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Choosing Your Domain Name

Learn more about why choosing a domain name is a significant decision that has the potential to shape the future of your business.
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Dean

ezwebs.co.uk _  Image Name Choosing a domain name for your website is a significant decision that has the potential to shape the future of your business.

It’s not just about having an address on the world wide web; a quality domain name is an important branding tool that represents your business identity, driving both visibility and recognition online.

As such, it is vital to put plenty of thought into selecting a domain name that aligns with your business and its personality.

In this digital era, an increasing number of businesses have realised the importance of aligning their domain name with their branding.

There are also many business who went one step further and rebranded their business to match a great domain name (as opposed to attempting to find a domain that fits their pre-existing business name).

1. The ‘Dot Com’ Misconception

ezwebs.co.uk _  Image Name A common assumption is that the ‘.com’ extension is essential to drive SEO performance and credibility.

However, research carried out by Google shows no particular advantage of choosing a ‘.com’ domain over a cheaper extension (provided that the extension is still actually relevant to your website).

Google has confirmed this in their SEO guidelines and various articles published over the last 10 years stating that their crawler software treats the newer generic top-level domains (gTLDs) the same as traditional ones like ‘.com’ or ‘.org’ when they rank pages in search results.

This means that domains like ‘.io’, ‘.ai’, ‘.shop’, ‘.tech’, etc., can be just as effective as ‘.com’ domains in driving SEO performance. Particularly if they align better with your business type or geographical focus.

2. Business Alignment and Personality

ezwebs.co.uk _  Image Name Your domain name should reflect your business and its personality.

It is known that the connection between the domain name and the underlying real-world business positively impacts the perceived credibility and trustworthiness of a website and this can impact SEO rankings and other important factors.

For example, if you are a tech startup, you might consider a ‘.io’ or ‘.ai’ extension to emphasise your tech-oriented business. If you operate a photography business, you could consider ‘.photography’. For a non-profit organisation, ‘.org’ still sends a strong signal about your purpose.

On the other hand, if you are a dog grooming business, a .edu domain might actually negatively impact your performance (unless you really are focused on selling dog-grooming courses!) and for e-commerce websites, .gov domains (that are usually reserved for civic and national government) would send misleading signals and could actually attract a lot of negative publicity that would adversely impact your search engine ranking in relevant searches.

3. The Rebranding Trend: Leveraging Great Domain Names

ezwebs.co.uk _  Image Name Lots of businesses have started building their branding around a great domain name. These companies prioritise securing a unique, memorable domain name and then rebrand their company to match this choice.

Popular examples include Dropbox, which was once GetDropbox.com, and Facebook, which started as TheFacebook.com.

These companies embraced the rebranding strategy for better alignment with their domain names, leading to increased brand memorability and enhanced online visibility.

4. Simplicity and Memorability

ezwebs.co.uk _  Image Name Overly complex domain names can be detrimental to your online presence.

Research by Microsoft and Carnegie Mellon University indicates that simpler, easier-to-remember domain names tend to perform better in terms of user engagement and retention.

Just think about how the most successful dotcom business built their value statements upon simple yet catchy domain names. There are numerous examples of this including Google, Amazon, and others.

Avoid the use of hyphens and other symbols where possible, as they can make a domain name harder to remember and more prone to typos when users try to recall your domain name from memory.

Also, opt for shorter names, as research suggests that users are more likely to recall & spell them correctly.

5. The Value vs. Cost Debate

ezwebs.co.uk _  Image Name Expensive does not necessarily equate to better when it comes to domain names.

Often, the high price tag attached to a domain is due to its age, not its quality or potential effectiveness.

Much like physical real-estate, an expensive domain may have accrued value over time due to it’s more extensive track record, not because it’s inherently better.

Cheaper domain names might seem “cheap” merely because they haven’t had the chance to accrue value through use.

Many successful businesses have used cheaper, newer domain names to great effect. For instance, Tesla started with the domain TeslaMotors.com before acquiring Tesla.com in 2016, proving that a high-value, concise domain isn’t an immediate necessity for immediate business success.

Conclusion

Choosing a domain name requires thoughtful consideration and understanding of your business and its online objectives. Despite popular misconceptions, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to this process. A ‘.com’ domain isn’t inherently superior, nor is an expensive domain name always the best choice.

The most crucial factor is the congruity between your domain name and your business. Always opt for relevance, simplicity, and memorability, even if it involves rebranding or choosing a newer, less-expensive domain name. After all, your domain name is more than an address; it’s the cornerstone of your digital identity.

When it comes to domain names, the only constant is change. As technology and user behaviours evolve, so too will best practices for choosing domain names. As business owners, we must stay informed, flexible, and ready to adapt to the ever-changing digital landscape.


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Dean Benton

Dean is EZWebs founder and a long time business & technology wonk.

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