Want to find out how to choose the best domain name for your business? Let us share our golden rules with you now.
As the human-friendly version of a website’s internet protocol address, your choice of domain name can have a significant influence on your company’s prospects. Affecting everything from search engine rankings to brand associations, choosing an effective domain name should involve a great deal of consideration and analysis to achieve optimal results.
These are our five golden rules for selecting the right domain:
- Choose your top level domain carefully. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers is drip-feeding more and more top level domains (or TLDs) into the market. This means that unconventional web address suffixes like .me and .george are joining classic TLDs like .com and .co.uk on the available domains lists. While it’s always good to choose a TLD that reflects your country of origin, other popular choices include .net or .org. Try to avoid anything too confusing like .co (which could easily be misread) or the more eccentric TLDs such as .wang or .genting.
- Think about what customers will search for. If you specialise in selling period radiators for old houses, then a perfect choice of domain name might be www.classicradiators.com (currently available as a domain for just £7.99 a year on the UK2 website). Anyone searching for ‘classic radiators’ will be far more likely to find this site than a domain called www.restoringperiodheatingelements.com. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this domain is also currently available to buy. Domain names don’t just appeal to search engines – they sum up your brand or service in a few words. A well-chosen domain can aid recall among consumers and increase brand confidence.
- Keep it brief. Studies have reported that shorter domain names are easier to remember. While this may initially present a problem for companies with lengthy names, there are always alternatives to using your full brand name. Because the ampersand symbol isn’t permitted in web addresses, DIY chain B&Q decided to adopt the diy.com domain name. Perfectly summing up their chosen industry in just three letters, this represents one of many examples of how creative thinking can lead to effective domain names being chosen. Popular abbreviations may also be of use.
- Choose something that people will understand. Anyone with an unusual name or complex postal address will be familiar with laboriously spelling out names over the phone. The same can happen with websites. Try to choose something that can be dictated down a crackly mobile line and understood first time, such as oldshoes.org for a vintage sandals-and-heels retailer. There will be many circumstances where a web address comes up in conversation, yet a complex or ‘quirky’ domain can get lost in translation or simply not be memorable enough to stick in the mind.
- Don’t tread on anyone’s toes. Never adopt a domain name with similarities to a rival, since confusion (and lawyers’ letters) may ensue. Ensure your domain has a distinct identity, and use the site’s contents to accentuate your own merits and USPs, rather than trying to steal custom from people who’ve mistaken your brand for a rival. Investigate which domains are available for your chosen search string, and be very wary of picking an obscure TLD if all the popular ones have been claimed. Your preferred domain may already have strong connotations with other brands…