How To Choose A Domain Name

Are you planning a new website or maybe trying to improve your existing one and want to know how to choose a domain name that will be most beneficial for all aspects of internet marketing? Here is my guide that highlights all the things you should be considering from a marketing perspective when purchasing a domain.

A Memorable Domain

There are a number of factors that will determine how memorable your domain will be, for starters think about the length of the domain you are considering and how easy it will be to explain it to someone verbally, or worse over a poor phone line!

A Domain with built in SEO

There was a trend a while back for companies to use misspellings of words for their name now that was fine visually and to capture the imagination, perhaps even phonetically sensible (the sounds that the word is actually made up of rather than the true spelling) but on-line and certainly in search this can cause a number of issues.

Firstly search engines often automatically correct misspellings meaning that you could be creating an uphill battle for yourself if you choose to take this route. Don’t forget to watch out for abbreviations too, searchers are often lazy!

Secondly use of words as they are normally spelt are more likely to get you random search successes particularly where the wording includes sub words as part of the spelling e.g. ‘newspaper’ includes the word ‘news’ – 2 for the price of one!

Scope of the Domain

Think about the suffix of the domain you considering compared to your target market, extensions like .com, .net and .org are all global domains but if your target market is the UK you should look to .co.uk or .uk.com country specific domains. In addition, if your business only services a particular area then make sure, if possible, that your domain references the region or town that you service.

A Domain that supports your Branding

Choosing a domain that links in well with your brand image is critical, ensure that you don’t simply consider your current strapline, think about where the business is going and which market you wish to target. Don’t forget it may not be as simple or as easy as buying a single domain based on the company name especially if become more well known for your product e.g. RIMM who make the Blackberry.

Domain Disasters: Intellectual Property

A word of warning for the impetuous, you need to be careful when choosing a domain name to ensure that you don’t inadvertently use or infringe another company’s trademark. In the UK you can check with the intellectual property office through their online search facility to see if another organisation has the same or very similar words trademarked in the industry you are intending to target. This can be a very expensive mistake, since not only may you have to re-brand but damages may be awarded.

In the UK you can even be accused of ‘passing off’ if you use branding too close to an existing brand whether they have a trade mark or not. Make sure you research companies house and the search engines to find out the usage of the words in your planned domain before you register.

Andrew Rayner is the Director and Founder of online marketing consultancy E-mphasis. Andrew’s expertise lies within the technological side of marketing, through utilising computers and the Internet to create the best office and business environments. He works closely with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), claiming that this is no ‘black art’ – it takes appropriate applied skill and knowledge. He is highly regarded as an expert in the field of natural SEO and is regularly invited to speak on the topic at conferences and events. Andrew and the team at E-mphasis have pioneered an innovative use of Google Maps and online business listings to create highly targeted Local Internet Marketing strategies. Local Internet Marketing is a hugely untapped area of marketing strategy and one which is now beginning to generate interest and excitement from major UK retail brands.