pick a domain that works for everything:
Your domain name will be your website’s address and the part of your email address after the @, but you’ll also put it on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media, in your profiles, and in images.
If you plan to have a website, a Facebook page, and a Twitter account, check to see if these pages or handles already exist for your name. A Facebook username has to be 50 characters or less and a Twitter handle needs to be 15 characters or less. Make sure you pick a name that’s small enough to fit into both.
If you want your domain name to work as a Twitter handle and a Facebook username, keep it short, not just so you can fit the character limit, but so if you ever take out a Facebook ad, your name fits in one line. And so people don’t have to look up your exact handle to remember it when they @ you on Twitter.
You’ll also want your domain name to be readable if you make an image to share online and want to watermark it as yours. But it should also be distinct enough to stand out.
If your domain name isn’t going to be a dictionary word, type it into a word processor and into a text and make sure it doesn’t autocorrect to something else when you type it.
2. In print
You might have to share your domain in print. The most obvious would be on business cards or résumés, but consider also that you might print it on posters or billboards, t-shirts or promotional swag, or presentation boards or pins. You might get a mention in a magazine or a newspaper or you could find yourself printing brochures or stickers.
In all of these situations, remember that people won’t necessarily be at their computers or be able to or won’t want to dig their phones out of their pockets or purses when they see your domain name. That means you need to pick a domain that’s memorable. That also means it will have to be meaningful and immediately understood. Don’t use acronyms that mean nothing to the average person. And don’t use filler words.
You’re also going to have to say your domain. A lot. You’ll have to tell it to your friends in a crowded bar, announce it in meetings, and say it over the phone with bad reception. Other people might read it out loud too.
When picking a domain that will be spoken outloud, avoid weird spellings or difficult-to-pronounce words. You don’t want to have to always be spelling out your domain name to people, or have people mispronouncing it when they see it. Say it outloud at least once to yourself. And it’s probably best to try it on a friend: if they can’t spell it from the way you say it, that’s a problem.
Finally, think about handwriting your domain. You might have to write it on forms of course, but you could be writing it on a napkin, scrawling it on the wall in a bathroom stall, or painting it on a wall (with permission of course). Make sure that when your domain is written, even somewhat illegibly, it won’t look too much like something it isn’t.
T’s and F’s can sometimes look similar. So can C’s and G’s. V’s and U’s can too. The best way to avoid the pitfalls of letters that look similar to one another is to write out your domain name on a piece of paper first and pay attention to these letters. Could one of them easily be mistaken for another? Even with computers and smartphones everywhere, you’ll have to write out your domain name eventually, so make it one that’s legible.
No matter how you end up sharing it in the end, when you go to register a domain, think about how you’ll share it and how it will be shared. You’ll probably share it online, print it out, say it, and write it. Pick a short, memorable domain name, that’s spelled how it’s said, and is legible no matter how sloppy you might write it. That way you can be sure to so register a domain you can share a million times.