Domain Name: Essential Requirements

Your domain name (www.mycompany.com) serves multiple roles so it is critical to choose the best possible domain name for your website the first time. Choosing a domain name requires time, thought and consideration. A domain name can make or break your business. So a domain name should have qualities such as

• It should be kept short and sweet.
• It should typically reflect your business name and/or what you offer.
• If possible, use a .com name but don’t shy away from .biz or any of the hundreds of other TLD’s
• It should not contain hyphens, numbers or acronyms

Based on the above qualities of a better Domain Name, the following are some of the recommendations to be considered while choosing a Domain Name:

1. Brandable:

Your domain name is a reflection of your company in the form of a URL, so it is important to ensure that the name actually sounds like a brand. In order to make a domain name brandable, hyphens and numbers are a real problem because they don’t sound like a brand and they tend to look cheap and generic.

2. Pronounceable:

Even though users aren’t likely to be saying your domain name out loud, pronounceability is still important. This is because of something called processing fluency: the ease with which our brains can process and retain information. 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.

3. Bias towards .com:

Cognitive fluency dictates that we should go with something easy, that people have an association 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. If you can’t find a good .com domain name, you’ll need to weigh the advantages of a .com versus a more descriptive or appropriate name that people won’t as easily remember because of the TLD.

4. Avoid trademark infringement

You have to be careful because it’s not whether you think your domain name could be confused with another business, it’s whether you think a judge in a jurisdiction, where a company might take legal action against you, would consider your domain name too close to another business’ branding that it is confusing to the public. And of course, if it creates brand confusion that’s not good for your brandability. Talk to an attorney or a legal professional if you have real concerns.
Trademark owners can attempt to sue a domain name owner if they think the domain encroaches on their brand even when the business owns a domain name legitimately and is using it for business purposes.

6. Make it instantly intuitive:

The ideal domain name should give users a good idea of what your business is all about. A good domain name gives people a strong 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. The exception to this is a domain name that you are intending to promote such that it becomes something memorable and associated with your site. Some of the most popular domain names break the intuitive rule – google.com, facebook.com, linkedin.com, twitter.com, etc. But these companies made their domain name their business name and spent a lot of time and money promoting their domain.

7. Use sensible keywords:

It’s true that having some keywords in your domain name can help. However, you shouldn’t bend over backward to include exact match phrases. Doing so can actually affect your brand. Keywords in a domain name can help with the cognitive fluency bias and also can be valuable from an SEO perspective, but Google has been biasing away from these exact match and partial match domains, but the anchor text you get from people linking to your domain can help.

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