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Different  domain extensions

Branding tips for choosing your company and domain name

  • Keep the name short and memorable
  • Choose a .com or country specific domain name
  • Ensure the name contains a keyword
  • No numbers, hyphens or other special characters
  • Don’t use misspellings
  • Leave room for business expansion

While absolutely relevant, this guide isn’t just about creating a name for cloud computing or signing up for a Google workspace account.

Whether you’re a startup, wanting to rebrand or expand your business, the brand and domain names should be well thought out.

Your brand name and logo are the two most important considerations where consumer recognition is concerned. Effectively making them two sides of the same coin.

Potential customers don’t always reach our website by clicking on a link. Forums, word of mouth, social media, and company vehicles are also alternative routes to the same end.

While not essential, a brand that contains a keyword relative to our product or service can help. Let’s take a closer look at what makes a good company name

About using uppercase letters in a domain name

In the following examples I’ve used uppercase letters simply to make them more readable. However: it makes no difference.

Search engines don’t differentiate between lower and uppercase. To them, MyShop.com is exactly the same as myshop.com.

Which domain extension should I use?

Domain extensions are the suffix at the end of the domain name, such as: .com, .info, .org and .net.

These are what I’d call global extensions, with .com being the most common and the first thing that springs to mind when people are searching for a website and don’t have the full URL.

The thing we have to be wary of here is that if anyone is given a company name, and we were forced to buy a .org because .com was taken, people could instinctively type .com at the end of their search,

When registering a global extension, I would recommend only using .com. However: there are times when a country wide domain may be better.

To register countrywide domains, such as .co.uk, registrars often ask for some proof of business ownership such as company registration. I know in the UK businesses can register their postal address.

Having a country specific domain helps search engines to return results based upon location. Meaning your address could appear nearer the top of search results. It could also add a certain element of trust.

Not all country specific domain extension requirements are as rigorous as .co.uk. Some, such as .us can be registered from anywhere in the world

The .uk extension is not so easy to get hold of. Usually requiring that you purchase the .co.uk extension first.

How long should my domain name be?

When choosing a website name I, like many others, limit the length of the domain or company name to ten letters or less.

Remember it's the company name and not our personal names that our potential customers are interested in. They couldn’t care less about our first and last names,

Besides being almost impossible to keep within our limit of ten characters, personal names make remembering us more difficult.

Make your domain name memorable

By not including our names we’ve already taken the first steps to making our company name easier to recall.

Here’s what I mean: the domain WaxMelts.com would have been snapped up years ago forcing some people to add their name, instead of trying to get a more brandable name.

SallySmithsWaxMelts.com is a name that would no doubt be forgotten almost instantly. Now consider waxshop.com or MeltArt.com. Which ones would you recall more easily?

Why you shouldn't use special characters in your domain name

Using special characters in a domain or business name is a definite no no, remember new customers may be searching for us due to the recommendation of a friend.

Now we have a double whammy. Both existing and potential customers have to remember the special characters. But it gets worse: we could even be driving customers to our competitors' websites. Here’s what I mean.

Say for example the domain name “WaxShop,com” was taken, but “Wax-Shop.com” was available. Anyone searching for Wax-Shop.com but forgets the hyphen is going to be directed to WaxShop.com.

The result is that our potential customer is lost before they get through the virtual door. The fact we’re paying for the privilege of sending visitors to our competition only serves to worsen the faux pas.

Use correct spellings for your domain name

Continuing with making our name memorable, we also have to remove or limit the potential for error.

When their first choice domain name is already taken, many people may intentionally misspell parts of it. Once again creating the potential for customers to be directed elsewhere.

As an example let’s look at a similar one I used earlier, WaxShop.com. Imagine I wanted WaxShops.com, but that was taken. Instead I registered WaxShopz.com.

Anyone acting upon a verbal recommendation may use the correct spelling. Resulting in another lost customer and a happy competitor.

Why a Domain name should not be too specific

Most businesses start small and expand, often into other areas. A mistake many startups make is to be precise when choosing a domain or company name.

Imagine a startup opts for the name SportShoes.com. Then, if the business goes well, decides to start selling sports shirts and other sports clothing.

The highly specific name then turns into a bit of an own goal. The startup can either stay within the confines of their name, and so not expand, or make their original name a bit of a misnomer.

Using a pure brand domain name

This is one way of making your company spring to mind whenever they’re considering making a purchase.

Let’s take two global brands, Nike and Reebok as examples. Nothing in their name suggests that they provide sportswear, but most of us know what they sell.

Pure brand names such as these take time to become familiar, but the results are there for all to see. Advertising and marketing are focused on the name as much as the products themselves.

You may have noticed several common features about the NiKe and Reebok names:

  • They’re both consist of one short word
  • Until they became famous, the names were meaningless or even nonsensical
  • They’re easy to remember

The beauty of this method is that we don’t have to have aspirations of becoming a multinational company. It can work just as well nationally and locally.

How to generate domain names

When registering a domain and the name is taken, the provider will offer some suggestions. However: these are often worse than useless.

There are a number of online domain generators that simply require inputting a keyword. They’ll then come up with a list of suggestions of both available and already taken domains.

They’ll also provide the option to buy, but you’re not compelled to buy from them. They are usually resellers and may leave you open to skullduggery when renewal time comes around.

You can purchase the domain from any registrar, such as namesilo.com or name.com.