Choosing a domain name is an essential part of starting a successful SaaS business. It is something you should start thinking about while you are validating your brand positioning, identity, and vision.
The strongest SaaS domain names are memorable, simple, consistent with the company’s market position, and aligned with trademark rights.
This article outlines 10 essential steps to choosing the perfect domain name for your SaaS business, using our domain name as a case study, and explaining why we decided to pay $75,000 for it.
The internet has become flooded with new businesses and finding a domain name that checks all the boxes is very difficult. Even if you can’t land a perfect domain name, this guide will give you the framework you need to choose a great one.
When selecting a domain name, always keep your company’s vision at the top of your mind.
Additionally, you should consider search engines, trademark infringement, domain history, and domain extensions, among others.
Commit adequate time and effort to domain research, name selection, and registration. A well-thought-out domain immediately reflects your SaaS’s purpose to potential audiences or customers.
Write down your key company’s unique attributes and think about the things that will make your SaaS immediately recognizable. This process takes time.
Our thought process:
Our team spent weeks discussing our position in the market while developing a nameless product. We used April Dunford’s brand positioning framework to identify our unique value in the first months of development.
This made it a lot easier to choose a name for our SaaS. For every name that we had in mind, we would also perform a quick domain search.
Touchpoint felt like a great choice for our domain name because:
Choosing between brandable and keyword-rich domain names depends on what works best for your SaaS brand.
Brandable domains are about creating a unique identity without any descriptive meanings in the domain name. Alternatively, a keyword-rich domain gives you an identity based on your services.
Microsoft, Zoho, and Xero are SaaS companies with brandable domains, while Webflow immediately gives searchers an idea of their web-based services. Helpdesk is another example of a keyword-rich name that describes an essential support capability and doubles as the brand’s name.
Do you need keywords in your domain name? Probably not. But they help, especially if your business is new. Ideally, you should find a brandable name that also has search intent.
Our thought process:
Touchpoint is a medium-volume keyword that has high intent for the service we are offering. Choosing the touchpoint.com domain enabled us to secure the top SERP position. Search engines give priority in SERPs to brand names.
Successful SaaS companies swear by the KISS principle (keep it simple, stupid). Short, memorable domain names are much better than long ones, which are off-putting and usually misspelled.
Major SaaS companies, such as Slack, Snapchat, and Zoom, have rightly mastered the art of choosing domain names that are straight to the point. Avoid lengthy words, hyphens, numbers, and complex acronyms. Ideally, your domain name should be between 6-10 characters long.
While americanbroadcastingcompany.com effectively conveys the idea of the website, it is too long. On the other hand, abc.com is short and simple. Touchpoint.com is also short, punchy, and contains ten characters.
Identify and research three to five of your most important competitors. Analyze their websites with tools like Ahrefs or SemRush to evaluate their organic visibility and brand strength.
Answering these questions should give you some ideas for domain names and a better understanding of your potential share of voice within the space.
Generic names can be used to describe many different things at the same time. As a result, you should have a unique domain name to help your audience find you and not confuse you with another company.
Avoid simple domain names that could result in an endless number of results on a search page.
Top-level domains are standard domain name extensions that appear after the name of your website. Some popular TLDs include .com, .net, and .org.
There are no hard and fast rules for choosing a TLD. In general, businesses with a global presence prefer a .com TLD.
If you are planning to target geo-specific audiences, you might want to opt for ccTLDs (country code top-level domains) like .uk, .us, etc.
TLDs such as .io, .tech, and .app are also popular for SaaS companies. Lastly, more and more companies are coming up with ingenious implementations of TLDs to add more meaning to their brand names.
Here are a few examples:
To prevent competitors from acquiring the TLDs for your SaaS brand, we strongly recommend buying all important TLDs and redirecting them to your main domain. Web and hosting service providers generally offer bundled deals for multiple TLDs:
Pro tip: If you want to avoid checking domain registrars on your Mac, you can run quick “whois” checkups directly from your Terminal using the “whois domainname.tld” command. For Windows, we recommend the command prompt for quick whois searches.
When choosing your domain name, you want to avoid accidentally infringing on a trademarked name. Ideally, you should think about filing a trademark application for your domain and brand name.
Before you purchase a domain name, perform a search of all applied-for and registered trademarks through the TESS (Trademark Electronic Search System).
If you find that your name of choice is already taken, you should consult with a lawyer about the possibility of trademarking your name. This might be possible if both trademark owners operate in completely unrelated industries.
It might surprise you when you find that your SaaS custom domain has been taken. Ours was! 😊
Query domain registrars to determine whether or not the domain is available. If it isn’t, you can type the domain address directly into your browser and check whether it’s for sale.
Many businesses buy and resell great domain names. If you’re buying a domain, make sure you are using a trusted broker service. Most high-quality domains have reputable brokers.
People will avoid associating themselves with a company that has a bad history. Always perform a background check before purchasing a domain. Here is a quick list of points to check:
We used these tools to analyze 25 years of history for the touchpoint domain before purchasing it and ensured that there were no toxic backlinks, questionable site owners, etc.
If you want the perfect name for your SaaS business, you should also consider subdomains—the short extensions that usually appear before a domain name.
For example, we use freetools.textmagic.com for free tools, support.textmagic.com for support articles, and api.textmagic.com for our documentation, among other subdomains on our website.
Creating brandable subdomains to help you organize your content is quite simple. Subdomains act like entirely different sites, so you have a lot of freedom to test different landing page designs and content formats.
Most importantly, you can track user behavior across all your subdomains and set up unique goals for each of them.
The simple answer is that touchpoint.com ticked all the boxes for us.
After researching everything about it and refining our brand positioning, we had a better sense of the domain’s value. This helped us plan for the decision and budget better.
Great domain names are generally expensive, especially if they contain recognizable phrases. Follow our domain name checklist, and perform due diligence to ensure that the one you settle on is worth the asking price.
Still struggling to find great domain name ideas for your SaaS? The following name generators create suggestions based on the keywords you input:
Even if you choose a name using one of the tools above, it’s a good idea to reflect on it and ensure it makes sense for your business.
When you consider all the possibilities, choosing a domain name for your brand can appear to be a daunting task. However, following the guidelines above will put you on the right path to choosing a great, if not perfect, name!
Marketing manager for TextMagic. I like figuring out how things work. Passionate about fitness and video games.
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