The internet is getting crowded day by day. Thousands of new domains are registered everyday. It’s becoming more and more difficult to select a domain as most of them are already registered by others.
For small-business owners, that means it’s increasingly difficult to create a domain name that your customers will remember while still protecting your trademark and your brand.
So, for those who are about to purchase a new domain for their business or blog, Here are the Rules to pick the perfect one.
Choose a Brandable Domain Name
Think of your domain name as the most important marketing tool to create buzz.
Branded domains aid in word of mouth marketing like Google.
Branded domains also build credibility in earning links. Like InfinityAerials.com vs. CheapDallasTVAerialInstallers.com
Consider building a domain around meaningful words with mass apeal. Like Savings.com or Fly.com or Health.com
According to Nielsen, branded websites are the 3rd most trusted advertising source for Internet users, tied with editorial content.
Eliot Silver (EliotsBlog.com) reports that many domain investors weigh the value of potential for brand development higer than the value of current traffic or revenue.
Choose a Short, Catchy & Memorable Domain Name
Being easy to say and spell is crucial in increasing pass-along rate. Anyone should be able to pronounce your domain. Say Twitter and Facebook.
Out of the 200 million+ registered names, Only an estimated 5-7% are premium enough to resonate with many people.
“Domain King” Rick Schwartz says to know which domains have face value. For example, any NNN.com has value (3 numbers like 123.com). There is a market for these domains.
Research by McKinsey & Company shows word of mouth is the primary factor behind 20-50% of all purchasing decisions.
Choose the appropriate Domain Name Extension
On an average, nearly 84,000 domain names are registered per day.
In 2012, more than 250 million domains were registered. Out of which, 102M(48%) were .com, 14M were .net, 10M were .org and 1.2M were .co.
If you are planning to sell in a specific country, you should consider a country-specific domain such as “co.uk” for the United Kingdom.
A .com TLD is ideal because most Internet users who remember your domain are going to assume you use a .com TLD
One option is to purchase several extensions (.net, .info, .com, .biz) and direct them all to the same site with 301 redirects.
Protect your Trademark
Beware of cybersquatting. It’s not uncommon for competition to register a domain with different extensions in an effort to steal traffic.
According to the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), 2012 saw a record of 2,884 cybersquatting cases covering 5,084 domain names. Up 4.5% from 2011.
In 2013, Donald Trump sought $400,00 in damages over four websites that use the real estate mogul’s name and brand.
The Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) provides for damages from $1000 to $100,000 if a party registers a domain in bad faith with the intent to profit from a brand’s goodwill.
Some famour disputes over branded domain names: candyland.com | mcdonalds.com | mtv.com
In turn, avoid registering a domain close to a competitor’s and be caustious of violating a trademark that could lead to a lawsuit.
It’s wise to invest in mispelled or closely spelled domains. Microsoft owns Bing.com and Bings.com
Choose your name as a Domain Name
Registering your own name is a great way to build your personal brand, even if you’re not ready to do anything with it yet, go ahead and purchase it.
Choose a Creative Domain Name
Most single-word domains are taken, try these creative approaches to finding a domain name that fits your brands:
- FlightsCity (Compounding two whole words)
- Travelocity (Affixing a word with a prefix or a suffix)
- Travelocity (Tweaking a word)
- Microsoft ( Blending parts of two words together)
- Etsy, Odeo (Making up a completely unique name)
- Flickr ( Using a phrase)
Avoid Hyphenated Domain
Hyphenated domains have no branding and little SEO value. They detract from credibility and can act as a spam indicator, making it difficult to earn links.
They also negatively impact word of mouth because they’re difficult to say without spelling it out.
They cause a loss of type-in traffic because people don’t recall hyphens or hyphen placement.
According to DomainNameSales.com, type-in-traffic accounts for 50% of all visitors!
Rick Schwartz wrote on RicksBlog.com, “Type-ins are the validation of value regardless of opinion”
Check availability on Social Media sites.
A good rule for making yourself discoverable is to keep the same name across platforms. Check that your domain is available on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media platforms
Don’t let your Domain Name Expire
Even big brands have let their domains expire. Hotmail.com dropped a few years ago!
Keep your contact information up to date. You should receive notifications, don’t ignore them.
According to iGoldRush.com, there’s sometimes more than 20,000 domains expiring on one day.
Set a calendar reminder when you purchase your domain. If your registrar offers auto-renew then take advantage of this functionality.