With so much of your success reliant on the online world, you need to install the foundations of success from day one. These days a great domain name is online real estate. The domain name market is worth approximately $2 billion, which tells you all you need to know about how valuable owning a top level domain name is.
But it’s a highly competitive market. You might find your first choices are already taken. There are 123.78 million ‘.com’ domain names, so you need to get creative, whilst at the same time making sure that you don’t compromise your branding.
So how can you secure a winning domain name?
Make it Brandable
When registering a domain name you should consider making it brandable. That means it needs to be natural and should easily roll off the tongue. Nobody should have to think about spelling or grammar when typing in your website’s domain name. We can sum this up with a simple list:
Don’t use hyphens : You don’t say a hyphen in speech so you shouldn’t add it to your domain name.
It should be natural : Your domain name should be just like your company’s name.
Make it simple : The power of simplicity can be found everywhere. You’ll find that 64% of customers are willing to pay more for simpler brand experiences. Similar trends have been found when it comes to brand disruption and in the psychology of brands.
Finally, don’t attempt to use anything other than the name of your business when it comes to your domain name. It should resemble your brand name to prevent confusion among new customers.
Can You Pronounce It?
Pronunciation is another important point. You might think that it doesn’t matter because you type a domain name you don’t speak it. But this couldn’t be further than the truth. Think about how people remember things. They say them in their heads.
So, when someone is thinking about your company, they’re going to assume that your domain name is simply your brand name. And for all the big companies you know that’s the case.
If it isn’t these potential customers aren’t going to keep trying until they find your domain name. They’re going to give up, so make your domain name easily pronounceable.
Make it Short (just not too short)
You already have your work cut out for you. Remembering names of people and brands is notoriously difficult, and this is backed up by science. In the book Current Directions in Psychological Science, Danielle K. David and Lise Abrams note that, “The ability to learn and remember proper names, particularly people’s names, is notoriously more difficult relative to other types of words.”
The key to making a name memorable is to keep it short. But if it’s too short then the sounds and imagery that comes up can be easily confused with something else. Too long and people won’t remember it because the average person finds it tough to remember long sequences.
So how long should a name be? Try to make it between 10-15 characters. That’s memorable through sounding it out. Any longer and you risk confusion
On a side note, don’t abbreviate your name for any reason. People don’t remember abbreviations. Take for example Smith’s Cleaning. Their domain name should be smithscleaning.com not sclean.com.
Which of those two is more memorable?
Always Use .com Domain Names
When we mentioned that there are 123.78 million ‘.com’ domain names we didn’t mention how much you can expect to pay for these top-level domain names. The latest stats indicate that it’s common to spend $100,000 on one of these domain names.
Despite the evolution of domain suffixes like ‘.agency’ and ‘.biz’, the ‘.com’ type of domain name continues to reign supreme. If you can’t get this domain name you should choose a different name. You should also look to pick up some variations of your domain name, such as the ‘.net’ domain type to stop copycats from trying to steal your customers.
But what if it’s too hard to find a ‘.com’ domain name that works for you?
There’s no doubt that it’s trickier than ever to find that winning domain name. However, without securing the ‘.com’ variation you’re shooting yourself in the foot. Understand that ‘.com’ is synonymous with websites. Even if people remember your brand name they’re going to assume that ‘.com’ comes after it.
Don’t let a competitor get your business.
Make Sure It Doesn’t Violate UK Trademarks
Intellectual property is important. Infringing upon someone else’s trademark, even accidentally, can destroy your company before it ever gets off the ground. Statistics from the European Union reveal that the UK and Germany had the highest number of trademark applications in Europe. And domestically that trend has continued. Keep in mind that ignorance of trademark infringement is no defence.
Before you register a domain name, you need to check to make sure you’re not infringing. And that includes coming too close to someone else’s trademark. Thankfully, that doesn’t have to be costly or difficult.
The website of the UK Government allows you to search for a trademark via their vast database. Keywords, phrases, and images can be used to browse the database.
Add in your proposed domain name and see if anything comes up. You’ll soon know whether you need to go back to the drawing board.
But will anyone really notice?
This is a common response when people initially hear about trademark infringement. As a small business, the chances are nobody is going to notice. However, think about what happens if you gain any success. In most cases, you’ll be issued an order that forces you to change your business’s name and anything else that infringed upon the trademark.
In a worst-case scenario, you may be taken to court and sued for any profits you gained as a direct result of that trademark infringement. That can cripple your company and destroy your branding. Many businesses find it impossible to recover from that.
Make it Instantly Intuitive
Have you ever had to explain the name of your business? Do you need to inform people about what you do?
That’s a sign that your domain name isn’t doing its job. Your domain name should tell someone exactly what you do. And, to an extent, this goes all the way back to your company’s name. People should know from the first second what you do.
For example, let’s say that you’ve just opened a computer repair shop and you want to take it online. A good domain name would be abccomputerrepairs.com.
You may decide that you don’t want so many double letters in there, but this is a domain name that just works.
Should you ever just use a single brand name without explanation?
That depends on how you brand your company. Sometimes this can work and sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes combining your brand name with what your company does can make your domain name too long. You must make an informed decision based on your own company.
Use Keywords Sensibly
It was Brian Dean who revealed that there are over 200 SEO ranking factors Google uses. It can be a good idea to include keywords, but just because there are over 200 ranking factors doesn’t mean that you need to focus on all of them. In fact, it’s never been easier to be SEO-aware. Google has made lots of algorithm changes to reduce the technical importance of SEO.
So, should you include keywords in your domain name?
Yes, but you should do it sensibly. Don’t insert long-tail keywords in your domain name because then you’re compromising memorability and brandability.
Here’s an example to show how this works in action. A horse riding school decides to create a domain name. They know that ‘Get Your Horse Training in Utah’ is a long-tail keyword. But imagine how this would look in a domain name. The name getyourhorsetraininginutah.com is neither memorable nor particularly brandable.
Instead, they might want to look at horsetraining.com. They might also decide to use their brand name plus horsetraining.com in their domain name. This is a far better option and still good for SEO.
Don’t place all your focus on SEO. Try to compromise between SEO and how brandable your domain name is because you’re ultimately marketing to people not Google.
Last Word – It’s a Balancing Act
Picking a great domain name is a balancing act between marketing to people and focusing on SEO. These days your target market should be your priority, as opposed to Google. That doesn’t mean you should ignore SEO issues, but it does mean you need to change your strategy.
The days of long domain names stuffed with keywords are long gone. Follow these seven tips and you’ll have a solid domain name that adds to your business.
Do you have any additional tips for making sure you pick a great domain name for your business?
If you are looking at purchasing a domain name, Wizz Hosting could be the perfect partner for your venture. Not only do we provide quick and affordable domain name registration services, we provide affordable UK web hosting, VPS solutions and a whole host of other services that may be required further down the line.
If there is anything you would like to discuss with our team, we would be happy to hear from you, get in touch with us today.