The 7 habits of highly effective domain names

During the inaugural days of the Internet, when a new business wanted an online presence it had the luxury of registering a domain name that was just the brand name with no further branding to it. For instance, Intel chose intel.com and HP got hp.com. Those were the good old days, but alas, things have changed since then. And drastically so.

With technology branding too has evolved significantly. Now when you are building an online presence, every aspect of it, even your domain name, provides an opportunity to strengthen your brand. What was once considered an expense is now an investment.

Often companies assign the responsibility to buying domain names to the IT department. What they fail to see is the strategic importance of their company’s web address, which makes buying domain names the Marketing Department’s job instead.

What is the strategic importance of domain names for your business?

It’s worth acknowledging that one of the most important aspects of a website’s success is its domain name. Designing your website’s structure, the colors, fonts, and its overall web presence — all comes second to choosing a winning domain name.

Consider these aspects that a domain name shadows:

i) Brand Positioning

ii) Marketing Touchpoints

iii) First Impression

What are the common mistakes entrepreneurs make when choosing a domain name?

In fact, two of the most common mistakes entrepreneurs makes when choosing a domain name include:

1. Compromising on the desired name

Your domain name has a huge impact on almost every marketing activity you do, and it affects the performance of your overall digital strategy. So, it is crucial to be perceptual and pick something that appreciates your efforts.

For example, Stronger.tech, a tech startup that works towards making your company’s IT structure stronger.

2. Lack of innovation in choosing the domain name

As an entrepreneur, it helps to look at all the features of your business and think of innovative ways in which each of those can help achieve your objectives.

What makes a domain name effective as a branding strategy?

1. Get a relevant domain extension

While these were the most commonly used domain extensions, they are a fraction of the options that are available now. To make domain names more brandable and memorable, hundreds of new domain extensions have been made available to fulfill specific purposes. Today there is .TECH for technology, .FUN for fun and entertainment, .PRESS for news and journalism and .STORE for retail and eCommerce stores. Some examples of these include:

  • Viacom.tech
  • Emirates.store
  • Freedom.press

The availability of these new domain extensions has opened a remarkable opportunity for new-age start-ups and businesses to choose a domain name that contributes towards building a strong online brand.

2. Make it keyword rich or industry relevant

For instance, let’s look at Emirates. The airline company based out of UAE has two websites:

  • Emirates.com
  • Emirates.store

Both the domain names are serving different purposes and as a user, you can guess what they might be before you even visit the respective websites. That is the beauty of relevant, keyword rich domain extensions. They keep your domain name light and easy for existing and potential customers when they’re searching the web or typing the URL in the address bar.

Another example of a top brand effectively using new domain extensions for their branding is Viacom. Look at:

  • Viacom.com
  • Viacom.tech

In today’s age, customers are increasingly relying on the Internet to get answers. Websites with immediately recognizable domain names make it easier for them and therefore, get pushed to the front. Do you want to miss out on such an opportunity?

3. Make it radio-test friendly

If you ask Alexa (or Siri) to go to www.sportshoez.com, they may not be able to get there. New domain extensions such as .STORE, .PRESS, combat this challenge by giving you an opportunity to choose short, simple and relevant domain names like www.lorde.store or www.breakinto.tech.

4. Keep it free of hyphens, numbers, acronyms

  • Clarity
  • Simplicity
  • Brevity
  • Meaning
  • Memorability

A practical domain name should only comprise of words. If your domain name has a number in it, the user might get confused whether it is spelled (six) or is it the numerical (6). Having hyphens or acronyms in the domain name doesn’t help either. Such names can get lost in translation or if someone misses the hyphen or puts the acronym wrong, they might land on a website on another continent altogether.

5. Keep your domain name short and memorable

Now, quite often the short domain names you are looking for are either already taken or are available at a premium price. In a situation like this, it helps to get a bit creative and go with new domain extensions. The fact that they are still relatively “new”, chances of you finding the domain name on them are higher and they are cost effective too.

6. Trademark your domain names

Disputes regarding domains name can arise anytime, so trademarking them and having protection under USPTO law helps. Take Hasbro Games, for instance, the creators of the well-known board game called Candy Land. They sued the domain name candyland.com, a domain name that was being used by an adult entertainment company. Hasbro Games won the lawsuit based on trademark dilution, claiming that domain name (candyland.com) undermined Hasbro’s own trademark and mislead users.

Therefore, trademarking your domain name(s) is an essential part of protecting your intellectual property.

7. Familiarise yourself with domain security

  • Registering the domain name in your own name
  • Keeping domain management under your control
  • Restricting access to website management to selected team members
  • Giving priority to emails related to your domain
  • Being careful of phishing attempts

So, there you have it. With a bit of thought and creativity, you can find a domain name that gives your company a strong, unique online presence it needs to succeed.

Namify is a brand builder for passionate people in a hurry to get their ideas floating on the Internet.