The idea has been formed in your mind for the next great online success story and it’s finally backed a sprinkling of time and motivation. All that’s left to do is choose a name and begin the empire. But how important is this step and could it even be a deciding factor between success and failure?
There’s little doubt that online business is booming. The web is our collective best friend and with so many of us running for the search bar every time we have the slightest need, want, desire or inane query – don’t worry we’ve Googled ourselves – competition to appear before us and facilitate our wishes has become ferocious. Google searches carried out daily are estimated at three billion. Yes, that’s … billion. And servicing these endless requests for goods, services and information are the websites attached to 233 million domain names currently registered.
So how does anyone make their voice heard in what has become a very crowded room? And is there a way of gaining an advantage simply by having ‘the right’ domain name?
The truth is, maybe obviously, yes. Can a domain be the making or breaking of a new business? The answer to that isn’t so straightforward and will depend on several other factors, including the nature of the business. Put another way, an ‘ideal’ domain name for an individual business may well help that business find online customers, but it will certainly not alone be enough to guarantee success.
While the $14million price tag for SEX.com made a great water cooler talking point, from a practical business standpoint, one has to assume that somewhere along the line the numbers were crunched and it was thought to be a sound investment which would reap profits simply through the enormous level of traffic that that word alone would generate.
There are a few general points to consider when choosing a great business domain. Of course, there will always be those which prosper when their domain is uh … ill considered. Looking for a pen? Try www.penisland.net – that’s Pen Island, a US pen supplier.
The tips for choosing an ‘ideal’ domain
The right suffix – .co.uk is a must for businesses based in the UK. With Google UK dominating the search market and favouring UK-specific sites, this is an immediate advantage. For those with aspirations to go global, having the .com prefix also will ensure no negative connotations of a business being country specific.
Simplify – even though the availability of short and ‘simple’ domains is diminishing rapidly, always bear in mind, the easier a domain is to remember and spell correctly the better. No Welsh Villages.
Misspellings – Although ‘clever spellings’ of many common words are now being adopted for domains due to increasing scarcity of unregistered names, a business domain which is too clever and can be easily misspelled will act like a hose with a hole, constantly leaking traffic. Where possible keep it simple and relevant and if a domain has the potential to be misspelled, consider buying up common misspellings of your domain and pointing them to the main site.
Build your portfolio – As a way of limiting any potential for trademark infringement down the road, it can be worth purchasing several of the most popular suffixes of a domain i.e. .co.uk, .com & .net.
Get rich (with keywords) – Choosing a keyword rich domain, as the name suggests, means to incorporate keywords relevant to your business. For businesses looking to scoop the majority of their traffic from Google rather than word of mouth, this is an important consideration.
The use of keywords in a domain has many benefits including:
- Domain names with keywords can significantly increase the visibility of a website. They also give a clear idea to customers and search engines about what your website’s focus is.
- Keyword domains are the easiest form of online advertising which can help to drive more traffic to your website as long as the keywords are relevant.
What’s in a name?
While a domain may not be the defining factor in business success or failure, it certainly has a part to play. The nature of each different business and how it will individually operate will ultimately dictate the significance and value of its online address.
Proper consideration, research and using best practice guides are the best tools to make the best decision. And when you do go about pinning down your market targeted, catchy, easy-to-spell, keyword laden, brand specific slice of internet real estate, unfortunately you’ll have to bear in mind that http://www.llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyll-llantysiliogogogoch.com/ – is already registered.