Choose a new domain name Best Practices

Choosing a new domain name

First things first. When entering the realm of digital marketing, you need a website so people can learn about you and your mission, and that website needs an address. When selecting a domain, there are a few loose rules to abide by, and a couple of things to consider that are specific to charities and nonprofits trying to spread their messages.

Be unique

The first rule may be totally obvious, but your domain name must be unique. That means you need to make sure nobody else has already registered this domain. If it’s already taken, even if there is no website at that address, brainstorm another domain name. Procuring a taken name can be time consuming, and usually very expensive. There are a number of domain look-ups available on the internet. Just enter your desired domain name and find out if it is available.

Avoid approximating your desired URL through tricky or clever means. For instance, instead of charity.org, don’t register charlty.org (with a lowercase ‘L’). That can be confusing to your audience, and may be seen as spammy or untrustworthy.

Stay focused

Second, make sure your domain name accurately describes your organization or mission. It should do so easily without lots of explanation needed. If you have to add “but with two S’s instead of one, and a dash between the first and second word” then it’s not a great domain name. In general, domain names should be all one word, without dashes, and be as short as possible. For example, a charity named Project Inspire should register projectinspire.org. That is easy for others to link to, or share over the phone without a lot of explanation.

Get creative

Last, consider the top level domain (TLD) name. This might be .com, .org … or even .ninja. In general, reserve .com for commercial businesses. For nonprofits, the better designation is .org, as originally intended. Other TLDs like .edu, .gov, or .mil carry firm restrictions. But there are a whole host of new TLDs to choose from, so if it makes perfect sense for your organization you can explore these, or use them to get around the preferred .org being taken. Take an organization called Kids Camp. They could snag kids.camp as their domain. Just prepare to add to the end of every conversation, “Nope, just kids DOT camp, that’s the whole address, no .com on the end.”

In the end, don’t agonize too long over the perfect domain name. It is just one piece of a larger tapestry of digital marketing strategies and even a poor domain name can make it to page 1 of organic results with the right mix of tactics. Need help choosing or registering a new domain? Contact us today!