Choosing Effective Domain Names
Choosing an effective domain name is just as important as choosing a company name or even the line of business itself. There are a number of guidelines that you must adhere to that we will look at, but apart from those, you have total control and artistic license to create whatever domain name you wish. But will it work for you, or against you.
1. Domain names must contain a minimum of two characters but no more than 67.
Nobody in there right mind should want to use 67 characters in their name. The more memorable your domain name is the easier it will be to remember it. Not exactly rocket science is it? Also people don’t want to type long addresses, especially if they are hard to spell. There’s nothing worse than having to look at every character in a long, hard to spell address to make sure you have spelled it correctly, only to find its wrong and you have to type it in all over again. So in my opinion, short and easy to remember and spell domain names are the best to use.
2. Domain names are not case sensitive, so www.myname.com is the same as WWW.MYNAME.COM.
This is true, but reading capitalised text is harder to read than lower case. Also the use of capitalised text on the internet is classed as shouting, and nobody likes to be shouted at.
3. Domain names can contain letters, numbers and hyphens, but no spaces. Also you can’t use hyphens as the first or last characters of your domain.
This is personal preference. Let’s take three names as examples.
As you can see this is quite hard to read. You can’t really tell where one word stops and another one starts. Don’t make your customer work too hard to find your website.
This is quite easy to read and hyphenating in this way is often used. The only problem I have with this is that you have to press the shift key to achieve the correct hyphen. You may think I’m being a little silly here but remember to cater for all users. Not everyone is computer or keyboard literate. Make things as easy as possible.
This is very easy to read. The hyphens separate the text very well, and you don’t have to use the shift key to achieve the desired hyphen, less work for the customer.
Product Name or Company Name
This isn’t an easy one to answer. If your organisation offers a multitude of products or services, your company name may be more effective. If you only have one product or service you may wish to use this as your domain. You could if you wanted too use two domains. ‘your-company-name.com’ could point to your index page and ‘your-product-name.com’ could point to your product description page. Domain name companies usually offer discounted rates for bulk domain orders so this may be the way for you.
Keyword Domain Names
Domain names containing keywords applicable to your industry will help the customer to identify what your line of business is. Also in search engines such as Yahoo, if your domain name contains keywords that you have in your title tag, you could achieve slightly higher rankings.
Use of Numbers
The use of numbers in your domain name can help your website when being included in directories. More often than not, directories list your website numerically and alphabetically. Also numbers can psychologically influence your customer into thinking you are the best. For example, ‘www.1st-website-design.com’ could possibly list you high within directories and can lead your customer into thinking you are number 1. On the other hand, ‘www.0downloads.com’ or www.0money-lenders.com doesn’t really instil confidence.
OK, there you go. As you can see it’s well worth thinking hard about your domain name. It can either reflect professionalism, instil confidence and be used as part of an effective marketing campaign. Or make you look really crappy. The choice is yours.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Martin Bradley is the Creative Director at Bullbreed Design Studio. He has worked within the design industry for over 7 years and has worked for some very prestigious clients such as; British Aerospace, T-Mobile, Orange, Vodafone, and Aston Martin.