The Importance of choosing the right Domain Name for Your New Business
Before you even start thinking about the naming conventions for your domain name, ensure you have considered in detail the market you wish to enter, and the strategy you have in place to make your mark with your new business.
Your marketing budget and SEO strategy will directly influence your choice, and this should be compounded by the branded image you wish to portray. Your domain name in most cases establishes a branding theme before a customer has even visited your site, and therefore it is imperative that it complements your desired branding.
You will then find yourself presented with two choices which your business requirements and market niche will dictate. You can either choose a real word ‘discoverable’ domain name such as ‘cheap flights.co.uk’, or a ‘brandable’ domain, such as ‘easyjet.co.uk’. This is no easy decision and both have proven to be highly successful. This article will help guide you through the rigours of making such a decision, and help you to understand the importance of both choosing the right domain name for your business, as well as laying out a branding foundation before making the final choice.
‘Discoverable’ Vs. ‘Brandable’ Domain Names
There are distinct and immediate search ranking advantages of choosing a ‘discoverable’ keyword domain name, driving traffic to your site through organic rankings of these search terms.
Whilst Google has stated that it now penalises low quality exact match domains, this has been reported to only affect only 0.6% of British and US search queries. Thus, through traditional SEO best practises such as keyword link building, ranking for your domain name in organic results is still highly achievable, whilst targeting niche keyword domain names will rank highly and consequently drive traffic through real word search queries, such as ‘cheap flights UK’.
However, it has become next to impossible to find single real-word domain names available sites such as keyword depository are very useful), and consequently you will find you will have to pay a lot of money for the top level domain, especially if you are a British site, having to secure both .co.uk and .com TLDs to future proof your brand and prevent anyone else outranking you for your domain name. However, to some extent this is negated by large brands having international trademarks precluding a competitor purchasing the domain attached to another country’s TLD.
The price of the ‘discoverable’ domain name is offset by the marketing budget needed to establish a ‘brandable’ domain name, which will require extensive paid, owned and earned media exposure to actively engage your audience and create associations between your niche and brand. The most famous example is ‘Google it’, which has become synonymous with search.
Google’s constantly evolving algorithms are an attempt to satisfy its mission statement to ‘organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful’ are purporting to favour ‘branded’ domain names by punishing what it thinks of as spam domains, but as yet there is little evidence to discourage ‘discoverable’ domain names because of this Google update.
There are plenty of reasons to choose a branded domain name however. Firstly, accompanied by a sizeable marketing and SEO budget, building a brand establishes a distinct identity, and if done creatively enough, can evoke ideas and feelings that can complement your company values.
The other benefit of a ‘brandable’ domain name (once the brand starts to gain recognition) is the dominance your site will have over that unique search query, immediately ranking first, which in time will afford your brand authority within your niche due to its search credibility.
Choosing Your Domain Name
The easiest, most popular and verified brand creation have proven to be the amalgamation of two target keywords, spliced, and joined to create a new identity, bringing with them the connotations of your niche, as well as creating a unique and available domain name, e.g. ‘Mirco’ & ‘soft’, both computing terms (microchip and software) brought together to form an identifiable, intuitive company domain within the niche which both of them key terms reside within.
Semantic association and metaphorical branding can also work in this way, using linguistic creativity to step outside the usual restraints in order to utilise the English language to conjure visual romanticised suggestions of your brand. Whether you choose a ‘discoverable’ or ‘brandable’ domain name, ensure that it is unique, catchy and in some way relevant, taking into account your brand values, and search keywords.
Whilst having a domain name that is easy to remember is favourable, it is also important to choose one that is easy to digest, related to your business, and easy to spell – remember a lot of users will search for your company first rather than entering the URL.
Relevancy remains one of the most important overall factors when choosing a domain name, ensuring it is relevant to your brand values and your market. Coming up with a comprehensive brand identity before choosing your domain name is therefore paramount.