Domain names (and websites) are now so integral to how business is done that it’s not uncommon for new businesses to now scrap their desired business name if they can’t get the domain name for it. We are starting to see more and more businesses finding the perfect domain name and building a brand around that. So in this article, we want to show you how to choose the perfect domain name for your website and business.
What Is A Domain Name
This might seem like a silly question, but the fact is that when we often speak to client about “domain names” they have no idea what we’re talking about. Our experience shows us that there are a lot of people who know what a “website address” s, but know nothing about domain names.
Just to clear it up for everyone out there, domain names and “website addresses” (or web address) are the same thing.
How To Choose the Perfect Domain Name
Keep It Simple, Stupid..
Don’t try and over complicate things. A great domain name is on brand with the rest of your business and easy to remember. It makes sense.
Most people assume they know the domain name of any business simply by finding out what the company name is. This dates back to the late 90’s and early 2000’s when nearly every company website had a domain name that perfectly matched their business name. Some businesses even went so far at to add the “.com” to their official company name.
Now when people hear your business, they automatically think your domain name will be the same, so it is incredibly important to do everything you can (within reason) to meet the expectations of your target market.
These assumptions are also location based.
If you live in New Zealand and hear about a great home cleaning company called “Home Cleaners”, it will be assumed that your domain name is homecleaners.co.nz (.co.nz is the Top Level Domain – or “tld” – for New Zealand).
This means people trying to guess your domain name to visit you online are making educated assumptions that you should be meeting.
Using the example above, if your domain name is along the lines of:
Homecleaners.com, or .com.au, or .co.uk, it will be incredibly difficult for your target market (New Zealanders) to figure it all out and visit you online.
Numbers & Abbreviations
If you have made an attempt to be “fresh” with your business name and replaced words with numbers, or single letters, this makes it very difficult for potential website visitors to get to your website if they need to type in your domain name.
To choose the perfect domain name, you need to choose something that cannot be misinterpreted when said out loud.
Imagine you have a home cleaning business and are on the radio. No one can see you. Now imagine you have to tell the listeners how to find your website. Your business name is “Home Cleaners 2 U”, and your domain name happens to be homecleaners2u.co.nz.
Say that out loud and imagine what the listeners will be typing in to their address bar to try and get to your website.
It is always a good idea to stay clear from any domain names that could cause confusion if you ever had to say it to people.
The last thing you want at a networking event is to have a great chat with an influential business person, only to have to spend 3 minutes explaining your domain name. They will remember “that business with the complicated domain name” but won’t remember what it was or how to find you online.
You can’t control how people choose to spell your domain name, and you can’t control how well people have learnt to spell and/or type. You can, however, limit the chances of people accidentally getting your domain name wrong due to consecutive letters etc.
Let’s say your business is called “Natural Life” and you educate others on how to live naturally. The domain name naturallifeeducation.com isn’t a great idea due to with words having consecutive letters at the end and beginnings of each new word (naturallifeeducation).
In this scenario, it is much better to choose the domain name “naturaleducation.com” or something similar. It might not be as simple as we recommended above, but consecutive letters simply increases the chances that our potential website visitors incorrectly see the letters in your domain name, or they just mis-type the words.
Another consideration around spelling is making sure the words in your domain are spelt correctly. Double and triple check the spelling in your domain name before making a purchase. Although domain names are relatively inexpensive, you could end up with a huge error if you don’t check this correctly.
You see, when purchasing your domain, you first need to check if it’s available to be purchased. Typing the wrong spelling into the domain checking tool will likely result in you believing the domain you want is available. In your excitement, you quickly purchase it and build all of your digital marketing around this new domain name.
This issue is that you don’t realise that all of your promotional material is actually promoting another website. By the time you realise what has happened, you check the correct spelling and find out it was never actually available and you have to come up with a new domain name.
However unlikely this scenario is, it has happened before, and we’re sure it will happen again. Just make sure you’re not the one it happens to.
In most cases, it’s a good idea to get a few domain names that vary from the main one and have them all redirected to your main website.
Some people go overboard with this and purchase their domain in as many tld’s (.co.nz, .co.uk, .com etc.) as possible to make sure no one else uses a similar domain. This isn’t necessary.
It is important to be aware that anyone can purchase any domain that is available, so f you’re a multinational company, it’s probably a good idea to do this, but for most small businesses, it’s not worth the cost. You’re looking at anywhere between $10 – $30 per domain, so if you were to purchase 10 domains, that’s $100 – $300 every year in domain costs alone.
At Vision Digital, we have 2 purchased domains. We use visiondigital.marketing as our main web address (domain), but also purchased visiondigital.co.nz for the very reason we listed under the KISS heading. We are a New Zealand based business, so all of the business contacts we meet in person expect us to have a .co.nz domain name. We simply redirect our .co.nz domain to our main website and everyone is happy.
If your business name has numbers, consecutive letters, deliberately misspelled words, and/or abbreviations, then we strongly suggest purchasing multiple domain names and redirecting them to your main website to safeguard against the strong possibility that people will be making mistakes when typing in your domain name.
If your domain name is homecleaners2u.com then you should also be purchasing the domain homecleanerstoyou.com and redirecting it back to your main site.
To choose the perfect domain, put yourself in the shows of a potential visitor/customer who hears about your business for the first time on the radio.
Try and make it as easy as possible for them to gain entry to your website and assume people will make mistakes when typing your domain name.
If you have any comments or questions, leave them in the section below and one of our team will be sure to respond