A website is an indispensable tool for any modern business. Providing everything from free advertising and marketing to contact details and corporate history, a company website can serve as a direct selling platform or information resource. It’s the virtual equivalent of a high street retail unit, and it’s arguably even more pivotal to a company’s long-term profitability.
Make Your Domain Name Your Calling Card
Just as real-world premises will have a postal or trading address, so a website has a unique domain name. And such is the importance of this online address, many startups will be named partly – or even principally – because a matching company domain name is still available. After all, websites have been with us for a quarter of a century, and many millions of domains have been registered and claimed. If you want to set up a new DIY business, you’ll find obvious addresses like diy.com and doityourself.com have already been appropriated.
Let Your Website Do the Talking
The value of an effective company domain name goes far beyond its relatively modest registration fee and annual retention. A company website is the first place many people will go to research a brand, and it might be the only place they will be able to make purchases. It contains the contact details that allow people to make or change an order, or make a complaint, and it’s the best source of advertising and self-promotion any firm will ever get. Encouraging traffic to visit a website is a crucial component of building a brand online, and there are plenty of steps you can take to ensure your company domain name is appropriate and relevant.
Firstly, if your company hasn’t been officially registered yet, check whether the .com or .co.uk suffixes for any shortlist of possible names are still available. If some are but others aren’t, this should simplify the decision about which moniker to adopt. You don’t want potential clients guessing your domain and ending up on a competitor site by accident. Incorporating a sense of place into your company domain name can also help to distinguish your brand from far-flung competitors, as geographic proximity is one of the key drivers of new business enquiries. If you rent out fancy dress costumes in London, your target audience is within the M25, so including the word “London” in your domain will ensure only relevant audiences are drawn to your site.
Domain Names: Stick with the Classics?
Even in the era of .buzz and .vodka top-level domains, it’s always best – if possible – to stick with the tried-and-trusted .com and .co.uk TLDs. In the same way people feel more comfortable phoning an 0800 number than an 0330 number, these classic TLDs are more reassuring than their ever-expanding roster of siblings. In addition, having a .tips or .place TLD can suggest a wackiness and irreverence that doesn’t really suit a serious brand.
Another problem with many of today’s less conventional TLDs is that you have to explain to people what they are, and probably spell them out when dictating the web address. Like successful brands, a good company domain name should be easily understood the first time you say it. If it has to be spelled out or explained, it’s probably best avoided. Although www.modelplanez.co.uk is an available domain, a new retailer of radio-controlled aircraft should resist any temptation to register it. How many people would instinctively know (or remember) that this name ends in a z rather than an s? This is particularly problematic if your company’s name doesn’t have any matching domains available, which is why choosing a new brand should ideally be undertaken in conjunction with website registration…