The right domain name is the centerpiece of your online marketing strategy. Choosing correctly makes it easy for potential customers to find you. The wrong name makes it difficult and may even give your competition an edge.
Previously, we discussed domain name selection from an SEO perspective. However, it is even more important that your domain name works from a branding point of view. Of course, the perfect domain name will work well for both branding and SEO purposes. Your domain name sets the tone for your company image — for better or for worse!
Tips For Choosing the Right Domain Name for Your Brand
Consider the Whole Package
Have you already named your business or brand? If not, choose a name with an available matching domain. If you already named your business, that is all right. In that case, the right domain name is one that you can easily tie to your existing brand.
Your clients and customers will thank you! When your domain name coherently fits within your branding, it is easier to find your site and customers are more likely to refer colleagues and friends to your business.
When planning a domain to fit your brand, think about the whole package including:
- Your business name on the sign outside your business
- Your website domain
- Your logo
- Your social media account handles
- Any promotional items you may use
Some business owners target SEO keywords in their domain. That may be a good practice only if it flows naturally. Otherwise, it can appear spammy and may cause consumer distrust. The right domain name should convey your desired brand image and inspire trust.
Conduct Opposition Research
Before you settle on a name, be sure to check out the competition. Check variations of your potential domain name to ensure it isn't too similar to a direct competitor. Otherwise, you may accidentally refer business to the competition!
Try using a few channels in your research including:
- Google variations on your name trying different extensions like .com, .co, .biz, and any new Top Level Domain (TLD) extensions that may be popular in your industry.
- Search your local Secretary of State's business registry for similar business names in your area and their domains.
- Check for trademarks to ensure you are not violating intellectual property.
Some brands in highly competitive or online industry may even buy multiple versions of their chosen domain to ensure that a competitor doesn't steal their business or traffic. For example, they may purchase the .com, .co, .biz, and .net versions of the same domain. In addition, some brands take it even further and purchase common misspellings to their domain. Only you can judge whether these strategies are worthwhile for your brand.
Did you find the right domain name, only to find someone already owns it? If the owner is not actively using the URL, you may be able to purchase it for your own use. We previously shared tips on how to negotiate to purchase your desired domain.
Keep it Short and Memorable
Studies prove that short, memorable domains best reinforce a brand. According to Wharton professor, Dr. Karl Ulrich‘s research the best domain is seven characters or shorter (not including the extension). Once a domain reaches ten characters, it loses 7% of the potential customer traffic. That loss continues to grow a couple percentage points per character!
Words matter. Every word has an emotional meaning as well as the dictionary definition. Most brands thrive with positive, descriptive words included in their brand name and their domain. However, that depends on your audience. If your customers prefer a humorous or tongue in cheek name, that may work for you. Brainstorm words that reflect your brand and will appeal to your ideal customer. Positive connotations.
Next, consider how does your potential URL look in print? A catchy, reasonably short URL offers a professional look to your business cards, ads, and collateral materials. You may even discover better conversions from any print advertisements since people will remember and be able to type your URL.
Choose Something Easy on the Ears
Imagine that you met a potential customer or client at a party or at the gym. You don't have your business cards handy, so you tell her your website's URL. Will she remember it? Maybe! That is if you chose a short memorable name that ties in with your offline brand.
Equally important is that your domain name is easy to say and just as easy to spell. If this customer mistypes your domain, maybe she will end up visiting a competitor's website.
Practice talking about your website. The ideal name will be easy to say and also easy to remember. That way, you can casually mention your website to someone, he will be able to find it.
Finally, consider the growing prevalence of voice search. Will Siri or Alexa be able to understand and search for your name? Some brands opt for alternate spellings because a choice domain is not available. This strategy can cause problems if voice search leads your customers to another website.
Your domain name is an important aspect of your online brand, but it is not a full strategy. Contact us to learn how your online presence can bring you new business.