Devising domain names is a combination of art, science and strategy.
In order to get it right you’ll need to use your imagination as well as your business sensibility. There is no shortage of advice regarding domain names on the Internet. So much advice, in fact it’s easy to get overwhelmed, particularly if you are new to the game.
To make it simple, (and simplicity is essential) there are three rules that will serve you better than most:
1) Make your domain name short
There is nothing that will make people forget your domain faster than a long domain name. www.johnwashereyesterdaybuthesgonetoday.com is not going to attract anyone to your site!
2) Make it Simple to Pronounce
Hopefully you will be in the world networking, and mentioning your domain name to everyone it makes sense to tell.
If you choose a domain name that is hard to pronounce or is made up of characters that spell a word incorrectly, you’re going to send traffic to someone that isn’t you.
3) Don’t try to “borrow” an established brand name!
This may sound quite obvious, but from my experience (observing legal proceedings) it must not be.
Do yourself a favor and conduct a trademark search before you purchase a domain name. One sure way to get a “cease and desist” letter from a legal firm is to infringe on another company’s moniker.
I’ll throw in a few more pearls of wisdom, all of which were learned the hard way!
Think long and hard about what your domain name means to you and your business. If it isn’t your business name, it should be something memorable about your firm. If you utilize a tag line such as “Just Do It” make sure you’re going to hang onto the phrase for a while.
Nothing is more stale than last years marketing message.
Most new businesses do not have an extra several thousand dollars laying around to invest in their domain name. Speculators in the business purchased more words/names than you can imagine.
If you run a search for single word actions, you will find that most are taken, but can be yours for the tidy sum of $10,000.
I promise, it is not worth it!
I once spent about $4000.00 to buy a domain name from someone in the middle of nowhere who had never used it. He was an early domain name speculator who happened to have registered the name I decided to call my company.
I paid for it, and guess what?
A few short years later I sold the company, and the domain name was not used by the new owner. That 4K disappeared, along with my former company name.
A marketing master named Seth Godin suggests an interesting idea, and that is to create a domain name that a brand can be built around. You can make up a name that means nothing, and build a campaign around it. You may already know this, but the word “Haagen Dazs” has no meaning in any language.
If you are a new business owner without a lot of marketing experience under your wheels I would not recommend this strategy!
For anyone new to the art, science and strategy of choosing a domain name you will find that the process is more involved and time consuming than you’d expect.
It is well worth the investment of resources to choose your domain name carefully, and give real consideration to the marketing strategy you’ll embrace to promote it.