In 2010, Facebook acquired the domain name ‘fb.com’ from the non-profit American Farm Bureau for a staggering USD$ 8.5 million. And, for that sum, it redirects visitors to Facebook (you can try it out for yourself).
Buying or registering domains works from a marketing standpoint. In the case of Facebook, they’d want to redirect visitors who mistakenly type ‘fb.com’ to Facebook, on top of preventing copycats or competitors from drawing traffic away. Given that it’s a USD$ 7-billion market in the U.S., it’s no surprise that companies scramble to secure domains with profitable potential.
As domains grow more expensive over time, it becomes more important to put your money where it’s worth. Aim for one that customers will remember impulsively, which is more than just slapping your business name and adding ‘.com’ to the end. Here are several factors to consider when looking for the right domain name.
What To Consider When Registering A Domain
1. The Website
The overall structure and design of a website arguably exert the most influence over registering a domain. Visitors want nothing less of the fullest experience, from quality content to a convenient feedback system.
In this case, it pays to have a reliable paid or free website builder. The tools it contains consistently keep up with the changing rules of website design and SEO, leaving users with making the websites they envision without worry. Having useful features in the website can encourage business owners to also invest in memorable domain names.
2. The Name
Domain names generally fall under one of two categories: discoverable or brandable.
Discoverable domain names allow users to find the name by searching using keywords and specific phrases. Examples such as ‘plumber.com’ and ‘engineer.com’ are easy enough to come across when searching for ‘plumber’ and ‘engineer.’
Brandable domain names, on the one hand, establish unique identities and evoke specific ideas. These names work well for a business with a memorable name, like Google or Yahoo, which establishes credibility in the market.
Both categories have divergent approaches to making the most out of their names. A small business would most likely opt for a discoverable domain name, relying on organic traffic for its exposure. A single-word domain name works, but a witty phrase associated with the business is just as useful.
Businesses that already have a solid footing in the market would opt for a brandable domain name. However, it requires a bit of creativity to create a buzzword in the industry. They can replicate the success of YouTube, combining two or more words, or Flickr, deliberately misspelling a term. Whatever kind of domain name you choose, experts say quality content will help with exposure.
3. Top-Level Domain (TLD)
Since its introduction in 1985, along with four others, the TLD ‘.com’ has reigned supreme. As of this writing, ‘.com’ websites make up 35% of all active websites worldwide, followed by the TLD ‘.cn’ (for China-based websites) at just 5%. Among the pioneer TLDs (.com, .edu, .gov, .mil, .org, and .arpa), ‘.org’ comes in second at a paltry 2.6%.
The use of ‘.com’ is so widespread that it’s a sensible choice for a TLD. Last February, however, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) approved a 7% price increase for ‘.com’ domains over the next four years. While the agreement includes a two-year price freeze, ‘.com’ might cost roughly 70% more by the next decade.
Now would be an excellent time to consider other TLDs, specifically generic TLDs (gTLDs) such as ‘.charity’ or ‘.inc.’ Having a domain name with an industry-specific gTLD is an excellent way to make a domain memorable. And, there’ll be plenty to go around, as ICANN estimates that more than 1,300 gTLDs will be made available over the years.
Providing a domain name the right kind of security can be a shot in the arm in search engine results pages (SERPs). Search engines currently prefer websites that start with ‘https’ instead of ‘http,’ called HTTPS/SSL certification. According to one study, 65% of websites that appear at the top of SERPs have this security measure installed.
The ‘S’ in HTTP or hypertext transfer protocol adds a layer of encryption every time a visitor uses the website. Although quite an investment, this measure is a must for domains handling sensitive information, such as passwords and personal information. Even if your website doesn’t, it pays to have extra protection.
Don’t consider every part of your dream domain name lightly as it’ll most likely be the last domain name you’ll need. Make the most out of planning and researching for the best one your imagination can come up with. The right name will carry your business forward.