Whether you’re working on a small family orientated business, or launching a blog and brand channel, in the age of the internet it’s essential to have a domain name if you want your business to provide the complete package. It’s also essential to consider all the relevant factors that go into a successful domain name and take each into account before making a decision and investing any money. Here are 8 simple rules you can follow when choosing a domain name.
1. Know your industry/subject and language
This could involve sitting down and brainstorming keywords, using a tool like google analytics or just reading up on the industry if you’re advising a client about a domain name purchase
2. Be different, but don’t lose out on mainstream opportunities
How can you be unique and ‘edgy’ but still have an offbeat and customised domain? Well you need to think about mis-spellings, variations, plurals and hyphens – for example. If you wanted to start a business called tradr.com – you’d probably at least think about buying trader.com, and maybe traders.com as well. On the flip side, if you know you can’t buy trader.com unless you have a few million lying idle in your bank account, then perhaps tradrs.com would deserve a rethink.
3. Know your branding requirements
If your brand is one where you’re after lots of type-in traffic, and one where you want people to recognise the business name anywhere, then owning the .com domain ending is a must, at least according to MOZ founder Rand Fishkin. “While directing traffic to a .net or .org (as SEOmoz does) is fine, owning and 301’ing [redirecting] the .com is critical,” he adds in his own blog post on this topic. Too many people still believe that .com domains are all that is out there, so it’s common that people assume that ending, according to him.
4. Let what’s available dictate name choice (if necessary)
Choosing a name based on what’s currently available in your price range is a perfectly respectable way to enter the market, and you can keep your eye on the premium domain you want for when it becomes available and you’re in a position to make an offer. Tie it to your branding, product or messaging.
5. Make it smooth and easy – to remember, to type and say
This point is closely aligned with (3) above, but it goes further. If you are looking to become a household name then your business and domain name should have universal appeal within your target market. The short and simple word OK, as an example, is a universally recognised symbol and everyone understands what it means too. Think along those lines, and avoid difficult to pronounce words unless you’ve got the marketing clout to put the correct message out there and drive it home to your target potential customers or clients. Having an acronym can also be relevant here.
6. Make it relevant
This one really goes without saying. For example credit.com, borrow.com and eat.com are pretty short and direct in their messaging, so hard to forget and not confusing – very useful attributes for any new business tool. Every word has meaning and power, so it helps to remember that and make the most impact with the least number of obstacles in the way.
7. Do your due diligence
Before committing to any domain name purchase, get a thorough understanding of the history of the domain. Use tools, examine existing backlinks and make sure you know how the domain was being used previously. Engage a consultant if you have any reason to be concerned, or are unsure. Copyright issues, the appropriate registration time and pitfalls you haven’t even considered yet should all be discussed.
8. Focus on the name, then the design
The domain name you choose will say so much about your business and what you have to offer, make it the number one priority and get a clear product message and branding strategy sorted before engaging any design consultants or developers.