We recommend GoDaddy or Hostinger for researching and registering your chosen domain name. Get a free domain name when you sign up with Hostinger.
A domain sticks with you and represents your online identity. It pays to get your domain name right the first time, as you likely won’t change it in the future unless you want to go through an entire rebrand.
This guide is for ecommerce newcomers. You’ll learn the most useful methods for developing a strong domain name, the best practices to stick to, and the faux pas to avoid.
The 7 Best Domain Registrars for Choosing an Ecommerce Domain Name
Collectively we’ve purchased hundreds of domain names over the years. We used our experience and in-depth research to come up with the best domain registrars to help you choose a domain name. Take a look:
- GoDaddy — Best for domain protection and privacy
- Hostinger — Best for bundling domain registration and web hosting
- Porkbun — Best for creative domain extensions
- Domain.com — Best for fast and simple domain purchasing
- Network Solutions — Best for long-term domain registrations
- Namecheap — Best for affordable domain registration
- NameSilo — Best for buying domains in bulk
Choose an Ecommerce Domain Name in 10 Simple Steps
Choosing a domain name seems like a simple task on the surface, but you need to carefully consider choosing a name that reflects your brand and that customers appreciate. Here are our top tips, along with the dos and don’ts of choosing a domain name for your online store:
2. Align Your Domain Name with Your Branding
3. Think About the Meaning Behind Your Domain Name
4. Consider Using SEO Keywords
5. Come Up with Unique Domain Name Ideas
6. Use a Domain Name Generator if You’re Stuck
7. Opt for a Short and Simple Domain Name
9. Research Your Domain Name Across the Web
10. Come Up with Alternative Domain Names if Yours is Taken
Step 1: Sign Up for Hostinger
If you’re ready to get a domain name for your ecommerce store, we recommend you sign up for Hostinger. It has the best deal out there – you get a free domain name for a year when you sign up for hosting at just $2.59 per month.
Another good thing about Hostinger is you get a free SSL certificate for your domain. SSL makes your domain “https” rather than “http,” which is necessary to rank well on Google and keep your site secure.
You also get free privacy protection when you register a domain with Hostinger. It prevents internet users from looking up the details attached to your domain using the WHOIS database.
When you have a domain name in mind, go to Hostinger’s Domain Name Search to see if it’s available.
If the domain name is taken, Hostinger will show you other available options, such as .co or .store.
Step 2: Align Your Domain Name with Your Branding
Your domain name is synonymous with your brand. It’ll be at least part of your domain name, if not the whole thing. As such, it’s how people will recognize and remember your online store.
If you don’t already have a name for your ecommerce business, choose one that reflects your brand’s values, the atmosphere you hope to generate, or how you want to be seen online. That’s what good branding is all about.
To give you an example, “4ocean.com” is an ethical brand where customer purchases fund ocean clean-up initiatives.
The domain/store name makes complete sense, representing what the company does and what they stand for.
Another way to hint at your branding with your domain or company name is to choose an adjective that reflects what you’re all about. Happysocks.com is a great example–they sell quirky socks that make people happy.
Step 3: Think About the Meaning Behind Your Domain Name
Your domain name should have meaning. Tell a story with it and use it to represent what you stand for.
Plus, when there’s meaning behind your domain/online store name, you humanize your brand. Modern consumers care about this as they increasingly want to shop with more authentic, smaller brands than big corporations.
Peloton at onepeloton.com has a deep and interesting reason for its name.
The word “peloton” is a cycling term, which makes sense for a brand that sells exercise bikes. But there’s more to it–a peloton is a group of riders that work together in a race to reduce drag, save energy, and make winning more likely.
Thus, the name evokes ideas of using teamwork to succeed in a sport that is usually considered quite solitary.
Step 4: Consider Using SEO Keywords
You can use a keyword describing what you sell in your domain name. This signals to Google and users about the kind of store you operate. So, it helps get your web pages to rank higher on the search engine results pages.
Use just one keyword alongside your brand name. Otherwise, your domain name would look spammy and less like it’s for a credible company, e.g., “shoesandsneakers.com.”
You can use your niche as the keyword. For example, “herocosmetics.us” works well for this skincare brand.
Another option is to use the primary type of product you sell, as in “chubbiesshorts.com.”
Step 5: Come Up with Unique Domain Name Ideas
Your domain name should distinguish your brand from others in your niche. Unique domain names are memorable, and that’s the goal. You want customers to remember and visit your online store, after all.
One way to come up with a unique domain name is to opt for a portmanteau or made-up word. Adidas, for example, isn’t a real word; it’s a portmanteau of the founder’s name Adolf Dassler.
Or go for a play on words. One fantastic example of this is Lettucegrow.com, an online shop that sells seeds and accessories for growing your own vegetables:
Another way to generate a unique domain name is to use an acronym. ASOS, at asos.com, is actually short for “As Seen On Screen.” But most people don’t know this; they just think of ASOS as a distinct word.
Step 6: Use a Domain Name Generator if You’re Stuck
If you’re struggling to come up with a creative domain name idea, there are many domain name generators on the web. Most ask you to enter one or two keywords to generate a domain name and check its availability. But this isn’t particularly useful for coming up with a unique domain name idea.
Instead, go to NameStation. Enter the type of business you’re starting and create an account. Type in a list of preferred words and/or keywords, then hit Generate Names. The tool generates thousands of domain name ideas and separates them into handy lists.
First, there are the domain names that are the closest match to the words you entered. Then there’s a list that brings context into account. It combines your preferred words with keywords related to your business.
The hand-picked section generates the most unique, available domain names.
There are also lists with broad keyword matches, popular affixes, alliterations, one-word domains, and more.
Step 7: Opt for a Short and Simple Domain Name
Short, simple domain names are easier for customers to retain. Make your domain name too complex, and it’s harder for people to find you online.
Make sure your domain name is no longer than 15 characters. Also, it needs to be easy to spell and say out loud. You don’t want people to get frustrated and give up on trying to find your store.
Avoiding hyphens and numbers is also a good idea, as these just complicate the domain name. Note that no other special characters are allowed in a domain name.
Step 8: Search for Trademarks
When you have a domain or online store name in mind, you’ll need to research to ensure that other companies aren’t using it.
Naturally, you don’t want to be slapped with a fine for copyright infringement. But more than that, you need to establish a distinct brand of your own.
Check if the name is trademarked. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website has a trademark search tool.
If there’s a company selling the same kinds of products as you with the same or a similar name, head back to the drawing board. Your name is likely fine if there’s a trademark for a similar name, but they sell something different, e.g., you’re “Unicorn Stationery,” and they’re “Unicorn Coffee”.
Step 9: Research Your Domain Name Across the Web
Search Google for brands that may have a similar name to yours. Even if it’s not trademarked, the online store may still exist. Your online store must stand out among the crowd.
If the domain or store name is indeed taken, that’s not good for your business. Imagine doing a ton of promotion for your product and store, only for the customer to go ahead and buy from a competitor with a similar name.
If you’re sure you have a unique domain/brand name, check the domain’s availability with Hostinger’s Domain Name Search tool.
It’s also a good idea at this point to see if your brand name is available on social media channels. If not, you can always add a word or phrase such as “store” or “official” to your username.
Remember, this should be consistent across channels, i.e., if you have @unicornstore on Instagram, you should ideally have @unicornstore on TikTok, and so on. This ensures users can find you easily across all channels.
Step 10: Come Up with Alternative Domain Names if Yours is Taken
If your chosen domain name isn’t available, we recommend you develop a new name. You must set yourself apart from other companies.
However, if you’re dead set on your chosen brand name, there are a few things you can do. First, combine your brand name with an SEO keyword as in “brand” + “keyword” + “.com,” e.g., this made-up web address, “terraformplants.com.”
Alternatively, add a phrase or word before your brand name, such as “wear,” “this is,” “I love,” “official,” and so on. Take the brand Lively’s domain name “wearlively.com,” for instance.
Another option is to choose a different top-level domain (TLD), i.e., .store, .net, .co and so on. However, this isn’t ideal, as .com is the most credible TLD you can acquire.
Final Thoughts About Choosing a Domain Name
Your domain name represents your identity on the web. It must reflect your branding and distinguish your ecommerce store from others. The best domain names are simple, unique, and memorable.
You may choose to come up with a domain name that’s meaningful for your brand and reflects your values. Or perhaps you’ll add an SEO keyword to make what you sell even more explicit and contribute to a higher ranking on the search engines. Be sure to check that your domain is available to avoid copyright issues and ensure you have a clearly defined online presence.