Domain names have long been recognized as a business’ digital and global real estate. Today most of your audience, potential, previous and current will interact with your business on the site you build on your domain. This means that picking the right domain is crucial, and that considering it’s the front door and interface for your business, it needs to be 100% your brand.
This is why “brandable business domains” have shot up in popularity — but not everyone fully understands what makes a “brandable business domain”. Here are the five factors that branding experts consider as well as tips when looking for the right domain for your business.
Status quo calls for short and nongeneric. Names that are too broad or too vague don’t make the cut anymore. The good news is that this means there’s more room to play with – for example Reddit.com, which is one of the most trafficked sites today, is not a real word. It in fact was (very) loosely derived from “Read It” and just so happens to mean “render” in Latin. It should be noted that field of business matters, and an online forum can play better under a unique name than say a corporate B2B service.
There’s a few nuances to memorability outside being short and rooted in known words such as rolling vowels or repeating syllables or consonants (as seen in “Paypal”). Once you’ve come up with a name, share it with close friends and family to make sure it sounds just as appealing and understandable as you think it does.
If you asked someone to spell the name without having seen it, will they be able to do so easily? There are of course a few exceptions to this these days, several companies especially in tech have begun to favor dropping a letter such as Tumblr.com but again the audience is a deciding factor. The increase in popularity of two word names like Buzzfeed or Facebook have made room for interesting combinations of correctly spelled, dictionary words that are set apart from fused names like the mentioned Pinterest. But notice that both Facebook and Pinterest easily pass the radio test? Being innovative pays off and you don’t always need correctly spelled, dictionary words to have a great domain name.
One of the biggest mistakes made when searching for a domain is falling in love! It’s important to keep an open mind – these days it’s quite common for a domain to be unavailable or come at a price that’s outside of your budget. You can and should always look for variations or alternatives.
In fact, that’s where Tumblr.com came from! Tumbler.com was unavailable and they opted to drop the “e”, sparking a huge trend in business names out of what was essentially a bit of convenience and a whole lot of innovation. But if you’re really stuck, there are also helpful online tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner and SEMRush.com that will tell you how many people search per month for certain keywords. With these tools, start by searching the keywords that are the most relevant to your business to see related keywords and how popular they are.
Of course the meaning of the word is extremely important but you don’t have to let it make or break your decision. Make sure to look at the bigger picture! Yelp famously chose its name despite being concerned about being tied to pain or whining. Why did they choose it? It was short and sweet and memorable. Besides, it’s important to remember that what you bring to the table behind a name will trump everything else.
Trademark and Use
A little less fun but incredibly important, thorough research for potential conflicts of interest and trademark ability is key before locking in a name. This protects you and your future endeavors legally as well as secures you important assets — even social media handles! Of course conflict of interest is key, Pandora today is both a jewelry brand and online radio brand, but all of the worst case scenario is you paying a pretty penny for a domain only to find out that you can’t use it.
Then, once you’ve secured the domain and trademark, it’s time to put your brand to business use! It takes a lot of work and expertise to successfully generate and convert leads, revenue and implement results driven marketing once your website is live.
Choosing a domain name requires a lot of thought and consideration, just keep in mind that your domain represents your identity on the web.