You are ready to build your own website but stuck on what name to pick? You are in the right place. In this article, I will walk you through 7 things you need to consider now when choosing the best domain name in South Africa.
But why is this important? Why should you pay attention?
Well, for starters, a domain name is a permanent thing.
What do I mean?
Once you’ve picked and successfully registered a domain, there won’t be another chance to change it. Yes, you will be stuck with it for the entire time, of course, you can stop renewing it, but that’s something.
As such, it matters to be attentive from the start so that you don’t end up with a disaster down the line.
I can’t tell you how many people end up registering a new website name months after starting a website. And you can’t blame them.
Blame haste and excitement.
But with these tips, you should be able to be objective and intentional as far as picking the best domain name in South Africa.
What is a domain name?
For the new beginners, you might be wondering what a domain is.
Well, this can be explained in a couple of ways. But I will take the easy route. You see the website you are about to build, it will have files – think images, articles, videos, audio, etc.
All these files need a place to live – a home.
That home is a server, a special computer dedicated to housing website files, and serves the users whenever they request.
So there are two things here:
The server and the user (a web visitor). One is a human and the other is a machine, but they must communicate.
To make this possible, the server assigns the website an IP address, I’m sure you’ve seen a string of numbers like 193.234.456. That’s an IP address. But there is one problem.
Would you be able to remember all the IP addresses of your favorite websites? I bet not. And that is where the domain name comes in. Its purpose is to mask the IP address, by making it ‘human friendly’ – think easy to remember and read.
You didn’t need all that though but thought you should know. It’s cool stuff.
Moving on, a domain is a web address people use to access your website.
Importance of picking the best domain name in South Africa
I mentioned earlier that you shouldn’t rush things when it comes to choosing the best website name, reason being, it is kind of harder to change things down the line.
Other reasons include:
- It is the first thing people see when they visit your website. Ever heard of first impressions matters? Well, it applies to web hosting too. You should aim to leave a positive impression on whoever visits your website. A bad name can send users running never to look back
- A good website name can help boost SEO efforts. For example, having the target keyword on your domain name contribute positively to your ranking efforts.
- Whatever name you decide on boils down to how much it contributes to brand recognition.
While these are not the only ones, they comprise of the reasons why you should always go for the best domain name in South Africa.
Tips to consider when choosing a website name
- Decide on the right domain extension
A domain extension is that last part of any domain name.
- Domain (website) name
- Domain extension
There are several domain extensions, but the best and most popular ones include
- .com – a popular extension powering at least 43% of the internet
- .co.za – this is a ccTLD (country code top-level domain) reserved for South Africa only
- .org – popular with non-profit organizations. Though open to anyone, it is rare to find businesses using it
You should pick an extension from this list. Anything outside here needs much thought.
- Brandable over generic names
Tell me something, which of these websites would you recognize as a brand?
The second one, right?
Because it is not generic.
Take a look at the first one, HealthInsurance.net. It is a branch from Insurance.com, and there are a thousand of them. They don’t carry any meaning.
It’s easy to find people talking about how much they like Nike.com or CocaCola.com. I can’t say the same for HealthInsurance.net and others like it.
Having said, you may now be confused, what is the difference between the two?
A brandable name is unique and stands out from the rest. On the flip side, the generic website name is hard to remember and often keyword-stuffed. Consider that before the domain registration process.
- The shorter, the better
Among the best domain names in South Africa, three-quarters of them are short (12 characters long). This is not a coincidence.
Short names are better than longer ones, here is why.
They are easy to remember and always stand out from the noise. Here is a little experiment, think of any website name. Now, look at the length of the name, was it long or short?
I bet it is short.
Pick a name, not more than 6-14 characters.
- Should be easy to type
Facebook, Twitter, Truehost, CNN, Afrihost, etc.
What do they all have in common?
If you answered easy to type, you are correct.
A website name should be easy for the user to type, or you will lose them to rival websites.
As such, on your conquest to picking the best domain name in South Africa, stop and ask yourself, is it easy to type? Do this, find three people, and ask them to write down the name. Compare the results. If even one of them had a challenge, that should be a sign to pick another name.
- Avoid the use of dashes and numbers
You see things like Domain-name.com and DomainName2020.com shouldn’t be on your list.
They are hard to remember and very confusing. And that is the quickest way of losing users to other websites.
For example, if your website has a hyphen and a user type one without it, they either get an error or end up somewhere else. In both instances, you lose.
Save yourself headaches and stick to the alphabet.
- Consider using a keyword on the name to reflect your niche
Look at our name, Truehost. We are a web hosting company, and that explains the ‘host’ in there.
You should do the same. Look at the industry you wish to enter and find a way to incorporate that into the name.
But be warned.
If you overdo it, you risk ending up with a generic name as we had mentioned earlier. So tread carefully.
- Think about the future
This is the main reason people end up creating a new website – they ended up doing more than they first intended.
Let me explain.
Say you want to start selling mobile phones now, so you build a website and named it mobilephones.com. But as the years pass, you realize that you want to expand and stock other electronics, but your website reads you only sell phones.
In such cases, the only thing you can do is create a new website.
How can you avoid this now?
Ask yourself this, is there any chance you could expand in the future? If yes, what can you do now to make sure that future changes will be within the current choices?
The best domain name in South Africa is the one that does not pin you down but allows room for more in the future.