I have to be honest. Domain names bore the heck out of me. But the things is, though they may not be the sexiest things in the world if you’re lucky enough to find a good one, it will change your life. Literally. Just ask the guy who sold business.com in 1999. Oh that’s right, he’s out of range sailing somewhere in the Pacific on a multi-million dollar, fully-crewed yacht. But I digress…
I wrote a blog in 2007 about the importance of creating a good domain name that is both memorable and improves one’s chances of attracting qualified website traffic. Even in those days, good domains especially in .com were already scarce, snapped up by early internet adopters as well as savvy entrepreneurs who traded domain names at jaw-dropping price tags.
Then in June 2008, the highly regulated Australian domain space (com.au) loosened its rules on domain ownership, allowing businesses to onsell their domain names for a profit. That marked the start of the domain name drought in com.au.
It’s no wonder a business that is just now embracing the online space could be at some disadvantage. But not if you know how to name a good domain.
So when I saw my friend Kent’s Facebook status update that cried “the good ones are all taken”, I thought I’d help.
Here are some handy tips. These won’t turn you into a multi-millionaire overnight. But it could help boost your overall marketing efforts which helps you sell more, thereby earning you more profits, and hopefully make you rich.
1. Use keywords
Small businesses don’t have the budget to build a brand like Apple, Virgin or Dick Smith. However, a well-researched keyword domain name helps to capture a market that is actively searching online. And it may open up a completely different kind of market for your product or service.
While clever marketing folks and creative directors have a tendency to conjure up cool, funky domain names nobody can spell, it may be smarter to use keywords. Keyword-rich domains help to boost a website’s visibility on search engines as it tends to get ranked highly.
2. Get creative with variations
OK, so it’s pretty damn hard to find keyword domains (I know!).
My friend Kent wanted a domain name for his ebook design business. So I suggested he consider variations of domain names that contain the keywords “ebook” and “design”. Together, we came up with some good variations.
Variations might include:
- turning a verb (design) into a noun (designer),
- using a plural or singular form (index vs indices)
- using prefixes (a, the, your, my our, i, e, online and so on)
- using suffixes (store, shop, online, centre, company and so on)
- hyphenation of words (hyphen-domain.com)
- spelling variations (center vs centre, indexes vs indices)
- misspelt versions or common typos (manoeuvre vs manourvre, angel vs angle)
There are many possibilities. Consider what is relevant to your business and get creative.
3. Use adjectives or descriptive words
Words that describe your product or service could also come in handy. The range of adjectives you can use is abundant. All that’s needed is a bit of imagination.
- Colours – red, green
- Sizes – big, small
- Shapes – round, circular
- Qualities – light, fast, fresh, professional
- Time-related – weekly, monthly
- Age-related – new, used, second-hand
- Noise-related – loud, quiet, noisy
- Touch-related – soft, smooth
- Taste-related – yummy, sweet
- Origin / Location – European, European-made
- Superlatives – cheapest, newest and so on
If you were running a dressmaking business specialising in ballroom gowns, a good domain name might be latinballroomgowns.com (it’s available as at 25 March 2011).
Some good examples: www.affordablewebdesigns.com.au, www.freshproducegroup.com
4. Claim your geographic market
It may sound like a bit of a repeat from above. But it’s important to understand that using this strategy is an effective means to reach a captive online audience in your target geographic markets. By adding a geographic description to your domain, you are actually be homing in on highly qualified website traffic. After all, you wouldn’t be interested in website visitors from Paris when your business capability is limited to Victoria or only within the Melbourne area.
A Melbourne-based construction business specialising in structural steel fabrication could, for example, consider the domains “melbournesteelfabricators” and “structuralsteelcompany”
Here are some good examples:
www.melbourneplumbers.com.au – who said tradies are behind the eight ball when it comes to the internet?
www.adelaideoutdoors.com.au – this is an Adelaide-based landcape design business
5. Consider other domain spaces