It used to be that many business names weren’t even finalized until after an extensive online search for available domain names to find something short, memorable and SEO-friendly. That’s because for the past 20 years there have only been about 22 generic domains (.com, .net, .edu, .org) and a little more than 250 country domains (.eu, .us, .ca.) available.
This situation made generic domain names hard to find and a rare commodity for businesses.
However, over the last few years the release of over a thousand new domain extensions promises to completely change the internet and our current concepts of online branding.
While .com, .net, .edu, etc. used to be the go-to-domains of choice for many, the availability of new and more relevant domain names is changing the way businesses are selecting their online web address.
The release of new domains has enabled businesses to rethink what a domain name really means. Shouldn’t it be more meaningful? The answer to that question is a definitive “yes.”
Meaningful Domains are the Future of the Internet
While .com is the most ubiquitous of the domain extensions, new generic domain names are popping up more frequently. Welcome to the “not-com” revolution, all you have to do is an online Google search to see the use of domains such as .shop, .io, .club and more.
Players like Google have their parent company on www.abc.xyz, and Lady Gaga’s foundation uses www.bornthisway.foundation. And if you’re a startup or small or medium sized business, a focus on branding and reaching local audiences is also a consideration.
There are over 600 generic domains available today, so the opportunity to carry your brand to your domain name is now available more than ever but how do you choose?
For many businesses, location is one of the most important features. Why not use your domain to distinguish your brand at a local level or tie your brand image back to an iconic geo? The trend for domains is all about customization to make your web address work for you.
City Domains are Meaningful…and Help Your Business Stand Out
A geographic domain is a valuable asset that helps tell your business’s story. It’s also a rare commodity. As of 2017, there are only five geographic domains in North America (.nyc, .boston, .vegas, .miami, .quebec).
What makes some geographic domains particularly special is that they signify some tie or relationship to the geographic location used for their domain name. For example, .nyc is one of the strictest geographic domains for buyers. It requires proof of a physical address in New York City to ensure only New Yorkers can own .nyc domain names. This makes .nyc a highly valuable geographic domain as it communicates that there’s a real office with real people behind it who are actually located in New York City.
This is especially beneficial on a community level. As people look to “shop local” and support community retail, highlighting your business as a NYC owned-and-operated store allows you to showcase your local pride and advertise to shoppers that you are community-based.
A .nyc Domain Helps Your SEO Ranking
One of the biggest reasons to use a geo domain is that it can help you rank better in local Google searches. In 2015, the owner of souvenirs.nyc remarked “Very soon after launch, we started ranking highly in search engines very quickly, and within the first week we were on first page for terms like “nyc souvenirs”. Within the first month, we were ranked in the top three results for a number of souvenir-related queries.”
A possible explanation for this phenomenon is that search engine optimization (SEO) is all about click-through rates and localization. With a .nyc domain name, your website stands alone as a New York City owned and operated business. When people are searching for a local business and they see a .nyc, they’re likely to click through.
Having found a relevant website, visitors also likely to stay longer. Google monitors and tracks click-through rates and how long visitors stay on your website. As both of these numbers increase, you increase your SEO value which helps drive more traffic to your site.
People are More Likely to Link to a .nyc
A locally focused shorter and more descriptive domain helps build website traffic in more ways than just higher “click-throughs”. Overall, people who are online running their own blogs, social media accounts, and websites will tend to trust succinct domain names more as they are associated with authenticity.
Here’s another insight from the owner of souvenirs.nyc:
“[We] believe that there is more trust from people when they see a shorter name and one word. They are more likely to link to you, to cover you in a blog, to send you traffic. When people don’t trust your site, they don’t share it. With our .nyc domain, there is no need for branding. It resonates strongly, and it’s easy to remember shorter domains.”
A .nyc Signals You’re Innovative
Is part of your brand story that your business is cutting edge? Then having a .nyc domain surely proves just that. By having a .nyc domain, you can get a name branded to suit your business and location – short, memorable and SEO-friendly.
Don’t miss NYC premium domain auctions! For your chance to own the best web address in NYC check out https://goo.gl/qE494Q.
This was originally published here.
It was great to have him touch on an important part of the Startup Weekend experience – Branding.
LogoGrab chief executive Luca Boschin and chief technical officer Alessandro Prest
Q. Can you share tips on coming up with a brand name for an idea/product?
Regardless if you are a tech company or selling cupcakes your first stop is domaintyper.com. If you ever want to scale forget of any name for which .com is not available (some businesses could get away with other extensions such as .io). If you really wanna use a name anyhow at least be sure that no big player is using it and you’ll have the chance to buy the .com one day or the other.
It is also important to base your brand name on something that is relavant to your business – your actual product, a feature of it, your creativity, or anything that shares in a way or the other what you do or who you are. Finally, keep it simple, and make it as easy to remember as possible.
Q. To what level should [prospective] consumers be involved in brand development?
When you come up with a name / logo design you can make some simple polls to be sure prospective consumers would like/understand the name.
An easy way to do it? Prepare and copy/paste a message to 50 friends or so via Facebook messenger asking if they like/understand the name/logo. Make it simple, so to drive them to a simple yes/no answer.
The answers should guide you to an educated choice if you wanna proceed with that name/logo or consider working on it a bit more. This is how we actually did it at LogoGrab when we redesigned our logo.
Q. How can a team at #SWDub decide on a branding in the shortest possible time?
Again, for your name brainstorm with the with team in front of domaintyper.com. Write a list of each name you like (or sort of like, it will help to keep going) and for which the domain name is available. Keep brainstorming for 10 minutes maximum and then choose your favorite candidate off the list. When we started LogoGrab we decided our name in 10 minutes or so.
However, it does get a little harder when it comes to logo but you can also think of / edit your logo at a later stage. At LogoGrab we re-designed our logo 1 year after launch. I wouldn’t be so concerned about a cool logo at this stage. One tip, regardless: come up with an icon that fits in a square, in case you ever have to do an app.
Many thanks to Luca for taking time out to share these branding tips. You can catch him on twitter at @LucaBoschin. He’d also be around mentoring and coaching teams at the Startup Weekend Dublin. Do share and stay tuned for the next post in the #SWDub Mentor Series.
Anyone who has ever searched for the perfect URL or even tried to find a good Gmail address or a coveted Twitter handle can relate to this one. Unless your name is really unique, chances are it’s taken.
When you search for a domain name, bless the various suggested ‘Variations’. The alternatives are meant to be helpful but are not really useful and actually kind of entertaining. Luckily many new extensions will be appearing in the future, but for now, the “.com” is the holy grail of URLs.
If you’ve run out of naming ideas, here are some suggestions that may help spark some name ideas:
Even if you get a great domain name, don’t forget to snag the Gmail address, Twitter handle, or anything other account you may be using. Happy hunting.
Let us know about your search for the perfect domain name. How long did you search before you found yours? Let us know in the comments below.
This post and comic were originally published on http://www.entrepreneurfail.com