Choosing the Perfect Website Name

Choosing the Perfect Website Name


Your domain name is very important and should be considered early on in the planning process.
 
It can be challenging to find a good domain name that has not already been taken, but we’ll give you some creative ways of getting around this.

 

Vanity Names 

Let’s start by looking at vanity names. This is the industry term for websites that are named after an individual, often the site owner.
 
The obvious ones are celebrity fan sites, such as LeAnn Rimes (www.rimestimes.com), but other examples include Jancis Robinson, a leading wine expert, who has a website www.jancisrobinson.com. Denise Austin, the American exercise guru, has a subscription site called www.deniseaustin.com.
 
There are advantages and disadvantages to this naming strategy:
 
Advantages
 
  • Brands built around an individual can generate memberships through people wanting to be associated with the website owner.
 
  • Research has shown that paid-for websites built around a personality create greater loyalty.
 
  • No one can copy a website built around an individual and their personal opinions.
 
  • It's often easier to get hold of the domain name, particularly if you have an unusual name.
 
  • Can help your name, and therefore, your website get a prominent listing in the search engine. For example, if you search on Jancis Robinson on all the major search engines, her website www.jancisrobinson.com will appear at the top of the results page. If you type ‘Fine Wines,’ her ranking is much lower.
 
Disadvantage
 
  • A subscription website can become a very valuable business, but it is much harder to sell if it has been built around an individual personality and name. It’s very hard to change the name of a website from an individual's name to a generic name once it’s established.
 
  • If you want to change direction, being associated with a specialist website will always tie your name to that subject area.

 

  • It can be intrusive. Paying members often believe they are buying access to the site owner and expect a personalised service. Your reputation, lifestyle and public profile will all be tied to the quality of your website.
 

 Generic Names

 
Generic names are descriptions of the subject in the URL, for example:
 
 www.frenchhomebuyer.com.
 
I personally believe these names are the best and most powerful domain names for specialist websites.
 
They are self-promoting and, most importantly, they help your prospect immediately understand what you do.
 
They are also easy to remember.
“The best domain names are short and describe the subject of the website”.
Examples include:
 
 
If you’re going for a generic name, try to make it as short as possible but descriptive, e.g., a site about buying and running a franchise would be better off being called www.franchiseowner.com, rather than www.buyandownafranchise.com.
 
Try to avoid:
 
  • Avoid deliberate misspellings, e.g., www.FilmBizness.com.  
The domain name should be easy for prospects and members to pass on by word of mouth. If you use a misspelling in your domain name, you will lose potential members because they type the wrong (or right!!) spelling when trying to find your site.
 
  • Avoid non-descriptive, invented names like Yahoo, eBay, Google and Amazon.
Given the success of these companies, you maybe surprised by this advice, but each of these sites has spent over $400m on marketing their brand. It is unlikely you will have this scale of budget. To get an invented name recognised in the market is a long and expensive process. You want a quick and cheap process.
 
  • Avoid initials  
Research has shown that real words (FrenchHomeBuyer) or descriptive combinations (Worldcom, SubHub, Fedex) are 40% easier to remember than initialised words. There are three sets of initials that UK people tend to remember – BMW, IBM and BT – that leaves a lot of initialised names floundering in the branding wilderness.
 
  • Avoid using numbers
Including a number in your domain name can cause problems. When you tell someone your web address, you will continually have to tell them it’s a number and not a word. For example, if your domain is Gifts4Grandparents.com, you would probably lose a lot of potential customers because they type in GiftsForGrandparents.com. Avoid this confusion if possible.
 
  • Avoid dashes and underscores
Many people do it, and you may have to because of a shortage of suitable domains, but having dashes and underscores will impact your traffic and therefore sign-up rate (e.g. www.french-home-buyer.com). It again comes down to the problems of word of mouth transfer of the domain name and the continued potential that people will misspell the name and never find you. You end up describing your site as www dot French dash home dash buyer dot com. Not pretty!
 
 
  • Avoid Trade Mark Infringement
During the early years of the internet, there was no real legal structure for policing libel, trademark infringement, and copyright theft on the web. You could get away with just about anything! This is no longer the case. If you deliberately register a name that could be seen as a trademark infringement or an attempt to pass off as someone else, expect a swift and harsh response. Be warned that you could lose your business. Before you register a name, do a Google search on it to find out who else is out there and what their business is.
 
 
Our advice is, if in doubt, go for the short, descriptive name, such as
 
www.BeeKeepingForProfit.com.
 
You really can’t go wrong with this kind of name.