When it comes to remember anything, seven is the magic number.
Based on famous research by George A. Miller, we know that people can reliably remember about seven things at once, give or take two.
In the study, the research subjects could recall a set of five random words about 50% of the time.
You should use as few words as possible in your domain name. If you use more than five words, it will start to get hard to remember.
In general, the fewer words the better.
Use Simple Words
To build upon the first point, you also want the words themselves to be simple.
The five words memorized in the study were all monosyllabic (like cat, dog, or phone). Use monosyllabic words in place of more complex words whenever possible. A domain with more words may be easier than a shorter one if the words are simpler.
For instance, the domain name antidisestablishmentarianismvolcanologist.com is terribly hard to remember, while a name like learnhowtoblog.com might be easier to remember, despite having 100% more words.
Make it Novel
In Moonwalking with Einstein, by Joshua Foer, he explains that memory is more a practice of creativity than anything else.
We remember things that are novel. Things that stand out because they are different from what we normally experience.
For instance, I can never remember if I’ve taken my allergy medicine. It’s hard to recall because it’s so mundane, and my brain knows it. We don’t remember things that are mundane and unimportant.
On the other hand, when something is surprising and unique, we remember it quite easily.
For instance, you’ve probably seen thousands of trees. You strut past them without paying heed, but if you saw a golden tree, or a tree a hundred stories tall, or a tree that grew reverse into the ground, you’d never forget it.
Add an element of surprise in your name, and people won’t forget it.
When we experience strong emotions, we are more likely to remember those moments.
Every American can tell you where they were on 9/11, but most of us have no clue what we were doing on October 11, 2001. Or, any other October 11 since then, for that matter.
Obviously, you want your brand to be associated with positive emotions, and luckily, positive emotions do tend to be more memorable. The degree to which emotion affects our memories depends largely on how well our mood matches the emotion from the event.
Try adding terms that evoke strong emotions when read or said aloud. Use words that are uplifting, satisfying, or awe-inspiring to create a positive connection with your brand.
Attach to Existing Memories
One of the best ways to remember something new is to attach it to an old memory.
This is the basis of the memory palace technique or Method of Loci.
Briefly, the technique involves mentally navigating through a place you know well, putting the items you need to remember at different points in the space. For instance, you could easily remember a long string of random digits by mentally walking through your house, and placing large, physical numbers in different places.
What does this have to do with your domain name?
You can attach the name of your site to a memory people already have solidified. This can be as simple as adding a familiar term to the name of your domain, or hooking into an existing concept.
This will help people quickly identify with what your site is about and remember it.
Trim the fat
At this point, you’re probably well on your way to creating a memorable name, but I’ve got one last tip for you: trim the fat!
Take out any non-essential words in your domain name. Unnecessary words clutter the name and make it harder to remember.
For instance, remove any stop words like, “to, “of”, and “for”. People are likely to forget these terms and grow frustrated trying to recall your site’s domain name.
Generate a Large List with name generators
Now with your list of terms and potential names, it’s time to generate a larger list of potential names.
Why create a large list of potential names? Because the best way to find a good domain name is to come up with a lot of domain names.
Don’t worry about picking your favorite yet. Keep all potential candidates in your list.
With your list at hand, use the following tools to come up with many more potential name ideas:
- Impossibility – searches for random words to add with your seed term(s).
- Business Name Generator – adds additional random terms to your domain to find available names.
Check availability of desired name
Once you’ve got your final list of potential names, you can check to see which ones are available.
Namecheap has an availability checker right on the homepage, including a link to their bulk domain name checker. Use the bulk availability checker to narrow down your list to only those that are available.
Once you have your list of available domain names, you’ll want to check which ones still have their matching social profiles available.
Use namcheckr to quickly check the availability of your name across a wide variety of social sites.