Going back a few years, the process of forming a business started with creating a brand name that captured the founder’s vision for the new venture. Whether or not the name was available as a domain name was probably not even a factor.
Nowadays, memorable and/or short domain names are in very short supply and are dwindling fast – a new .uk domain name is registered every five seconds. As a result, the naming process for new ventures with an online presence, should include domain availability at a very early stage.
Choosing a brand and domain name can be tricky. To help, here’s our top tips on how to choose your brand and domain name
l. Where possible, it’s best to ensure that your domain name reflects what your business does
A name says a lot about you and your business. It’s often the first impression someone gets of your company and so it’s important you get it right.
It’s often easier and therefore cheaper to get a business off the ground, if the name reflects what the business does. For example, homerepairs.co.uk or motcentre.co.uk. However the scarcity of domain names, means that this isn’t always possible and often means that you need to create a name that has little or no correlation to the activity of the business.
This doesn’t mean that the name won’t work, you may, however, have to be prepared to pay more in marketing costs, in order to generate brand awareness. Some good examples of successful businesses where the name doesn’t reflect the business are Moonpig and Amazon.
2. Make the domain easy to remember and spell
One of the most crucial parts of a business is returning customers. It often costs a lot of money to “acquire” a customer, so it’s important they come back and use your business again in order to justify the acquisition costs. If a customer can’t remember your business’s name, or how to spell it, they are likely to shop elsewhere in the future.
3. Be creative
The scarcity of domain names is likely to mean that you will need to be creative with your new brand. This doesn’t mean necessarily that you’re going to have to create a business using a none descriptive name. You could always prefix the domain name with something like weare, team etc.
4. Avoid the use of numbers and hyphens
The number one rule of a brand name is avoid confusion. If you add a number to your name, your potential customer may type in one instead of 1. Hyphens can also cause issues, particularly if you don’t own the non-hyphenated version. A customer may type in yourdomain.com instead of your-domain.com resulting in confusion and a missed sales opportunity.
5. Check Social media handles are available
I’m sure you don’t need an introduction to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. If you are thinking of creating social profiles for your business, it makes sense to check that your name is available as a handle on these sites. Again remember that you can always prefix the handle with something like weare, team etc.
6. Consider including a location in the name
If your business is, and importantly, always will be focussed on a specific geographic area, you should consider adding this in your domain name. It will make ranking in search engines a slightly easier task.
7. Consider the impact of using a non traditional TLD
Google has confirmed that using the more recent TLD’s such as .info, .ai, .rich etc does not affect where a website will rank in their search results. However, it has been shown that users find these TLD’s less trustworthy because they are not familiar with them. Where possible you should use a traditional TLD such as .co.uk or .com to avoid this.
8. Ask your friends and family
Once you’ve come up with a shortlist of names and domain names, make sure you sense check them with your friends and family and seek their opinion. It’s easy to make a mistake, such as the fact that two words together can make up another rather unsavoury word that you’ve missed!
9. Carry out some final checks before purchasing the domain
Once you’ve settled on a name and checked that the domain is available, make sure that it’s not trademarked already by someone else.
10. Protect your brand by purchasing variants
After you’ve spent a lot of time researching a name and then invested money in creating a brand and a business, the last thing you want is someone else registering the same name with another TLD. You can avoid this by purchasing the variants of your domain. For example, if you are purchasing mydomain.co.uk you should at the very least consider purchasing mydomain.uk and possibly the .com, .net versions etc as well.
11. Stuck for ideas? Use a domain name generator as a starting point
It’s easy for your mind to go blank when it comes to an initial starting point for your name. Try these useful tools to get you started:
Wordoid. Wordoids are made-up words, they look unique and sound natural. Lean Domain Search. Find a great available domain name for your website in seconds. DomainHole. Finding great domains is now a walk in the park.