Your business is looking to launch a website, or a micro-site for an ad campaign and you are ready to go snatch up a new domain name that your company can be proud to use for their new ad campaign.
You have thought of some witty names so far and now it is time to begin shopping!
Here are ten things that you should consider in the journey to purchase a domain name for advertising your product or services:
- Does the name that you are considering make sense?
- What other similar names are available?
- Who are those competitors?
- What makes your offer different from them?
- How will you be sending traffic to this new “micro-site?”
- Should you buy the .com, the .net, the .org, the .co & more?
- Does this new domain name need to be an exact match to terms being searched?
- Does this domain name describe exactly what it is that you’re selling?
- Is it easy to understand for the user?
- Where should you buy, register and host the domain name?
1. Does it Make Sense?
Is this new domain an extension of your brand? Is it a product or service? Is it a witty campaign name? Does this new domain name convey a message to the user that visits the site, one that is simple and easy to understand???
Purchasing your new domain name should be very easy to spell. It should be easy to remember… After all you are planning to use it in advertising. You really don’t want to make it something that someone cannot remember if they need to find it again at a later time. The “phone test” or “radio test” is a great way to determine just how easy it is. If you were to advertise the campaign on the radio or call up a trusted friend on the phone and say the domain name to them, will they know how to spell it without any mistakes?
Here is a great example to help illustrate my point. I had a friend that owned a bar stool furniture business and they were doing all of their sales online. There website was called barstools4u.com.
The problem is that the website domain name does not pass the phone test…
Clearly this is an issue. There solution was to buy all four domains to point to the existing domain. This could work but it is so confusing and not easy for the user to understand. First of all you never want to use a number in your domain name when it can be avoided. Not everyone can be 99designs.com.
Marketing communication should be simple and not complex for the viewer to understand.
The bigger problem then failing the phone test was that they didn’t have a really good brand name that allowed people to make a personal connection.
My suggestion to they was to scrap the bar stools for you brand and make it personal like Monasfurniture.com. It was simple. It was easy to remember and it built a report with the user that they can attach themselves to. Certainly it passed the phone test. And, if by chance they did want a second domain name for the just in case situation, they would only need to secure monafurniture.com.
2. What Other Domain Names Might You Choose?
If you have determined a great prospect domain that passes the phone test and delivers on the easy to remember, easy to spell, easy to find criteria. Then consider the other variations. As we did when choosing monasfurniture.com. We also took into account monafurniture.com as a secondary option to insulate the brand extension or URL from future squatting competitors or domain flippers.
Maybe it could be worded better… Always consider other options. And, don’t be afraid to ask friends and family what they would research for or if they can spell it properly when you read it aloud to them. This can help you spawn more practical names that you may have been overlooking.
3. What Websites Are Competing?
The sign of a wise business person is one that can do the research. marketing and advertising always works best with precision strategies and target goals rather than the shotgun approach.
If your company is considering a new domain name for your business or for an ad campaign then truly take the time to research the competitors in the space, especially ones that are using a similar domain name.
Ask yourself how you can be different from those existing businesses.
Most importantly be sure to look at the competitors that found on the first page of Google for the keywords and phrases that you would want your website to be found for. If you don’t know your competition then you really can’t expect to beat them at a game that they have already established themselves in playing well.
4. What Makes Your Ad or Offer Unique?
Is it memorable? Is it that your product is unique? Is it the price? Is it your proprietary system? I will tell you the one unique factor that every business has and so few of them use to their advantage when trying to make a personal connection that their consumer can once and forever make with the brands that they buy from and can identify with…
Why do you do what you do?
Tell them why!
If all parts are equal and you made a side by side comparison between barstools4you and some other furniture company website…
The product is the same, the prices are competitive, they both offer free delivery…
Which one will you choose?
Barstools4u or Mona’s Furniture?
9 out of 10 will choose Mona’s Furniture! The reason why is because it makes you subconsciously feel like you already know Mona and you can trust her. Barstools to you or Barstools for you, or barstools 4 you, sounds like and feels like a discount furniture store that you could probably find in any major city shopping plaza.
If Mona has a banner at the top of her site that has a beautiful smiling face and a bit about why Mona does furniture sales, why Mona’s Furniture can help “you” the consumer and what she is so passionate about is not selling discount barstools but instead, her dream is in making your home look great and be a place that you truly enjoy spending your time in. Then she truly has picked a great domain name for her business! One that can allow her to be memorable and make a personal connection.
Something that makes her business unique!
5. How Will You Be Sending Traffic To The Website or Micro-site?
Ask yourself will it be paid traffic from the radio, from Google AdWords, from Facebook? Will the traffic be coming from your email list? Will the traffic need to find you organically in the search?
If you are depending on your email list for the traffic then the domain that you choose to buy must still make sense.
One of the top promoting affiliates in the internet marketing world did over $5.6 million dollars in sales, in just nine days selling a course called ASM or Amazing Selling Machines.
They picked a domain name that was easy to remember. It passed the phone test and it made sense to the type of traffic that his business had sent the link out to…
Their email list.
This was a well conditioned, very warm audience that had spent the better part of the last 3-4 years of their lives buying products from the affiliate. The consumers were accustomed to making buying decisions based on the advice and training given in the webinars that were always hosted by the affiliate.
He made this specific offer very easy for them to understand by choosing a domain name that made “the buying decision” a simple one for the consumer to have made.
The website domain name that they chose was “mybestbonus.com.”
It made perfect sense and conditioned his warm list of previous buyers to get ready to buy again. To prepare themselves for buying what would be one of the more expensive products that he had sold for the year.
My Best Bonus told the person, get ready to buy this week, because this is the best offer that I have ever made and when you buy from us today…
You will be getting “my best bonus.”
If you’re depending on search traffic to find your site, then you may choose to lean towards buying an exact match domain, but be sure that it is still something that will pass the phone test and be easy to understand. Most importantly, if you’re depending on search traffic with an exact match domain name, do the keyword research to find the best possible options for your keywords. Then check the competition to make certain that the people doing the searches are going to find what they are actually looking for if they were to land on your page.
6. Should You Buy the .com, the .net, the .org and the .co?
I would personally recommend getting the .com everytime. The rest are really not worth much. You could buy them if you choose. registering domain names is cheap so you may decide that you want them all.
In my experience, even when I have bought each version, I end up never using the other ones outside of the .com and then decide to let them go a year later when the registrations come do again. Just remember that the .com is ideal. It is the only one type of domain that everyone in the world will know how to find, without needing to do research to find it. Dot com is the best, it has been engrained in the brains of consumers and it is the only way to really pass the test of a great domain.
Web Domain Buying Tip: Try and avoid purchasing the new .extensions like yourdomain.lawyer and such. These are very new, could be worth money to the right buyer in five years, but really are not the best options in 2015.
7. Does the Domain Need To Be An Exact Match?
As we discussed above, if you are going to use an exact match domain name…
Make sure that:
- It makes sense
- It passes the phone test
- It actually does have the right type of targeted traffic searching for it
- It preferably ends in .com
- It describes your ad campaign well enough that it isn’t a stretch for the user to understand
Think of this campaign from Always. The Like a Girl or #LikeAGirl ad campaign.
Always opted not to buy the exact match domain name for the ad campaign and instead used an extension of their main website:
The pros and cons of this move:
- They didn’t need to pay off someone that was squatting on the domain www.likeagirl.com
- They were still successful and deemed one of the top ad campaigns in 2014
- They were able to send the targeted traffic from this campaign to their home base the “Always.com” website (www.always.com)
- They had made it hard to find the Like A Girl Ad outside of Social Media
- Someone that has a parked page with porn links on it is on their latest tagline
- That person has secured a domain name that will likely be near worthless by 2016
- Always is missed the chance to have the exact match for their ad campaign
The domain name www.likeagirl.com has been registered since 1999 by a company called: email@example.com
That domain play may have been a great buy, but if they never made the sale to Always before the ad campaign had launched then they missed the opportunity to profit heavily on the domain. That domain owner probably had an opportunity to sell the site for $5,000 – $25,000 dollars.
I know of a domain flipper that actually sold FreeCreditReports.com to this company for just under $25,000 and they never even used the website. Now they have it redirect to freecreditreport.com.
Web Domain Buying Tip: If you are purchasing a domain name to sell to another company it is always far easier to buy local domain names that you can sell to small local businesses or companies where you the domain flipper can easily reach the decision maker that would be buying the domain name.
Too often if you cannot reach the decision maker easily as in this scenario for the owner of www.likeagirl.com. You may never sell the site at all.
For Always they missed an opportunity to own the domain that was the exact match to their campaign tagline and #hashtag and for Brain Trust Marketing they missed a huge opportunity to get rid of the domain they had purchased for an investment.
8. Does This Domain Describe Exactly What You Are Selling?
In the case of bastools4u. You can make the argument that it describes exactly what is being sold. The problem is that it is not a domain that passes the phone test and it also is not one that would be ideal to scale.
So many domains have the “Your” in the name…
Your video expert, your local blank…
It leaves little room to be scalable.
Monasfurniture.com could be a better fit and allow scalability by spawning congruent micro-sites from the Mona’s name. It leaves them the chance to make one about Mona’s Bar Stools or Mona’s Sofas, etc.
My Best Bonus doesn’t describe what they are selling, but it does tell the people receiving the email offer exactly what they will be getting.
Have your domain give you the ability to scale while still maintaining the easy to understand phrase and following the other domain buying tips that we have explained throughout the article.
9. Is It Easy To Understand?
In the case of My Best Bonus it is certainly easy to understand and it passes the phone test. Is LikeAGirl.com easy to understand and easy to remember versus http://www.always.com/en-us/likeagirl.aspx? SURE IS!
In the case of Always the ad campaign was about making a statement that can become a viral #hashtag and it served it’s purpose. They were not so concerned with the objective of driving traffic to their website as they were with “breaking through the clutter” (a term used by many professionals in the advertising industry).
The Like A Girl campaign spawned from the interest that P&G’s Always brand had by “looking into how girls deal with the confidence crisis that happens around puberty. Everyone knows that ‘crying like a girl’ or ‘running like a girl’ isn’t a compliment, but no one takes the off-the-cuff remark too seriously or considers its damage,” said Lauren Greenfield, creator of the Always campaign and Director of “The Queen of Versailles.” The Always like a girl campaign truly had taken their first inspirations from an ad that had been run by Verizon earlier in the 2014:
The most important thing to note is that Like A Girl Made sense. And Always, (along with the help of Lauren Greenfield and the P&G way of researching their consumer wants and needs to find out what resonates with them the most) did a better job of breaking through the clutter than Verizon did trying to tell the same message.
Remember to always make it easy to understand and always consider the objectives before buying a website domain name for you micro-site ad campaign.
10. Where Should You Buy & Host Your Domain Name?
In college a professor always suggested registering your URL with a separate company than you use to host your domain name. This is good advice because it prevents one company from making changing, either your registrar or your host, a very difficult process that can lead to aggravation and frustrations.
I do not totally disagree with my professor making that claim.
However, having been in the website design field for many years i have learned quite a few things that should also be taken into account.
- Always buy hosting from a trusted hosting provider that has established servers in the U.S. That would be either HostGator.com, BlueHost.com, or LiquidWeb.com.
- Always register your domain for the longest possible time frame. This helps establish trust and credibility for the site (unless you plan on flipping the domain).
- Always purchase the longest duration of hosting because this also establishes credibility and shows sites like Google that you are in it for the long haul, not some fly by night domain that is here today and gone tomorrow.
We like HostGator because the offer up unlimited domain names hosted in one account for as low as 4.00 per month, when you pay buy 3 years.
Having a good hosting company that you can trust is key to ranking organically and making your life easy when launching and managing your websites, parked domains or micro-websites.
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This article is published by Will Sherwood | The Sherwood Group |Website Design | Graphic Design | Marketing Communications: The Sherwood Group has over 30 years of experience working with all sorts of companies, small and large. Our clients range from entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 firms, in nearly every business sector, from across the street to around the world (and yes, even Europe, China, and South America). Our goal is to create advertising, graphic design, website design, and marketing communication that still looks fresh and relevant 10-15 years later. Our mission is to stir your imagination and leave your competition shaken and wondering, Now what do we do?” We are located in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
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