Branding Your Site
Have you ever wondered what your website’s name says about your brand? Coming up with a good name for your site is an important part of your branding. While choosing a domain name isn’t the be all and end all of good branding, it does, however, lay out the foundation of one.
For a website, your domain name should give visitors a good idea of what your site is about. It’s basically the rough equivalent of a sign you see outside of any physical establishment. Thus, it’s important that your site’s name leaves a good and lasting impression to those visiting it.
Effects of Good Branding
Creating a good brand can be quite a challenge, but it’s not without its benefits.
- Familiarity and Loyalty – A good brand is one that’s easily recognized. In some cases, they’re practically synonymous to a particular product or service that the brand specializes in. Apple is recognized for its wearables and mobile devices as much as Coca-Cola is known for its soda products. This kind of familiarity breeds customer loyalty as well; with happy customers sticking exclusively to their favorite brands.
- Improved Image Commands Better Pricing – Because people tend to stick to a brand that they’re familiar with, this builds a solid image in their heads of a premium product or service. Even if what you’re offering isn’t the cheapest in the market, because you have such a stellar reputation, people will still endorse you just the same. After all, nobody wants to stick to a low quality brand if all they’ll get is an equally bad product.
- Customer Trust – Aside from customer loyalty, the trust that you build with a good brand can go a long way. Between choosing a trusted brand and one without as much reliability, people will most likely flock towards the former. The same applies with company brands as well. Telling people that you work at Microsoft does tend to pop out in conversations.
- Easier to Branch Out – If you’re looking to open a new company or product line, it’s much easier for people to adapt to it if you’ve already built a name for yourself. This is because you’ve already proven yourself in the past, so it’s most likely that you’ll succeed with whatever future endeavors you launch as well. While it can be a struggle to build a good brand, once you’re at the top of your game, things only get easier from there.
By creating a good brand, you improve your own position in whatever market you’re competing in. While creating this killer brand is more than just thinking up of a good name, it does start with a building a foundation of trust and recognition that your audience should hold on to.
Getting a Custom TLD Extension or Not?
In 2014, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) introduced a new way for site owners to brand their websites by creating their top level domain (TLD) extensions. Instead of sticking to the typical .com or .net extensions, it’s now possible to get more creative with your site’s naming convention.
The website of Google’s own parent company, Alphabet, uses the unconventional URL of www.abc.xyz. Many sites followed suit with their own unique domain extensions like .tech for technology sites or .estate for real estate sites. However, this new way of naming websites does come with a few pros and cons.
While personalized TLDs are great for creating a unique brand, it can be quite costly. Also, years of familiarity has conditioned many Internet users to only recognize the usual domain name extensions like .com. As a result, there hasn’t been a high adoption rate to the custom TLDs over the years.
Does this mean that custom TLDs aren’t worth investing in? If you’ve already built a good brand and want to use an alternative URL that solidifies this further, then it might not be a bad idea to get the TLD that you want for your site. After all, this is exactly what big names like Apple and Google did. New trends pop up very quickly in the vast digital landscape, so reserving your alternative URL might be in your best interest in the long run.
Tips on Choosing a Domain Name
- Easy to Remember
Choosing a domain name is more than just picking a fancy name to impress others. It’s mostly making sure that your brand is both easy to remember but unique enough to make it stand out. Sounds pretty challenging, right?
There are actually some simple guidelines to make sure that your domain name hits both criteria:
- Avoid using numbers, hyphens, or special symbols
- Don’t make it too long; if your brand can fit in five syllables instead of five words, then better
- Try using words that are pronounceable since this helps make your brand easier to recall
- Use a .com Domain
Despite the option of getting a TLD extension for your site, nothing beats familiarity like a .com domain. As previously mentioned, .com is still considered the most recognized TLD available and familiarity is a big factor in making something brandable. Of course, in terms of SEO, there’s nothing wrong with switching to a customized domain extension down the line, but it’s still recommended to go with a .com if possible.
If a .com domain is unavailable, you can always go with a .net or a known country code TLD (ccTLD) like .ph if you’re from the Philippines.
- Indicative of Your Brand
When creating a memorable domain name, it’s best to give people a good idea of what the site is all about with just one look of your brand name. For example, if you have a site named autolabs.com, you’d probably deduce that it has something to do with automobiles.
A vague or a misleading name that doesn’t describe your site or your business may be harder to remember. It’s not to say that these types of names don’t have any recall value. After all, Google and Apple are two of the most recognized brands in the world. However, these two brands are built on the back of years of quality products and services. If you’re just starting out, it might be a better idea to go for the more intuitive brand name rather than the fancy one.
- Check for Similar Domain Names
While looking for a domain name that isn’t already taken, you should also make sure that your chosen brand doesn’t create confusion with an already existing one. This can spell trouble in terms of trademark infringement if you aren’t careful.
The last thing you want to happen is to have someone sue you over a domain name that they’re already using for business purposes. Always take the time to look into other brands that might be similar to your own, as well as consult a legal professional if you’re really concerned about it.
- Use Broad Keywords
For the purposes of SEO, it’s also a good idea to have some part of domain name include your preferred keywords. However, try not to settle on an exact or partial match keyword for your domain name. For instance, buycheapprinters.com might raise some red flags, but something broader like printables.com might stand a better chance of getting clicked on.