When you embark on the journey of choosing a domain name you’ll be choosing the word or words that appear immediately before the “.com” (or .org, .co.nz, .nz , etc) part. Of course you’ll already be aware that it’s important to choose a good domain name – but what’s “good“? The first word (if there is more than one) in the domain name will usually be either a relevant keyword or your business’s name – and a good domain name should be short, memorable, pronounceable, and marketable. A shorter domain name is preferable to the search engines as well as some search engines will deliberately give a higher ranking to shorter rather than longer domain names. Deciding on the perfect domain name can be challenging as the competition is tough and you may feel like a lot (if not all) of the simple catchy names have already been taken. However, the advantages to your business in choosing a great domain name are many, so you should put in the time and effort to “get it right”.
- By including a keyword related to your business the search engines should rank your domain name more favorably.
- A more descriptive domain name will make it clearer to your potential customers what type of business you are in.
- People will more easily remember your domain name if it is shorter and may even be able to guess it as they start typing keywords into their browser.
The following online marketing strategies will hopefully help you come up with a memorable domain name, that works to make your business more successful.
Domain name suggestions
One common method that business websites use when choosing a domain name is to use the same or a very similar name to their business’s actual name. Some use a shortened version of the name of their business but still use a name that conveys who and what (sometimes even where) the business is as their domain name. A businesses name is sometimes people’s first impression of that business and we all know how long lasting first impressions remain in people’s minds. So choose a name that will leave a favorable impression for your first time customer and give a positive virtual representation of who you are and what you offer.
Let’s take a look at two examples of small businesses who have both branded and created a memorable domain name for their customers. I typed in ‘cabinet maker Auckland’ into Google and stumbled across a listing for fitzfurniture.co.nz – this is a good domain name example as the cabinet maker is Dave Fitzgerald and he makes custom kitchens, furniture etc. The domain name is short, catchy and memorable, you immediately get a sense for the type business this is before even clicking on the link and begin looking through his website.
Another good example is, I was looking for a wedding photographer in the Wairarapa, so I typed into Google ‘wedding photographer Wairarapa’ and found a listing for wairarapaphotographer.co.nz – the listing told me immediately where she was based, and that she was a wedding photographer – thereby immediately fulfilling the three criterion I was looking for i.e. a photographer who specialized in weddings and was based in my target location, the Wairarapa. She could have used the name wairarapaweddingphotographer.co.nz – but even though the name is catchy and memorable and uses all the keywords, it is just too long.
A domain name will help market and brand your business. If a customer regularly sees a businesses name each time it visits their website or has to type it in to their browser or search engine and the predictive text suggestions offer them ideas to help them, then they’ll begin to recognize and remember that websites’ domain name. An important consideration to keep in mind when you begin to think about branding your business is to not pick a name which your business could out-grow. For instance, you might think that the ‘café345high.nz’ is a good name because you see it as short, catchy and describes the business as a café located at 345 High Street. However, what if you move to a new location? Or you decide to expand your business? Your name does require some forethought.
Take time to do some brainstorming. Many businesses utilize brainstorming techniques to help them think of a catchy or memorable slogan. Why not use the same strategy? Grab a pen and paper and start to write down some relevant key words that describe your business. Alongside those words write words which might be interesting or catchy. Play around with the combination of words and see if you come up with a unique, logical, interesting short phrase. Say it out loud and see how easy it is to pronounce.
If after having exhausted your own ideas bank, then try a few of these online tools that may expand your thinking. By doing a brief key word search online you may find a number of words or phrases you might not even have considered. This is a useful strategy to use because these are actual key words people are typing in when searching for your type of business. Try these free online keyword research websites to help you generate some ideas: Google Keyword Planner, Keywordspy, Uber Suggest and Wordstream.
When you start to refine and decide on a domain name that you like and think really works – don’t forget to check the domain name’s availability – the New Zealand Domain Name Commission and Free Parking are two websites of several websites you can use.
Domain name tips to avoid
Also, here’s a few tips that you should avoid:
- Do not use numbers within your domain name e.g. 1forcars.co.nz. People will have difficulty remembering numbers and if that “1” the number or the word “one” spelt out in full.
- Avoid including small words like: “the”, or “for” or “and” etc. Try to be succinct yet descriptive.
- Try not to be too clever with unusual or quirky spellings for words. For example: there are many examples where people have substituted the letter “z”’ for an “s” in a word or called their pub a “beer haus” or “just cutz” for a hair salon – it doesn’t make the name more memorable, just harder to spell.
- Using short adjectives to try and beat out your competition is not a great idea either. You won’t appear credible and people won’t remember exactly what the adjective was e.g. topcaryard.co.nz or bestdairy.nz when they try to type it in to their browser or search engine.
- Be careful that you don’t use a name that is already similar to an existing name. Businesses can become very protective of their name. Besides you don’t want your customers going to the competition confusedly thinking that they are selling your product or service.
- Your domain name should convey precisely what you are selling or marketing, so don’t choose a name that is too vague and generic. The domain name should state what it is before people even click on the link and visit your website.
- Stay away from a name that sounds too technical or unpronounceable. Fashion designer Ralph Lifshitz changed his name to Ralph Lauren and this was one thing that improved his business dramatically.
- Avoid long domain names, search engines tend to rank shorter names over longer domain names
A successful businesses domain name will generate and make a huge difference in not only the customers they receive but also in the profitability of the company if chosen thoughtfully. The secret to your perfect domain name lies in its ability to be short, memorable, pronounceable and marketable. So register a domain that uses these online marketing strategies and you’ll receive the long-term benefits. It may not come to you immediately as an idea but persevere, keep brainstorming and be original. Don’t forget it all begins with a little imagination and some creativity from you to begin to create your perfect domain name.