Module 1: Domain Research
What’s in a name? Your brand is more than just a name. It’s the face of your business.
Choose a name that you can brand.
Your name cannot be so generic that it isn’t brandable. You want to stay away from hyphens and numbers because they are difficult to brand.
Let’s say you and I are going to start a business that has cupcake recipes. If I say I have cupcake-shop.com, well, that’s very difficult to brand. It’s generic and the hyphen will be a pain for those searching for your business.
Looking at the 4 options above…
I would stay away from CupcakeRecipesOnline.com. Too long and too generic. BestCupcakes.com is a little better. CupcakeAfficianado is certainly brandable and unique but it’s challenging to say.
CupcakeLabs.com would be my choice of these options. It’s very brandable, unique, memorable and it stands out. It sounds kind of scientific and there are a lot of options to play off that name.
Try to keep it short.
A long name is often difficult to pronounce and remember. Obviously you need to look at all the other factors we are discussing here but length is important. The shorter the name is, the easier it is to type.
Looking at the 3 examples above, MyCupcake.com is nice and short but it may be too generic. Abbreviating a word like CupcakeSci.com is a very difficult spelling to remember and it just doesn’t sound good. In this case I would actually go with CupcakeScience.com.
Stick with .com if possible.
While there are now many top-level domains (TLDs) available now, .com is still the most recognized extension on the internet. We are starting to see many more clever TLDs but you are still better off with what people are accustomed to. If you are not able to get .com then consider a .net, .co or another popular TLD.
Be sure you won’t have copyright or trademark issues.
The last thing you want to do is spend the time and money to develop a brand only to find out that it already exists. There a couple of issues here.
First, if you have a name that be closely associated with an existing brand you could create confusion for your customers and potential customers.
Second, there could be legal issues if you name is too closely associated with an existing brand. If you are unsure then you should consult an attorney to avoid any legal problems.
If your name isn’t available it’s okay to modify or append it.
Your .com may not be available but that’s okay. Think about some easy ways to change up your name and still have it fit your business. Let’s say your brand name is Jake’s Java.
In this case, if JakesJava.com was not available there are quite a few directions you could go with the domain. The .Cafe extension is available and I like the length and it’s clever. I’m not crazy about the .net. JakesJavaShop isn’t bad but I think I would go with CoffeeWithJake.com. This domain is easy to remember and it uses the keyword coffee which would be good for this business.
It’s very important however to not get too cute with the name. One common mistake is to use an unusual spelling of a common word. Examples would be…
This is extremely confusing and is very difficult to brand. You don’t want to have your customers having to spell out your name every time they tell friends about it.