In many ways, your portfolio website is all about making a strong first impression. Before anyone makes it onto your website, however, they’ll first need to see a domain name that they want to click or type into their address bar. That’s why it’s so important to make sure that you choose the best domain name possible right from the start to help send the most visitors.
Whether you’re about to build your site or are looking for a new domain name to try, consider the tips below to find the perfect available domain name for your professional website.
1. Make it easy to spell
If your name is easy to spell then by all means use it as a domain name — but what do you do if your personal name has awkward spelling? You shouldn’t spell your name differently for your domain, but those with especially tricky names should consider other name options (see next point).
2. Consider creating a brand/company name
Many professionals (especially consultants or freelancers) create a brand name for their work to live under. A brand name will typically do a better job of communicating what type of work you do than just your name will. Others may also take your work more seriously if it is from a company rather than an individual, even if you’re the company’s sole employee.
3. Keep it short
Technically your domain name can be up to 63 characters, but that doesn’t mean that it should. On the Internet, an extra 3-4 seconds spent typing in a URL can seem like an eternity. A shorter domain name is also easier to read and remember, both of which are crucial factors towards driving people to your website.
4. Avoid dashes and numbers
Numbers can make spelling your domain name confusing. Things like using a 4 instead of for or 2instead of to will create more opportunities for your domain to be spelled incorrectly. As for dashes, although they are more straightforward than numbers, they too create an additional thing that needs to be remembered about your domain. Plus, any time your domain name is said out loud, people will hear Your Dash Name instead of Your Name, which isn’t ideal.
5. Choose a relevant top-level domain
Depending on what your business name is, it might not be obvious what kind of work you do. This is especially the case if your domain is your personal name. Although .com is the obvious top-level domain to try first, consider one of the other 400+ top-level domains that are available to choose from. With choices from .design, .photography and .consulting to .wtf, .horse and .pizza, there’s bound to be a TLD that works for your website. As an added bonus, the chances are much higher of finding an available domain name when using a newer domain extension.
6. Check for unexpected words
Placing two or more words together with no spaces can sometimes result in unforeseen words being spelled. For example, IT Scrap is a perfectly fine name for a technology recycling company, but itscrap.com spells something entirely different. Remember, your domain name lives on the Internet, which is notorious for pointing out inappropriate mistakes like these.
7. How will it look as an email address?
A portfolio website is all about looking professional, and having a you@yourdomain domain email address is a natural part of that experience. If you consider your email address to be more important than your website, then this is especially the case for you. For instance, an events planner named Heidi Saunders could set up a firstname.lastname@example.org email address.
8. Pick a good domain name registrar
We’re naturally a little biased here, but whether you choose Hover or another domain name registration service, make sure you pick somewhere that will allow you to do whatever you need to with your domain. Some important things watch out for are:
- Inexpensive or free WHOIS privacy.
- A great support team to help if things go wrong.
- The domain is not tied to a hosting package or website builder, so you are able to point your domain to whichever service you prefer (and change services in the future).