If you’re starting a new business and think you’re ready to give it a name, pause for one second. The name you choose is the name people will be typing, clicking on, talking about, or tapping on every day. So you need to put some serious thought into it.
If you want to build a brand, and not just any website, then you need to find a strong, memorable and emotionally engaging domain name that stands out, one that you can turn into a searchable phrase over time. This is the most powerful force in your marketing arsenal so don’t rush into getting whichever name you find available.
In this post we’ll be talking about how domains are both a tool for branding and a consideration for the brand strategy, and how you can choose yours to ensure the biggest impact among local customers.
The domain name as a branding tool
The following pointers that will help guide the branding aspect of selecting your domain name:
1. Stand out
The idea behind branding is to differentiate yourself from everyone else so make sure your domain name does that. Your name needs to be original so that people know right away that you aren’t that other company. Don’t just go with an ordinary combination of words or phrases. Instead, get a name that’s unusual as those are the ones that stand out in the memory.
2. Create an emotional response
Ok, your domain doesn’t need to make people laugh or cry, but it does need to create some sort of emotional response. It has to make users want to dig deeper and find out more about what you do.
3. Build credibility
Just because you show up in search engine results doesn’t mean users will click on your link. Research from Microsoft showed that credibility (of a domain name) trumps ranking. In other words, a user is more likely to click a result that’s listed in 7th position in the search results if they believe the domain name is credible than a result in 2nd position that has a name they feel lacks credibility. A long web address like specialeventshairdresser4u.co.uk lacks credibility and users will probably avoid clicking on it.
4. Target local customers
Including your location in your domain name can help you differentiate yourself from competitors with similar names. For example, if you run a local business and want to attract customers living in London, get a Dot London domain. A web address with a Dot London can help your business attain both trust and exposure in one of the world’s most thriving cities.
Other factors to consider when buying a domain
Choosing a domain name is one of the most important decisions you will make for your business. Your domain name characterises your business, labels your business, and will stick with you for a long time.
Here are three essential things to consider when choosing your domain:
1. Make it short and memorable. Don’t get greedy with keywords or create a domain that’s nothing more than a jumble of words with no meaning. Instead, choose a short and sweet name that people will remember. The easier it is to say, read, and repeat, the easier it is to remember. Think Etsy, Google, Apple, Digg, Facebook and more.
2. Make it relevant. Your domain name should reflect what your business does. Great names are attention-grabbing without being blandly declarative. For example, eHow.com is the name of a website that shows you how to do stuff. Brunch.London, an online directory that allows you to read reviews and book brunches in London, is another good name that describes exactly what they do as a business. If you are a small business working in a crowded niche, relevancy is important.
3. Make it simple. Try to avoid tweaking common spellings of words in order to make your business name creative. Names like “kleepmachine” or “dzignmasters” don’t make for effective domain names.
If you don’t want to be treated like just another website, then act like a brand. The first step is a domain name and a site that sounds and looks like a brand. Here’s the thing: you can no longer rely on tricks to rank in Google’s search engine results. A business that’s focused on building a strong brand will ride the wave of success.
Alexandra Gavril is a web copywriter and blogger at www.123-reg.co.uk. She enjoys sharing tips and advice that can help small businesses get online and grow their revenue.