It really pays to do the research on a domain name. This is your opportunity to showcase your Brand in the digital space, you only have one chance to build trust with a visitor – so make it count. The right domain name will be a wise investment but it can be hard to change once your website and email is all setup. So make sure you’re thinking ahead by choosing a domain that aligns with your long term vision and will long out live any current trends.
Choose a Domain that’s original, easy to type and makes you look professional.
Here are our Top 5 Tips to help you decide on your domain name, embrace these and we’re confident you’ll save time and money in the long run:
.COM is King
Short & Sweet
Take a close look at your top 5 competitors, make sure they aren’t using anything similar to your idea. The last thing you want is a potential customer to confuse you with them so make sure it’s totally different. There is however another reason to be wary – copyright infringement. In New Zealand we have strong copyright and trademarking laws (which is a good thing) but when it comes to your new domain if it looks similar to another established Brand, you could be in trouble.
Take your time, thoroughly check on IPONZ and on the major search engines such as Google and Bing for anything similar within New Zealand. Then confirm if your choice is available on a Domain Registrar such as OnlyDomains or 1st Domains. Both companies are New Zealand owned and operated with highly competitive pricing so when the time comes that you make a decision – they are well worth partnering with.
Your Domain name forms a part of your Brand, the very identity of your business online. So it’s really important it’s unique and stands out. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and create something totally different but don’t draw too much inspiration from current trends. What’s popular right now, is unlikely to be next year.
One of the most important things to avoid when choosing a domain name is adjectives. These are words that change the meaning of a noun and as a result they are used in many every day phrases and sentences – in other words, really common. Adjectives such as Clever, Long, Helpful and Beautiful etc provide zero value to your domain so we highly recommend you steer clear.
The last thing you want is your domain name to be lost in a massive list of 50 million search results so being unique is intimately tied to SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation. It is going to be much, much harder (and more expensive) to rank you highly in search results if your domain name is similar to lots of others so be mindful of this.
.COM is King
‘.com’ Domain names are still #1. They are perceived to be highly credible and trustworthy. They also have no association with one specific country and have become a general Top Level Domain, or TLD, for the world. They are also shorter and easier to type than others whilst having broad appeal too. If the ‘.com’ is available to buy, consider choosing it and assigning as your primary domain.
There are some exceptions however. One of them involves small businesses in New Zealand who only sell or market their products or services to a local domestic market. If you are one of these businesses (or non-profits), you should consider registering the ‘.nz’ as your primary domain and registering the ‘.co.nz’ as your secondary. The reason of going to the effort, and expense, of buying more Domain names is protecting your Brand domestically – if you own them, no one else can. It also makes it easier for your domestic audience to find you and the first place they are likely to look in New Zealand is on a ‘.nz’.
You can always buy more than one domain name, there are no rules or limits, and it can in fact be a powerful way to protect your Brand. Domains can be forwarded to one another so you don’t need two or more websites, this is known as implementing a 301 redirect which is easy to do for any skilled website developer.
The ‘.kiwi’ domain names are a recent addition, however, we advise against registering just a ‘.kiwi’ domain on its own. They are still new and haven’t caught on in any major way just yet. As a result, there is very little analytical data available on how they perform versus a ‘.com’ or a ‘.nz’. If you think one will provide value and help protect your Brand too, register it in addition to the others and forward it to your primary ‘.nz’ or ‘.com’ domain name.
Short & Sweet
Keep it short, really short. Think about it, if you are trying to type in a long domain name on your laptop or mobile phone how long is it before you get bored and give up? Or worse yet, mistype it and get frustrated. We’ve all been there, some domain names are just plain awful to type so avoid falling into this trap too.
It’s really important that typing your domain name is as easy as possible for your visitors so length is everything. If you’re unsure, ask a friend or family member to type it on a message to you – was it frustrating for them? If your registered business name is a long one, shorten it or better yet use acronyms. There is no rule book that states you must have a Domain name as closely named to your business as possible – so create your own rule.
Hyphens/Dashes and Numerals more often than not, confuse people. They are hard to explain and easy to forget too. Thankfully businesses are moving away from using these so we definitely recommend avoiding special characters where possible. The only exception to this rule are any characters used in Te Reo Māori (or other languages) as they are well ranked and widely used in New Zealand.
At the end of the day, your aim is for your target audience to remember your Domain. So avoid anything they might misunderstand or mistype. Best case scenario, they ask again if they forget. Worst case scenario, they become frustrated and buy from your competitor. The risk just isn’t worth it so keep it simple, one word if possible, and you’re on to a winner.
Your next steps.
At VIEWFULE, we would love to save you time and the frustration with choosing a domain name. So reach out for your FREE consultation and we’ll be glad to help!