When it comes to branding and marketing, especially for a start-up business, you should be willing to try every strategy that has at least a slight possibility of being useful.
However, out of the many possible ways of conducting marketing, many people neglect the importance of choosing a good domain name for their website. Moreover, within the past few years, new possibilities arose also choosing out of the many new TLDs that became available and with this article I will try to explain how you can benefit from them and why you should not neglect this aspect of your branding campaign.
What is a domain name?
You know how to access a website. You write in the address and click “enter”. The domain name is what you enter in your address box or your search box when you want to access a website.
The name comes from DNS or Domain Name System, a friendly naming system for web addresses and web servers that replaces the I.P. address with a name that is easier to remember and write on a browser, on a business card, a flyer, etc.
Therefore, you get to creative-tim.com by entering exactly this address. The domain name is creative-tim.com. While in the past a www. the prefix was necessary to differentiate HTTP protocols from FTP protocols, modern browsers are capable of redirecting you to the website you want to access by using only the domain name without any prefixes.
What’s the deal with the suffix?
What is a TLD?
The TLD or the “Top Level Domain” is the suffix of the domain name you use in your address. For instance, when you access our website, you enter .com as the TLD.
What does .com mean? It means, or at least it used to, a few decades ago that you have a commercial website.
Mainly, the TLDs were created to convey the type of content your website delivers to the audience, its purpose or its affiliation with a certain organization. For instance, we know now that .com means commercial. At the same time, .org means organizational and .gov means governmental.
The new and sometimes fancy TLDs
Within the past few years, new opportunities arose for webmasters and marketers as new TLDs were launched to meet the new demands of a continually changing market. For example, if you are a blogger, you can now register a domain name that ends in .blog instead of .com or.org. Or, if you have an eCommerce website or a travel-oriented website, you can always choose a .store or .travel top-level domain.
Why are these new TLDs a good thing?
Well, for starters, they look better on a business card or on an advertising banner, because they are easier to remember. On the other hand, they allow your audience to associate easier and more quickly your brand with your occupation or industry and thus, better remember who you are or, decide easier whether to go to your website or not.
For example, if you advertise a .dentist website, it’s obvious that anybody who sees your business card or your banner on a site would know immediately who you are, what you are doing, what services you have to offer. As a consequence, a well-chosen TLD may similarly help you a classified ad does.
Examples of how you can brand your web address and business emails
Let’s say for instance that you’ve just started to work as a freelancer or, as an entrepreneur, you’ve just started up with a new company. You have a clear vision of how your marketing strategy should be, you know your goals and how to achieve them. When it comes to the setting up of the website, however, marketing means more than publishing professional and valuable content or paying for ads and boosted posts on social media.
The marketing strategy starts with choosing the right name of the website, and I guess you already know that. The website is like a business card that may be accessed online, and this is why it’s important to start on the right foot.
How to choose a domain name and how to use it as a marketing or a branding tool?
1. Market your name and profession
Are you a businessman, an independent contractor, a freelancer or a professional individual who wants to start working on his or her personal branding? Well, in this case, you can start by acquiring a particular domain name easy associable with your own brand and easy to remember by your fans or clients. Choose a domain name that will look perfect on a business card to describe your website, blog or email address.
For example, let’s say you are looking at LCN.com for a suitable domain name with an appropriate TLD for your profession. For the purpose of this article, we are going to suppose your name is “Johnny Smith”.
There are several categories available for choosing a TLD, and for this example, I have selected “Occupations”. Let’s see the results:
Imagine now, how an email address like [email protected] would look like on a digital flyer, or how easier would be to remember a web address like www.johnnysmith.dentist. Considering that one of these is your profession, of course. If not, you can choose other TLD, based on your job or occupation. If you can’t find it, don’t worry, there are several different categories of TLD to choose from if you want to see a fancy suffix for a personal domain name based on hobbies, interests, lifestyle, financial, business or media-related, etc.
2. Use branded TLDs
In 2008, ICANN, the governing body for the entire Internet, launched a program that virtually changed the online environment altogether. At first, they approved the introduction of new TLDs. Three years later, in 2011, ICANN began to accept applications for new branded TLDs from companies from all over the world.
What is a Brand TLD?
A Brand TLD is a new type of top-level domain name that was made possible through the implementation of ICANN’s new gTLD Program. Basically, it allows corporations and small businesses to use their corporate brand name as their website’s web address suffix instead of using the traditional .com or .biz domain space.
Thus, instead of using www.brand.com as your website, you can use www.subdomain.brand for better brand recognition and increased awareness.
American Automobile Asociation: AAA launched a branded website that allows people to search for a club in their area as you can see from the example available below.
SEAT: The Spanish automobile manufacturer, has set up a branded website for their dealers. Each one of them got to create a website with the name of the dealer and the branded TLD, SEAT. See the below example that comes from Ondinaauto.
3. Register a domain name with an adequate TLD for your business
Take into account that the domain name is important for your brand but the TLD matters as well. For instance, let’s say we perform a search for a new domain name. For the purpose of this example, I choose to perform a general search for “my website”.
As you can see, the results are not quite as good as anticipated. If you are looking for a popular TLD, you can see that there are only 4 options available. If your business is UK based and the domain is available, you can take it, whether it’s .uk or .com.uk. However, if your first choice is not available, don’t jump and register the first another available suffix because it might not be appropriate for your business and as a consequence, it might ruin your marketing strategy.
For instance, if your brand is global, there are no reasons to choose a domain name like mywebsite.london, if .com, .biz or other TLDs are not available. However, if you look at the geographical category, you might find that there is also a .global TLD available and thus, it will be easier to select the most suitable domain name for your company.
At the same time, if you are a blogger you can search for a .blog domain, but this TLD will not help you if you want to run an online store.
As a marketer or as an entrepreneur, I am sure you already know how important is to start on the right foot with your branding campaign. While the name of your brand is the first thing to have in mind at this point, the acquisition of a new domain name to suit that specific brand comes in second.
You can leverage the web domain name for your marketing and branding strategy, and through this article, I tried to exemplify in just a few words how you can do it and why.
Should you have anything to add to this short guide or maybe share some of your past experiences, please feel free to do it by using the comments section available below.