Two tips on making one of the most important branding decisions for your online business
You can’t have a website without a web address. When people open a web browser, they need an address to type that will lead them to your site. The most important part of this address is the domain name.
Everybody uses domain names every day, whether they realize it or not.
Your e-mail address, for example, is made up of two parts:
- A username before the @ symbol
- A domain name after the @ symbol
So you might have an address that looks like this:
If you have your own domain name, like many of us do for our businesses, you can use that domain name in your e-mail address(es):
Choosing a Domain Name is a Branding Decision
Your domain name will represent a big part of who you are on the web, and a custom name will help build your brand. It will serve as the very first touch point between you and your customers.
If you choose your domain name well, your customers will be able to find you and your products or services a lot easier!
Domain name branding tip #1:
Use your brand name or company name as your domain name if possible.
If you can register a name that’s the same as your brand, business or personal name, grab that and use it. Also, if possible, grab the “big three:” .com, .net, and .org versions of the same domain name. (More on this in tomorrow’s tip.)
Keep your domain name and your company name consistent. Ideally, if you tell me your company name, I should be able to figure out your web address by simply adding .com.
Of course, that’s not always possible, especially because many .com names have already been snapped up (more on this in tomorrow’s tip!)
So you might have to get creative (but not too much — we’ll tell you more about that in a few days).
New, small businesses have a huge advantage over bigger, more established companies here: If you haven’t established your business name yet, as a startup or home business owner, you can simply change the name of your business to match an available domain name.
Domain name branding tip #2:
Find a “no explanation needed” domain name.
Be aware of how you’re going to tell people about your website.
If you’re going to be telling people verbally or advertising on the radio or having an Internet radio show, you want something pronounceable that is spelled phonetically, that doesn’t have hyphens or too many abbreviations.
Even if you find something that looks great, make sure you know what it sounds like, that it’s intelligible, and that you don’t have to explain it 10 times over to people.
This is another case where having a longer, but more self-explanatory, domain name can be better than a shorter one that you have to spell out or explain.
Here’s an example: I once had a client called Healthy Families International. They were concerned that HealthyFamiliesInternational.org was too long to be a good domain name, and asked about using HealthyFamiliesI.org or HealthyFamiliesIntl.org or HealthyFamiliesInt.org.
My recommendation (which they took!) was to simply use the longer domain name, because explaining an abbreviation took more time than simply saying the entire domain name out loud.
Try this test: can you explain to a total stranger how to get to your website, without resorting to spelling words out or explaining what abbreviations mean? Can you just say the domain name and have a pretty good chance of them getting it right? If not, think simpler, even if that means longer.
Check your email tomorrow for two more domain name tips!
If you made it here from Twitter, Facebook, or a link from a friend, why not go ahead and pick up the complete series of tips? This is lesson #1 in a free 9-step course on setting up your first website the easy and smart way. Click here to get the free course.