Picking a domain for your ecommerce store is one of the most important decisions you’ll make along the path of your business.
It’s the first contact a customer will have with your business: Your name.
When people start a business, especially online, some suggest you should get your store up as fast as possible, sacrificing the quality of branding and messaging.
It’s a common way of thinking: rush to put your store together, get sales, and worry about the ‘personality’ of your business later.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. Your branding should be the heart of your business. But getting those sales ARE important. So what should we do?
In this article, we’re going to help you understand what to think about and what to look for when choosing a Shopify domain name.
What’s in a Domain Name?
The biggest struggle you are going to have in picking a domain is availability. Needless to say, It’s good to take the time to research it.
There are two schools of thought in picking a domain name
When you go down the branding route. You are prioritizing uniqueness in your name. Maybe your name doesn’t have much to do with your business?
For example, what does the name ‘Amazon’ have to do with an online shopping experience? Or better yet, ‘Google’, a senseless word, is now in the dictionary for searching online!
On the other side of the coin, there’s the discoverability route. This is when you use keywords that best describe what you sell within the domain name itself.
Nine times out of ten, you’re going to be using a mix of both.
The objective: To create a brand name that separates you from the crowd but that also provides instant clarity and recall of what it is you sell.
Brainstorming Your Root Keyword List for Picking a Domain
Come up with 9-10 keywords that describe what your store sells. It may be more obvious for some stores than others. Think about categories as well.
Let’s say we want to sell outdoorsy/camping stuff. Maybe you only sell camping/outdoor knives but can easily see yourself expanding into other things like hiking boots or even camping equipment.
To stick with the example and come up with a few different root keyword ideas that make sense when standing on their own below:
- Outdoor Knives
- Camping Knife
- Trek Gear
We can replace the first and second words and they essentially all mean the same thing.
Although you may know what you sell, it’s important to find out what the heck people actually are looking for when they perform a search.
In the English language, we have a ton of words for the same thing. Different regions tend to use different words for the same thing. Make sure you’re aiming for the biggest opportunity.
Hopefully, you have done your keyword research and know what words have the most search volume. Ideally, you should do this while figuring out what you are trying to sell.
But for this example, using the keyword tool KWFinder, I find out the search volume surrounding certain keywords.
Update #2: Keywords Everywhere is no longer free, however, it does have one of the cheapest pay-as-you-go credit systems we’ve seen for keyword research.
With this research, I find that “hunting knife” has around 27,000 searches a month! While “camping knives” only gets around 4,500 searches a month. At this point, I’d be reconsidering my branding if I really wanted to focus on knives.
Instead, let’s look at some trends surrounding other keywords related to our idea.
‘Hiking boots’ has one of the highest search volumes. Along with tents. With these being almost double our single focus term… it seems reasonable to want to leave our domain open-ended.
Here we find that ads for ‘personalized pocket knives’ cost almost double than the rest of the keywords. Which means there is a market for this. However, we’re looking to get into a broad spectrum of camping products.
I go through my list of keyword results until I find a keyword that indicates a person is looking for camping items.
These are a few that pop out to me. We can see that the one with the highest PPC ad cost also has the lowest organic difficulty rating. This seems promising.
Adding Words for Availability
Like we said before, the hardest part of picking a domain name is finding one that isn’t already taken.
Having a list of words that make sense in the context of an e-commerce store is a huge help.
So that’s what we’re going to give you!
Domain Name Ideas for Picking a Domain
I love – i.e. lovefishing.com
i – igadgets
Topia – i.e.gadgetopia
It’s obvious you can’t just slap together an arrangement of words and call it good.
Here are some things to remember:
- Make it comprehensible
- Keep it short
- See one and two
So in our example, let’s add some words to ‘hiking gear’. Let’s try out a few things.
I like to use a tool called “Name Mesh”.
When you first put in your keywords, put an asterisk by each word. This “locks” these keywords so that Name Mesh won’t try to find replacements for them:
When I click generate, I’ll get several columns of all kinds of available keywords. I’m mainly looking for the one that says SEO:
These aren’t all the suggestions that the tool gave us by a long shot.
However, there wasn’t a whole lot there that matched with what I have on my list of words (which means they may be already taken!)
Let’s pick a word I like and see if I can find variants of it.
With sticking to being short, let’s see what happens when we try “best hiking gear”.
Turns out that BestHikingGear.com isn’t available. Which honestly isn’t a big surprise. That’s a pretty good domain.
However, I want to look at the “similar” column listed on the Name Mesh tool results:
Again, these aren’t all the results, but BetterHikingGear.com shows up. This includes one of our words that is considered comprehensive.
Let’s not stop there though, let’s try some suffix words. How about ‘mart’?
It looks like it is available!
But let’s see what else Name Mesh suggested for us:
It also lists Emporium. Which isn’t bad, it’s just long.
So if we were to go with HikingGearMart.com, that’s a pretty solid domain. It’s short AND it contains our main keywords.
But what are some other things to think about when picking a domain?
Well, backlinks and content are still the top two factors for Google’s organic ranking algorithm.
So, what if we could acquire a domain that already had backlinks once it expired? Such a thing is possible and is very useful if we plan carefully.
Expired Domains for Picking a Domain
It’s hard to say whether or not this strategy will be allowed by Google in the long term future, but for now, it does have its advantages.
What other issues should you keep in mind when picking a domain name?
Make sure that when you’re picking out a domain that another supplier/competitor/etc does not have the same name you do with a trademark. The possibility of a lengthy legal battle looming over your head is not something you want to contend with when starting out in your business.
A lot goes into picking a domain name. If you keep a balance of discoverability as well as presenting a unique brand, you’ll have a better chance of success with your Shopify store.
Give us a comment below on what your domain name is!