Imagine those days when you’ve dreamt to be a superhero. Have you thought of an awesome name? Would it be short but catchy? Would it be long but descriptive? Or would it be related to an animal (e.g. Antman, Beast, Spiderman, Gorillaman)? Then after that you imagine your name being snarled by villains, called by beautiful ladies and cheered by the wild crowd!
Whatever happens, the best thing is that you have the power to choose your hero name! Same goes for choosing the domain name for your brand.
What you type in the URL box in your browser is the domain name. A domain name refers to the unique identifier of a company or business. It’s the first thing you’ll need to build your website.
Earlier identifiers are comprised of Internet Protocol (IP) numbers which are rather difficult to remember. The domain name system (DNS) was created to do away with these troublesome numbers and translate these into memory-friendly text. Thus, domain names represent your brand and almost always incorporate your company name or brand to facilitate consumer recall.
Observe that all companies practically use their brand in the Philippines as their domain name, whereas famous personalities use their birth or screen name, whichever identifies their persona with followers. Take a look at Manny Pacquaio’s domain: www.mannypacquiao.com
A domain name that very clearly relates with your company allows your business to lay the groundwork for a strong and professional brand on the Internet. Conversely, a good domain name allows your clients to find your website very easily.
The consequences of a poorly chosen domain name have serious implications on your Internet presence and the flow of traffic to your site. Remember that if your target clients can’t pronounce it, they’ll have a hard time spelling it, and they will have a harder time remembering it. That’s the domain game!
The 12 Domain Commandments you need to remember…
If you do not have a domain name yet or have not yet registered one, here are the 12 commandments of choosing a good domain name for your personal or business site.
1. Keep your domain name short
Why do you think Calvin Cordozar Broadus chose a pithy screen name which he later adopted for his website? Cordo who? Snoop Dogg actually. Can’t use Calvin because there were already many famed Calvins before him, which may not even associate well with Snoop’s rap thing. Snoop Dogg is terse but the recall factor is tops because all those who knew him back then can certainly recall his nick as a young lad in Long Beach.
2. Use your brand in your domain name as much as possible.
People looking for items to buy or more information about items they are interested in have particular brands in mind. Using your brand in your domain name allows online users to find you easier. This commandment also makes your site crawl-friendly with search engine spiders. The strategy can help you attain a higher position in the search engine results page.
When signing up for web hosting for the domain name you have in mind, you will have to choose an extension (.com, .net, .org, etc.). Though some extensions are cheaper, it would be wise if you can get local extensions for your domain as it will have a number of advantages than .coms’. Your brand will be well regarded as a local entity and ranks well with local search results.
4. Deliberate if your site can benefit just from a short brand-associated domain name or a longer search keyword-inspired domain name.
Experts are on a Mexican stand-off regarding the use of search keywords in your domain name. One party suggests to keep your domain name to as short as seven permitted characters or maintain they integrating a main search keyword in your domain name is just one of the many factors that are considered in search engine ranking.
Meanwhile, it will really depends on your online strategy and objectives. You’ll need to talk to your team which concept will work best in your business.
5. Use only the allowed characters, no double characters, and no hyphenation
As a general rule, you may only use the letters of the English alphabet, numbers and dashes in your domain name. Never use spaces and other symbols. If your brand name includes a symbol, spell it using English characters. For example, if your brand name is Ωelectronics, use ohmelectronics in your domain name. Do not hyphenate as ohm-electronics. Search engines are OK with the hyphen, but then your clients are generally not too careful about hyphens and will usually type your URL without it. If you have a competitor named “ohmelectronics.net” or “ohmelectronics.co”, you just lost a customer.
6. Strive for uniqueness.
Confusing one site for another is not a remote possibility if their domain names are similar or the same. There are serious repercussions where circumstances like this arise. Old folks in the Philippines are big fans of wrestling and when they learned to use the Internet, a group of senior citizens typed in “wwf dot com” on their browsers only to be directed to a site, a Philippine site at that with a panda in the logo. With their failing eyesight a big debate ensued. Some of them thought that the logo is a caricature of Dusty Rhodes with his darkened eye bags, while the others had difficulty making their minds if the caricature was that of Yokosuna or one of the Wild Samoans tag team.
It was utterly hilarious in the above situation. But it will not always be that comical to have your site confused with another. You will lose valuable followers and that spells danger to your business. The big wrestling franchise didn’t have to suffer a devastating setback because they had earlier changed their brand a bit and it is already a well-established business. You wouldn’t have a prayer if you are a struggling with your business and a newbie on the Net.
7. Go for a domain name that speaks for itself.
Oftentimes, in your excitement to find a unique domain name, you fall to the trap of using those that are too complex for non-English native speakers to figure out. Select simple domain names that are unique, easy to recall, and needs no hard thinking to associate it with your brand or to your trade.
8. Register your domain name and walk the extra mile to prevent confusion of your name with competitor businesses
There are a myriad of businesses out there looking for a great domain name. Act fast and register your dot com domain. Endeavor to prevent your competitors from sifting off your followers or clients towards them by registering the same net in the dot net and dot biz domains.
Believe it or not, some businesses even register their domains in misspelled forms most likely to be used by online users so that in case their previous or prospective clients mistype, they will still land on their intended destination. Domain registration does not cost that much if you consider the benefits of damage prevention over damage control from posers.
9. Choose domain names that intuitively describe what your business is all about.
There are many good sites that are not named based on what they do. That is their prerogative and you could do so if you please. Nevertheless, ponder on this: if your site has a catchy but unique name but does not convey anything about your product or service, you will have to exert more effort to establish your brand.
10. Observe ethics in branding.
It is a classic ploy of most Filipino businesses to ride on the popularity of competitor brands by choosing a brand name and eventually business name of the market leader. If you run a landscaping service, and the top landscaper in your area is called evergreenmalate dot net, be ethical enough to avoid using evergreenemalate. Don’t name your computer business as Applet Computers. Be ethical and avoid litigation.
11. If you chose to buy a registered domain with its original registered owner, opt for the older ones.
If you feel acquiring a domain name from its originally registered owner will work for you, go for the older domains over the more recently registered ones. However, scrutinize very well if there are no previous problems with the domain and if this domain has had a good showing traffic-wise in the past.
There are domain name generation applications online. Use them to get hints or domain name suggestions. You may use available domain names as generated by these tools or tweak it a little for a touch of uniqueness, but observe the 12 commandments of selecting domain names in this post.
Paul’s Last Words:
Your domain name is your ticket to the cyber-expressway. If you want to drive in the fast lane, you got to have the best ticket. This is one of the rare moments you won’t resent being cited for speeding. Choosing your domain entails the name game, or fashioning an audio play-of-words, domain game. Play and win it!