When you are starting a new online business, the first thing that you will need is a website. This will be your identity and will show your presence to the world in a distinctive manner. In a website, the domain name is one of the strongest branding elements of your business, and it is something that cannot be dissociated from you as long as your business remains in operation. The seemingly simple act of deciding a domain name when you first create your website will have the most long-term impact on your online business. This seems obvious because the domain name will the most visible component of your business. It will be on display on all printing materials – your business letterhead, banners, invoices, outdoor ads, business cards, souvenirs, mementos, etc. So what things do we need to consider while choosing a good domain name?
Is it strongly brandable?
Be creative and go for a domain name that is brandable and not a generic name. When you see or hear the domain name, it must sound like a brand. How a visitor remembers your business is the domain name and this will be shared in telephonic talks, during social media discussions and other platforms.
The difference between a brandable domain name and a generic domain name is that the former is unique and stands out from the crowd while the latter is packed with keywords and hard to remember. For example, onlinebusiness.com, youronlinebusiness.com, onlinebusinessforyou.com all sound similar, right? These are the examples of generic domain names. Moreover, “online business” sounds all too common and hence, you will find an uphill task in making it shine through.
Create unique brandable names
You can create your own new words to make it more catchy. They need not have dictionary meanings. Or else, you could choose an already existing word that fits your business. There are domain name generators online. Use them if you have to.
Is it easy to remember?
To make your domain name easy to remember, you have to make it easily pronounceable and easy to type. When it is easily pronounceable, it becomes easy to share your website by word of mouth. One common thing most popular websites in the world (Yahoo, Bing, Google, Facebook, Instagram) have is that they are all easy to spell or type. So when your customer visits your website, they should be able to type the domain name easily. Remember, there are close to 100-million domain names around the world, and if you can’t make your domain name distinct, it will become just another entity in a sea of similar sounding names. However, in your zeal to make it different, don’t bring up a domain name that is hard to spell. You do not want your visitor to land on a different website when they mistype your domain name, do you? Settle on a unique domain name but which is easy to spell (and hence type).
Keep it short
Brevity is the key. An interesting fact is that the most popular websites in the world have very short domain names. It is said that the top-5 websites in the world have approximately 6 characters in their domain names. The shorter the domain name, the more popular it is, meaning there’s a direct correlation between the domain name length and popularity of the website. The website with the longest domain name from amongst the top-100 websites in the world has only 17 characters. In all likelihood, most short domain names have already been bought but one can still come up with short domain names with a more thorough research.
Do not use hyphens and numbers
Avoid using hyphens and numbers in your domain name because they make it difficult to spell and pronounce. With hyphens or numbers within a domain name, the chances of mistyping become higher. Try typing words with hyphens in between. They are not smooth on the fingers, are they? Similarly, with numbers too. One cannot type easily on the keyboard a name with numbers.
Top-level domain (TLD) option is still .com
Whether you like it or not, .com is still the preferred choice of TLD in the world. Although there are many TLD extensions available, there is a general bias towards .com and it remains the most popular and easily recognised TLD extension. So, your domain name becomes more brandable with a .com TLD extension. The choice of TLD extension is completely personal and there’s no reason to say that a domain name with a .net extension is less brandable than a .com one.
Make your domain name intuitive
It’s not necessary that all domain names should be intuitive and should be able to give people an idea of what the business is all about. But if by simply looking at the domain name, if it can do so, it’s advantageous.
Go for broad keywords
An inappropriately chosen domain name could seriously limit the scope of your business activities. If our business grows and with it if the scope of activities within the niche increases, we may like to have a domain name with a general and broad keyword. Things have changed and it’s no longer necessary to have keywords stuffed within the domain name. Choose a general (and unrelated) domain name and you will be covered for a long shot. Remember, famous domain names like amazon.com or yahoo.com have absolutely no association with what their business is all about. There are not keyword rich but are extremely brandable names.
Never underestimate the importance of a good domain name. You are here for a long haul and it is no exaggeration to say that domain names could make or break your business. A good domain name enhances your brand recognition. Choose it wisely because it one of the strongest factors that will define your business and brand for years to come. Think long-term.