Domain branding starts with one thing – your domain name. Over half of people today directly type in the domain name that they want to go to rather than get there through some other medium such as search engines. As far as your domain brand is concerned what should you learn from this fact?
- Your domain brand name MUST be easily spelled. If it is long and complicated, then it will be more difficult for people to link your ‘brand’ to your domain name and hence find you on the web.
- Your domain brand name MUST be memorable. If it cannot be remembered then it cannot be typed into any browser. If it cannot be typed into a browser successfully and often, then your online business withers.
- The third thing is that your domain brand name must be relevant to your business.
As we have now got the 3 basic foundations of a good domain brand. Let’s explore them in greater detail…
To make your domain name brand more easily spelled, you must make sure that your brand consists of more commonly used words. Words that you use every day are more easily spelled.
The next thing to consider is shortness of your domain brand. Those domain brands that are more easily spelled are those domain brands that are shorter and require fewer characters in them (less chance of making a typo).
Finally, as far as the spelling a domain brand is concerned, is the use of hyphens. If you have the opportunity to brand your website with or without hyphens, then definitely choose without. When people type in a domain into their browser they spell it out as they would say it. Here’s the key ‘… AS THEY WOULD SAY IT’. When you read anything with a hyphen in it, you never say ‘hyphen’ do you? A good domain brand is one that spells what you read.
For your domain brand to be the easiest to remember, act like your customer online. What domain brands do you remember more easily than others? What makes a domain name a good brand to remember and what makes it a less memorable domain brand?
The answer is to picture something that is VISUAL in nature … a good domain brand is something you can associate an image with. Humans are visual learners and so information is best retained when it is associated in memory to an image of an object rather than to a concept of something that hasn’t anything concrete to visualize
Other things to consider are the common idioms in use for the language you are creating the domain brand for. As you know, an idiom is defined as a phrase that overall has a different meaning than the individual words in it mean. Some common idioms in use today are ‘What’s the Beef?’, ‘Perish the thought’, ‘Hair of the Dog’. These can make effective domain brands. For example, you could use ‘Hair of the Dog’ as an online shop to sell alcoholic products (BTW – hairofthedog.com is currently the name of a brewery in Portland, OR).
The third main point to consider with your domain brand, is trying to get something that your business sells or service it performs into the domain name as well so that it has more relevance for Search Engines as well as people. Having best-doggy-slippers.com isn’t at all useful if you are selling flea collars for cats.
Just as important as concentrating on things that make your domain branding a success, we should also concentrate on what to AVOID when carrying out domain branding for your business.
5 things to AVOID when Domain Name Branding;
- Avoid typos or intentional misspellings of common domain brands. Just because you have misspelled it doesn’t mean that you can dodge a trademark infringement.
- Avoid trademarks of other companies entirely, even if they don’t have a like name web brand in use. You could spend a lot of time and money building your business around that brand just to have it taken away from you.
- Don’t make plans for a business name until you have your domain brand ‘in the bag’ and registered to you.
- Don’t try and get a domain brand with a ‘.net’, ‘.org’ or ‘.what’ etc if the ‘.com ‘ is already registered to a known brand. It is likely to be contested and you could lose.
- Be careful of what your domain brand may actually spell out e.g. ‘therapist finder.com’ when you remove the spaces (domain names cannot have any spaces in them), has the exact same domain name spelling as ‘the rapist finder.com’, ‘experts exchange.com’ has the exact same domain spelling as ‘expert sex change.com’ and a company selling pens online ‘pen island.com’, has the exact same domain spelling as … well you get the drift. So when you string your words together … be careful!