What is domain branding?
With a digital brand, you are giving your customers an easy, sure-fire way of recognizing you. By placing your brand name in the URL of your domain, you will leave no doubt in their mind that the email, social media share, or link has come from you. There will be no other brand name visible!
How to Choose a Domain Name
Domain names have a massive impact worldwide in terms of click-through rate, from search to social media results, to referring links, to type-in traffic, brandability, and offline advertising.
There’s a vast wealth of places that your domain name impacts your brand and your online marketing, and we can’t ignore this.
1. Make it intuitive
A good domain name gives people a firm idea of what a website will be about. Being able to look at a domain name and say, “Oh, they probably do this. This is probably what that company is up to,” is a big win.
PizzaPerfect.com, for example, is pretty apparent, intuitively about pasta, and anyone could figure that out.
2. Make it brandable
Brandable, meaning that when you hear or see the domain name, it sounds like a brand. This means that hyphens and numbers are a real problem because they don’t sound like a brand. They sound generic or strange.
For instance, if we wanted to create a pizza website that has pizza recipes and sells some pizza-related e-commerce products on it,
- Pizza-Shop.com would be hard to brand, say, or remember because it’s too generic.
- Pizza-Aficionado.com sounds brandable, is unique, but quite challenging to pronounce and type.
- PizzaLabs.com would be unique because it has a scientific connotation to it, is very brandable, unique, memorable, and stands out.
3. Make it pronounceable
A domain name needs to be pronounceable because of “processing fluency.” A cognitive bias that human beings have where we remember (and have more positive associations with) things that we can easily say and think about. That includes pronounceability in our minds.
This is going to vary on the language and region that you’re targeting.
If you can’t easily say the name, you’re going to lose processing fluency, memorability, and the benefits of brandability that you’ve created.
4. Bias towards .com
Cognitive fluency dictates that we should go with something easy that people associate with, and .com is still the primary TLD. If you want to build up a very brandable domain that can do well, you want a .com. Probably, eventually, if you are very successful, you’re going to have to try and capture it anyway, and so I would bias you to get it if you can.
If it’s unavailable, my suggestion would be to go with the .net, .co, or a known ccTLD. Those are your best bets. A known ccTLD might be something like .ca in Canada or .it in Italy.
5. Make it short
Length matters because of the processing fluency that we talk about above.
The fewer characters a domain name has, the easier it is to type, say, share, and the less it gets shortened on social media sharing platforms and search results.
Shorter is better.
6. Avoid trademark infringement
You have to be careful because it’s not whether you think your domain name could be confused. It’s whether you believe a judge in a jurisdiction where a company might take legal action against you would consider your domain name confusable.
This can also create brand confusion, which is hard for your brandability.
You should talk to an attorney or a legal professional if you have real concerns.
Trademark owners can attempt to sue a domain name owner, who’s owning the domain legitimately and using it for business purposes, and that sucks.
What are aged domains?
Aged domains are domain names that have previously been used on past websites before they were discontinued. Domain names expire all the time. This may be for several reasons…
- The original owner of the now aged domain may have forgotten to renew it
- The owner no longer needs the domain
- The domain was for a business that has since gone bust
This last example is essential. It would help if you always ruled this reason out before buying a domain (after all, you don’t want to deal with an avalanche of disgruntled creditors mistakenly seeking financial recourse for their losses!).
Those who buy aged domains will almost always pay more than the original owner, as the domain registrar typically retains them the domain was purchased from (or, in other instances, domain resellers will pick up the domain upon expiration).
Benefits of buying aged domains
Aged domains can make directory listings fast and simple
If you read about SEO, you’ll know that being listed on niched online directories is essential. Most of these directories are expensive or inaccessible nowadays.
There’s an existing directory portfolio with some aged domains, with the past owner has registered the domain with the old business name years ago. In a case like this, the new domain owner will contact the directories to update their details.
Search engines trust aged domains.
When business owners look for aged domains for sale, what they’re often really seeking is ready-made Google trust. Old domains that have been previously active in terms of the promotion will always have a better Alexa rank, Google Page Rank, and social networking shares than a brand-new domain, all of which can kickstart your marketing campaign.
Aged domains can provide a flow of traffic.
Aged domains often have many referring websites that are already linked in – which can be a valuable source of traffic if you’re careful to purchase a domain relevant for your industry.
Word of caution: Some domains will have been involved in spammy backlink building techniques and other Blackhat SEO tactics. To ensure that you don’t make a poor investment in an aged domain with dodgy backlinks, you should use a backlink checker to explore the domain’s backlink profile.
Buying aged domains – The issue of length
Many business owners and entrepreneurs face a search through aged domains for one reason – they can’t find a 4 – 5 letter domain, as they are all already registered.
While it’s certainly true that there are more aged domains than unregistered ones that come in at under six letters, purchasing an aged domain isn’t always your only option for a concise domain.
Buying an aged domain can help you target sub-niches
So far, we’ve discussed the benefits of purchasing aged domains for a new business. However, at least one situation where an aged domain can be helpful to a long-running company is where they want to target sub-niches.
For example, suppose a restaurant wanted to run more effective marketing campaigns. In that case, they may decide to target pizza lovers. A pizza-related domain would be useful (especially if it was an aged domain with existing page rank, trust, and an established backlink portfolio).
How to spot brandable aged domains
Now that you found out how a brandable domain should be like, I suggest checking aged domains before registering a new domain.
There are several places where you can find aged domains: Marketing Forums, Domain MarketPlaces, and private brokers.
I suggest using an expired domain finder tool to go through the listings and select the best one for you.
Using a tool like this, you will see all the listings from multiple market places in one place along with social media stats, SEO stats, domain age, asking price or auction start price, traffic details.
You have everything you need to select the best available domain for your brand.