By Sean Lockwood
Just like selecting a business name, your domain name requires a lot of thought and consideration. Yet, some people overlook that a domain name is the digital cornerstone of your branding strategy. It enables you to have a head start in the cyber realm and outpace the competition. After all, a domain name sticks with you over a long haul and influences your online branding and marketing efforts. You have a chance to take the game to the next level and enhance the value of your website.
Doing the spadework
You may want to register your name right away before someone else beats you to it. This is an understandable impulse, but rushing things does more harm than good. There is a variety of factors that makes or breaks domain names. You need to take them all into account, do the research, and make an informed decision in the end.
First off, steer away from copyright issues and trademark infringement. You do not want other companies to take legal actions against you. Besides, getting confused with other brands is something that usually stirs marketing problems. Therefore, do your homework. You can obtain domain lists from Domains Index and scope out what others are doing.
Furthermore, you have to ensure that the name is brandable. You might have heard this a lot, but what does it mean exactly? Well, the name should sound like a brand and reflect your values, mission, and offerings. Companies like Google and Yahoo prove that it is better to be a bit of an oddball than plain and generic. So, try to be catchy, yet professional at the same time.
You need to give everyone a clear idea of what the website is about. It really helps if the name is intuitive because it spears users the annoying guesswork and makes a good first impression right away. This is not to say you have to include keywords. In fact, Google has been biasing away from exact match domains, although the anchor text from links still brings benefits.
Nice and easy
Bear in mind that a solid brand name is always easy to pronounce. The reasons for this are rooted in the workings of our brain: Due to processing fluency, a cognitive bias that triggers positive associations, this quality affects how easily people will remember your name, as well as its appeal. Of course, the memorability depends not only on human psychology, but also your language and region.
Processing fluency also makes shorter domain names preferable. Namely, the bulk of top domains have a relatively short domain name. Such names do not need to be further shortened in order to be easily mentioned in conversations, shared, and typed. The fewer characters, the better it is for you. You also want to avoid hyphens, numbers, and other elements that could be misunderstood.
Another key decision is choosing an appropriate extension, the suffix for your domain. There are a few different types of domains, including generic top-level domains (gTLD), country top level domains (cTLD), and new top-level domains (.photography, .guru…). They have their pros and cons and for better or worse, .com is still the most recognized TLD.
A lot of brands are competing for names with this suffix, so you better be prepared to snatch the one you deem valuable. Then again, with the proliferation of new domain names, you have an opportunity to secure a relevant and short name for yourself. Opt for .net or .co domains that are also highly brandable. Depending on your business sector, you could go for .me, .org, .biz, .info, etc.
Finally, to overcome the shortage of quality domain names or come up with a unique one, you can engage in domain name hacking. It involves using domain extensions (mostly from cTLD) as a part of a phrase. There are many great examples like Search.me, Designm.ag, Last.fm, Beat.it, etc. So, get your creative juices flowing and make good use of hacking tools like Xona.
Name of the game
Domain names are the crux of your website’s existence. There are millions of registered names, so how do you stand out amidst all this noise and saturation? Well, pick a name that will resonate most with the web audience. Keep it short and brandable and let it echo your mission and values. Pay attention to the ease of understanding and other qualities. You should be able to lay the foundations for stellar branding and spread the word far and wide.
Sean Lockwood is an IT expert with years of experience. He covers all aspects of IT like programming, photoshopping and other effects. He has spent some time in the field of security and is still helping other companies with the same. In his free time, he loves to enjoy extreme sports and his two German Shepherds.