9 best practices for branding your small business with a domain name

Your website domain name is more important that you think. Here, James Cummings outlines the 9 things to consider when registering your website.

Many people often underestimate the value of a well-thought out domain name. With a powerful domain name, your business can brand itself without the extra effort. Not that you wouldn’t need to, but a smart domain name can speak for itself.

The first step to branding your business with a domain name is getting it right. If you know the rules, you will avoid common mistakes such as including special characters like hyphens and figures (www.fastcars-4u). Or making it too long (www.effectivemuscle-enhancer.com), or worse, choosing a name as brand destructive as pen island (www.penisland.com). An ideal name is something short, meaningful and sweet like www.sweetpies.com.

When you choose a smart domain name, effective branding can follow. These are 9 ways to leverage the power of domain names.

Easy linking

Some brand names are so short and sweet, it is easy to just type them into the address bar and get what you want. For example, if I want to get the latest political news, I will simple type “Time.com” in my browser and be linked to the Time website. Easy linking not only saves people typing time, it increases the number of web traffic to your site.

If you have a long domain name, it can be discouraging, especially if your brand is not yet a popular one. Short and meaningful domain names will always win for branding.

Domain hacks

Domain hacks are not very popular but they work well for some brands. It is a smart way to shorten your domain name by using letters on either side of the dot to complete a word. When choosing a domain hack, ensure it is specific and easy to remember.

Some extensions used in domain hacks are .CO, .LY, .AM and so on. For example, www.Mona.CO, www.home.LY and www.telegr.AM. In some of these examples, the conventional way would make the domain name longer, but domain hacks correct that problem.

Call-to-Action domain names

A Call to action is a powerful way of pushing your audience to act. No SEO (or any marketer) analyst can do without one. A domain name that rings nicely off the lips can be an inadvertent but effective call to action. Use action-oriented words to tell your customers what to do.

The domain name www.buyfastcars.com is simple and straightforward. Plus, it entices people to visit your website and buy fast cars. Since we can’t put CTA buttons on print materials, or radio jingles as we would on a blog post, an actionable domain name is a good way to urge your audience to act.

Using extensions like celebrities

Recently, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) released a new set of extension possibilities that allows people get more flexible with their domain names. For example, words such as Leeds, hot, foundation, club and so on can be used as an extension. If you run a business in Leeds you can work it into your domain as a branding strategy; www.mattresses.Leeds

More common examples are seen among celebrities. Demi Lovato uses the extension “.Club” for her fan base, www.Lovato.CLUB, as does Lady Gaga whose foundation is www.BornThisWay.FOUNDATION. This is clever because it shortens the domain name and tells people it is a foundation.

Plan a marketing campaign using a specific domain name

Branding is an efficient way to drive awareness and visibility about what your business does. If you are currently running a marketing campaign, you can register a domain name specifically to engage new and existing customers. Brands now register .org domains that are relevant to their niche and to their campaigns.

According Brendan of Free Parking, this is a common trend for many digital marketing campaigns.

“Many of our customers register separate domain names to promote a campaign despite their existing website. Last month, a juice manufacturing brand registered their “Juicy July” campaign to promote it as a month for natural fruit juices,” he said.

Brand-owned domain extensions

This is like the Demi Lovato and Lady Gaga domain names. Brands can choose to work in their brand names into the domain name for memorability. However, this works if your brand name is concise. Consider Jake’s Extreme Muscle Enhancer®, the domain name would be www.jakesextrememuscle.ENHANCER. The extension does little to affect the domain in any positive way.

Conversely, brand names like BMW and NIKE can easily use www.smart.BMW and www.Go.NIKE respectively. This works nicely because they are short and memorable brand names.

Give you domain name a meaning

Do you have a cause attached to your brand? You can tie a message that is relevant to your brand into a domain name. When customers see it, they have an idea of what you stand for. In the previous example www.smart.BMW, it can be quickly deduced that BMW is advocating for sustainability with its range of eco-friendly smart cars.

However, this will only be ideal if your brand name is memorable and concise. If BMW wasn’t already a popular car brand, people would wonder what the connection between “smart” and “BMW” was.

Social media profile linking

Most social media profiles are long, ambiguous and platform-focused. As a brand with a key eye for branding, you can reset this to your advantage with a dedicated domain name. Simply register a domain name specific to your social media account and link it to the profile. This way, when people click the link, they are pointed to your social media page.

It allows you to brand your business through social media while growing and interacting with your fan base on these platforms. Common examples include www.lyft.LIVE or www.zlatan.FOOTBALL.

Get customised email addresses

Emails are a very reliable means for business communications. According to a report by marketing research firm, Radicati Group, about 205 billion emails are sent every day. Imagine the opportunity this presents for branding and exposure of your business.

While people often use the signature at the bottom of their email to brand their business, having a branded email address from your domain name is more feasible. This is because, people will have to open your mail to see the signature brand. But we know that not every mail is opened, let alone read. However, with an email address such as james@Leeds.REALTOR, the recipient is immediately privy to your brand right from the incoming notification.

As you think up ingenious ways to promote your brand, consider the benefits that come with registering smart domain names. Remember, it must be short and meaningful to work effectively.

James Cummings is the CEO of Daily Posts.

See also: What to consider when choosing a domain name

James Cummings

I am a business psychologist with extensive experience of the tech, finance and recruitment sectors. As CEO of Daily Posts Copywriting I am overseeing the expansion of the company around the world. There...

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