What You Should Know About Domain Branding
January 07, 2019
Lisa Michaels is a freelance writer, editor and a striving content marketing consultant from Portland. Being self-employed, she does her best to stay on top of the current trends in business and tech. Feel free to connect with her on Twitter @LisaBMichaels.
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If you are thinking about launching a new business venture, you will need a quality website for it. Before you can launch that site, you must first settle on a domain name and register it.
Now, while there are no restrictions when a domain name is concerned, but you have to choose wisely.
Domain Name Selection Matters
Remember that saying: “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should?”
It applies to domain names too! Here are two examples of badly chosen domain names that pop up in various online lists of funny names:
- A business Teachers Talking chose the domain teacherstalking.com.
- Speed of Art chose speedofart.com as its domain.
While the end result is hilarious, in the end, it hurts you as a business. Not many will take you seriously with such a domain name. You want to select a domain name that helps you develop your brand, not undermine it. Understanding more about the domain name selection process will help you to successfully complete this task.
The Significance of a Domain Name
The right domain name provides significant benefits to you:
- It helps you establish and promote brand identity
- It creates authority and credibility
- It helps you promote primary business activities
Settling on a great domain name is essential for long-term success with your new venture. It should be easy to remember and type. As you select a domain name, remember these pointers:
- Hyphens and abbreviations should be avoided as they often result in typos
- Mixing words with numbers in the domain name is ill-advised and makes it look unprofessional
- Words with obvious homonyms should be avoided
- The name should be strong, descriptive and memorable
Domain and Brand Architecture Should Align
Some companies may benefit from having separate domains for their specific products or services, as it helps with marketing efforts. This is most commonly necessary when a product is sold by a sub-corporation or as a sub-brand and when the actual manufacturer of that company is not known.
For example, most people about Dove as an independent brand rather than being owned by Unilever. On the other hand, most Apple products are easily identified by their brand. Consumers know that an iPhone is made by Apple. Therefore, Unilever may want a brand-specific domain for Dove soap, but Apple may not need this level of differentiation.
Another reason to potentially create separate websites for your different product types of brands is because of the target audience. Some products are manufactured by the same parent company, but they have very different target audiences. Your domain and website content should appeal to your target audience. Therefore, this type of situation generally creates the need for separate websites and unique domain names.
Trademarks Can Get You In Trouble
You can get in major trouble if you use a name that has been trademarked. Before you opt for a domain name, check for possible trademarks to avoid any trouble down the road.
If you find the domain name you wanted is trademarked, DO NOT chose one that resembles it. This brings down the legitimacy of your website and company. Consumers will think that your website is a security risk and probably just another phishing scam that’s out to steal their personal information. This will have a profoundly negative effect on your traffic and sales because consumers who are aware of such security risks will avoid your website.
Piggybacking off of an established brand name or domain name generally should be avoided. Even if you believe that you have selected a domain name that is not closely linked with another company, always research trademarks to ensure that there is no infringement or even any close links.
SEO Best Practices
Search engine optimization applies to domain names too, so choosing to follow SEO best practices pays off. Here’s what Google’s domain name guidelines say about it:
- The URL should be short and simple.
- Select a URL that is easy to spell and to type.
- Choose a domain name that includes your primary keyword for SEO purposes.
- Include your brand name - Select a memorable, specific domain name rather than a generic one - generic names have no significance to customers.
- Avoid intentional misspellings that may confuse customers.
Selecting a domain name often seems to be a trivial matter, but you can now see how important it is for you to focus intently on making a smart selection. You may find that some of your top picks for a preferred URL are taken. Instead of hastily choosing a similar name, be patient and creative - choose a unique name and ensure you adhere to best practices.