Characteristics of Good Domain Names

Characteristics of Good Domain Names

Acquiring the right domain for your business is critical to success. A good name will make it much more easy in the branding process. In fact, the right name can create an instant brand in the minds of visitors and prospective customers. 

These are the characteristics of a good domain:

  • It is easy to say and understand
    • You should be able to say it and the listener instantly knows how to spell it.
  • It is easy to remember
    • A memorable name means that the listener is able to recall it from memory when typing it into the browser.
  • It is short
    • If the name follows the first 2 criteria then it is likely short. Short names are easier to say, understand, and remember.
  • It is 3 words or less
    • Ideally, the best names are 1 or 2 words. 3 if the business name warrants that. Anything longer will create confusion, and make it difficult to remember.
  • Dot com is like owning prime real estate
    • Dot com is the most powerful and most identifiable domain extension. It is the first and original extension which carries with it many benefits and preconceptions. One and foremost is that companies built on .com instantly create authority and legitimacy in the minds of visitors. It says that the company is a leader in the field and has staying power (i.e. will be arround for a long time). Dot com is the most popular extension and people naturally affix it to domain names. So if you use a non-com domain extension, you will lose traffic when people automatically enter the dot com extension rather than another extension.
  • Country code domains (i.e. .ca, .co.uk, etc.) are next best choices if your market is local
    • If you are targeting a local market and within your area the country’s extension is commonly used then it would make sense to have a domain in your country’s extension (ccTLD, or country-code top level domain). For example, in Canada (where we are based) many businesses use dot ca domains, but dot com is also popular.
    • It would also be beneficial to own the dot com version and redirect to the ccTLD version. It will ensure that you don’t lose traffic to the dot com, will protect your brand from squatters or competition, and will allow for future growth it you decide to expand business. 
  • It perfectly describes your business, or …
    • It should be the perfect match of your business name or describe your business.
  • It is a short brandable and follows the above criteria
    • Brandable domains are creative or invented names that may be symbolic (or metaphoric) dictionary word domains, slang, derivative from another word, combine 2 words into one, or a completely new word that doesn’t exist. Some brandable names used by popular brands are Google, Yahoo, Bing, Zappos, etc. The most popular symbolic brand is Amazon.com. It has nothing to do with the physical Amazon but uses that word for its symbolism of the biggest jungle or rainforest in the world with its huge variety of fauna and wildlife.
    • Whatever the brandable domain is, it should be short: 4 letters are best, 5 or 6 is very good, 7 or 8 may be good depending on the make up of the name and if it follows the other criteria above, longer names should be avoided.

Choosing the right domain for your business should not be taken lightly. Losing traffic to another domain or losing business to a competitor with a better name, can dramatically effect your business and lead to huge losses. It can be a difference between success or failure. Make sure you give the decision process for a new name due attention and divert the appropriate resources to the best name.