A domain name is the perfect showcase for your company, product or brand, for it is the first thing people see when they look up your website. Companies or individuals can register a domain name for various reasons:
To build a professional website
To build a personal website
To have a personalised e-mail address
To generate parking revenues
To sell it on (invest)
Before we tell you what a good domain name exactly is, let’s first take a step back and see how you can claim your own domain name. This can be done in two ways: buying or leasing.
BUYING A DOMAIN NAME
You can buy a new domain name for about €15 per year, depending on the TLD (Top-Level-Domain, this is the combination of letters after the dot). You don’t actually ‘buy’ this domain name, you ‘rent’ it. You buy a license to use a specific domain name, in accordance with the rules set by a registrar. SIDN is the official register for.nl websites, DNS Belgium is the registrar for.be sites and Verisign is one of the registrars for.com websites. As long as you pay your monthly or annual fees, you can use the domain name as long as you want.
LEASING A DOMAIN NAME
If you want to lease a domain name, you are actually using one that belongs to someone else, which might be the reason this only happens in very rare cases. One of the reasons why one would lease a domain name is if they don’t have the funds to immediately buy it. In this case, the domain name will be paid for in terms.
Making a good first impression is essential, since that impression is what people will remember of you. When it comes to a website, your domain name is the first impression, so it is important that you make it a good one. Having a matching domain name and e-mail address also adds to your reliability. An example: your company is called London Real Estate and your domain name is called realestateinlondon.com. The name of your company does not match your domain name and will confuse your clients. They will probably search for a website like londonrealestate.com, which is not your company’s website. When picking a domain name, make sure it suits your company name as well.
When you pick your domain name, you need to consider the TLD you choose for, since it conveys a certain message to your clients. If you own a Dutch company, you will probably opt for a.nl domain name. If this particular domain name is already taken, you can choose for a.com domain name, which will immediately give your website a more international look.
You control the digital first impression people have of you, so consider it carefully.
THE IMPORTANCE OF A GOOD DOMAIN NAME
Just like our economy, domain names are influenced by supply and demand. The more popular a domain name, the more expensive it will be.
Between 1995 and 2000, premium domain names such as website.com, realestate.com and auction.com could still be registered. Many investors would kill for a time machine, so they can travel back in time and register these domain names, for they are now worth a lot of money. Only a limited number of these so-called ‘premium’ domain names is available. The more domain names will be registered, the less names will be available.
A domain name such as realestate.com will have many ‘organic’ visitors per day. Apart from these visitors, the domain name will have a very reliable and trustworthy look. Websites such as ups.com, shell.com and mcdonalds.com have exactly the same domain names as their respective companies and will also be seen as very reliable.
When you’re going to the supermarket to buy laundry detergent, you will probably pick the one you have seen advertised on TV, because you feel like you already know it. This is almost the same when it comes to domain names, so you get the picture: a domain name is important for your reliability.
HOW DO I PICK A GOOD DOMAIN NAME?
Picking a good domain name depends on your goal. Do you pick a domain name for your (new) company or do you want to invest in a domain name? In this article we will explain how you pick a good domain name for your company:
Do you mainly operate in one single country? Choose the TLD from the country where you are operated (ccTLD), such as.nl for the Netherlands,.be for Belgium or.UK for the United Kingdom. Are you an international company or are you looking to go international? Then a choice for a general TLD (gTLD) such as.com,.eu or.net will be better.
Consider the form of your domain name. You can buy the domain name flower.com, but you can also opt for the plural version flowers.com. In this particular example the name flower.com would better suit a brand and flowers.com would better suit a flower shop. Apart from choosing a singular or plural word, the tense of a verb can also be of importance. In theory, the domain name run.com would be more valuable than ran.com. The value does still depend on the goal of your domain name though.
Your domain name should also be easy to spell. A good method to test this is the so-called radio test. Imagine hearing a radio ad with the domain name shoezzz.com. Clients will probably wonder whether it’s spelled with ‘oe’ or with ‘oo’ and with how many z’s it’s written. Not every domain name that doesn’t pass this test, will necessarily be bad. Just look at Netflix.com and Flickr.com.
Try to keep your domain name as short as possible: the more words it contains, the less valuable it will be. A domain name called drivinglessons.com will be more valuable than doyouwanttolearnhowtodrive.com. One called Google.com will be more valuable than typeinyourquestionandthissearchenginewillansweritforyou.com.
If you do choose to use multiple words, make sure they are written in the right word order. This sounds like a logical thing to do, but still goes wrong sometimes. A domain name called cheaptickets.com will be a lot clearer than ticketscheap.com. This is also the case for the so-called newTLDs: coffee.company instead of company.coffee.
Try to avoid using a dash (-) in your domain name. These can’t be heard on the radio and make your website less valuable. Clients often forget to use a dash, which will cost you valuable traffic.
Try to avoid ‘hacks’. These are domain names such as barbecu.es and swimsu.it. They are hard to understand and surely need extra clarification, which takes valuable time – especially when it comes to advertising.
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