Registering the right domain name can do several important things for your business: assign value and authority to your company; bolster branding and marketing opportunities; and help you rank on Google. A bad domain, alternatively, can set your plans way, way back.
Sure, you can always rebrand in the future—but it’s much better (not to mention cheaper) to get your domain name right the first time. Keeping that in mind, here are a few dos and don’ts to consider while chasing the perfect URL.
Do Be Memorable—but Don’t Overcomplicate Your Domain
If potential customers can easily forget your domain name or misspell it, that’s a bad sign. Keep your domains short and sweet (e.g. Shoes.com, ArtGrants.org, Litter.Sucks), and avoid using numbers, symbols, emojis or homonyms where possible. There’s nothing worse than having to spell out your domain for potential customers, so avoid URLs like 4TheLuv-Of-Shoes.com at all costs. Complicated domains are also likely to get lost in search—especially if other brands are paying big bucks to be associated with certain keywords.
Do Stay True to Your Brand—but Don’t Infringe on Others
This one seems obvious, but we’ll say it anyway: don’t steal other peoples’ ideas. There are countless brands and trademarks that already exist in the wild, so it’s important for you to do your due diligence—and your research—before registering a domain. Check the trademark electronic search system (TESS) to make sure your brand name, product name or URL doesn’t resemble anyone else’s.
That said, using trademarked names in combination with a greater message may be okay in some instances—for example, as a form of protest. Using Olam.Sucks or Mondelez.Sucks to speak out against slave labor is totally okay in our books (in fact, we encourage it).
Do Register Multiple Domains—and Don’t Stop at .com
Sometimes you can’t grab a .com URL for your website, and that’s okay! In fact, many brands own their standard .com as well as other country code top-level domains and new generic top-level domains that can be industry-specific, like Dominos.Pizza or Guggenheim.Museum. When it comes to building your domain strategy, make sure to cover all your bases (even if you don’t need to yet). You should, for instance, be quick to register domains that can support your future marketing efforts; we have a few ideas for how Bioré could have used Charcoal.Sucks for a recent campaign.
Do Prepare for Anything—and Don’t Box Yourself In
So you’ve developed a new product and have a great domain and brand name. It all makes sense for what you have in the works now…but what about the future? Make sure you and your team ask these questions before settling on a URL:
- What do we want this brand to become in 5, 10, 25 years?
- What areas might our company expand into?
- What countries do we intend to serve in the future?
- What if something goes wrong and we have to pivot our focus?
No matter how you answer the above, the domain name you’ve selected should still fit. You won’t want to settle for something that traps you within a certain niche, product, direction or service. The goal of a new company is always to grow, grow, grow! Don’t let your domain name be the one thing holding you back.
Your domain name is your identity, your SEO touchpoint and your marketing tool. Sticking with the first idea that pops into our head is rarely the best plan. Instead, study these domain name dos and don’t, carefully consider your options and then sleep on it. It’s crucial that you choose something that meets all of your needs—immediately and in the future.
Learn more about how a proper domain strategy can empower your brand or search for an available .SUCKS domain.
Photo Credits: Drazen Zigic / Shutterstock, Volodymyr_Shtun / Shutterstock, GaudiLab / Shutterstock.