With explosion of the dot.com economy, the only businesses that thrive are those that have devised strategies to serve their customers online. In the business world, the value of brands sometimes accounts for more than 50% of the value of the company. This enhances the importance of a business having a coherent online marketing strategy which will help in choosing the right domain name that works for the online world while still retaining the essence of the business’ brand.
Here are 15 important elements to consider when choosing a domain name for your business.
1. Simplicity and Memorability
Just like your business name, brand, and anything that you want to achieve top-of-mind awareness in the market. You must keep it simple, easy to pronounce and remember. As much as possible, shorten it to the lowest possible denominator, but remember to retain your brand name and unique identifier.
2. Let It Speak To What You Do
Include your brand name and possibly what you do in your domain name. There is no need to keep people who encounter your domain name guessing what you do. Eg. A travel and tours business should indicate what it company is about immediately after anyone comes in contact with it.
3. Simple Spelling and Pronunciation
This is not a time to pick up fancy words from other languages. Neither it is a time to adopt indigenous names that might be hard to pronounce or complicated to spell. For example, a law firm called Adebowale Adebowale and Partners – choosing www.adebowaleadebowaleandpartners.com as a domain name might be counterproductive.
4. Consistency is the Key Word
Take particular attention to the brand’s visual identity in choosing a domain name and subsequent design. Make sure that your brand colours are reflected in your website design. It is advisable to consult a professional branding or marketing agency to create a brand bible for your business. Consistency in branding trumps perfection with design and colour scheme.
5. Use Only Letters
Remember #1. Simplicity. Avoid using hyphens and numbers in your domain name. People will, most likely than not, forget the hyphen. In the online world, symbols and numbers tend to have implications. So unless your brand name is 7Up, choosing a domain name with numbers may be counterproductive.
6. Try to Stick to dot.com
Dot.com rule the world. So, it would make sense for a business to stick to dot.com as its primary domain name. Com stands for commercial, anyway. Non-profits could opt for dot.org and schools could choose dot.edu, while governments could go for dot.gov.
7. Ensure Availability on Critical Platforms
Before registering a domain, check to make sure that the .net. .org, .ng, and others are available for you to buy and own. Also, make sure the domain is available on social media platforms to use as your username.
8. Avoid One-Year Registration
Though one-year registration is the minimum requirement, consider registering your domain name for more than one year. Five to ten years is recommended.
9. Be Conscious of Copyright Issues
Always do a copyright check before choosing a domain name so you don’t use a word that is copyrighted or owned by another entity who would come after you and get your website shut down.
10. Choose a Reputable and Responsive Registrar
Many registrars popped up online with the explosion of the online business world. Not all of them are reliable businesses. Before choosing a domain name registrar, consider the company’s business practices. Do they have a live customer chat service, do they respond to emails, and is there a phone number they can be reached on? Also, what added security features does the registrar offer? Will your domain name be secure and hacking-proof? Check online reviews for the registrar before taking the leap.
11. Set Up Automatic Redirects
If you already have domain names and are rebranding, remember you can set up redirects to automatically take visitors to your new website. Also, in #7, we suggested you buy the dot.net, and dot biz, and dot.org of your domains. All these domains should redirect to the main domain.
12. Choose A Dependable Hosting Service
Your hosting provider is a critical component of your website. This cannot be overemphasized. Get a hosting company that is reliable. Check reviews of the various hosting services, pay attention to customer service and how many times the servers were shut down.
13. Take Your SEOs Seriously
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a means of registering your website with global search engines and taking steps to make your website more accessible to your customers. It can be quite complex and most companies engage an SEO expert to work on their optimization.
14. Use Email From Your Domain
Isn’t it weird to receive an email from a company from a Gmail, Yahoo, or Hotmail account? Solidify your online presence by creating various company email accounts with your domain name. Eg. [email protected]
15. Trademark Your Brand Name
Take a cue from Facebook, Coca-Cola, Apple, and just about any major brand in the world and trademark your brand name. This will protect your domain name and make it difficult for website clones and copycats to steal your thunder.
Online business accounts for more than 50% of turnover for companies today. Its importance means that your need to invest in your online business to see that your website and social media presence are professional, reflect your brand visual identity, are safe and secure for transactions, and you can be easily found by your customers. Good luck.
Ubokobong ‘Jackie’ Uko is the Managing Editor of The Trent, one of Nigeria’s most influential newspapers. She is a writer, activist, and unrelenting advocate for equality, social justice, and peace. She can be reached by email HERE.