How to pick the right domain name

How should you go about selecting the right domain name for your business?

Firstly, you need to find the free domain names available on the web. For this, you can take help of your web host. Some web hosting plans include a free domain name with their hosting plan.

So, once you know where to actually register a name, how do you pick the right one?

To help demonstrate some different selection methods I’ll use the ficticious example of P J Morris, a long established bookshop based in Ashford, Kent.*

In an ideal world where all possible domain names are available here are a few different ways of approaching it.

Firstly, you can just use the business name. Examples:

This works well if your brand is already known to your audience. People in the town who already know the shop would recognise it online and easily remember the domain name.

If you’re looking to build a brand or attract visitors who are not familiar with your business, the domain would need to be very simple and memorable.

Some websites use abstract names, which don’t actually describe what the site has to offer, but they are very easy to remember, easy to spell and very brandable. Some examples of this might be and

Another approach might be to use the business’s activity as the main focus. Examples:

(remember we’re assuming that everything’s available)

These two approaches can, of course, be combined to give the business’s name and its activity. Examples:

Finally, you can use the business location in the domain name, either with the business name, the business activity or both. Examples:

Using the business location may help match local searches but may also limit your business’s scope to local searchers.

In the real world, a new site for a book shop would have an enormous amount of competition so combining the name or activity with a geographical reference to successfully match more specific searches is probably a good strategy.

Some general tips:

  • It’s better to avoid using hyphens (-) if possible as people don’t remember them.
  • Try to keep domain names short. is easy to remember, talk about, give out over the phone and easy to include in any offline marketing, whereas, the other extreme,, becomes a bit of a mouthful and hard to use.

* Any resemblance to any real person or business of this name is purely coincidental.

Need a website? Confused about what you need? Read this.

Here are the real basics of starting a website in simple, jargon-free, easy to understand English.

Web ServicesHow a website works

A website is a collection of files (text, images, video, etc.) on a computer made available to the public. When someone visits a website files are copied to the visitor’s computer for them to view. Each web page needs a unique address so that people can find it.

What do you need?

To run a website you need three things:
1) someone to create the files for you,
2) somewhere to make them available and
3) a nice name to make it easy to find.

The process of creating these files is known as web development.
The service of making them available is known as web hosting.
The name for a site is known as the domain name.

These three elements are available as separate services from different suppliers or can often be bought together from one.

Web Development

You need the services of a web developer or web designer. In real terms when you’re searching for someone to prepare a site for you there’s not much difference between the two but a designer is possibly more concerned with the site’s appearance and style whereas a developer is more focused on how people use the site.

Web Hosting

To make your site available to the public you need it to be hosted. Web hosting companies have special computers designed for this purpose called web servers. In order to put your website onto the web server and make changes to it your web developer will need access to your hosting account.

Domain Names

To give your site a nice user-friendly name you need to register a domain name with a domain name registrar. There are lots of sites that offer this service including a lot of web developers or hosting companies. The domain needs to be set to point visitors to your hosting account. Instructions of how to do this are usually provided by the hosting company or a web developer will do this for you.