How to Brand Your Business Using Domains
Everyone who visits your website interacts with your domain name (also known as your web address) at some level. Whether your customers are looking for your business via an online search engine like Google, see your business on a billboard, are handed your business card, or directly typing in your web address, a clear, concise domain name is critical.
With up to 28% of all business activity occurring online, it makes sense that something so closely associated with your website also represents your brand as a whole. Your domain name can also influence how your customers perceive you.
For this reason, more and more businesses are leveraging descriptive domains to strengthen brand awareness and recognition. Using a concise, keyword-rich descriptive domain with a unique extension like .LEGAL, .BIZ, or .SHOP, helps communicate your core business function, establishes your credibility within your industry, and strengthens your brand identity.
Choosing the right domain name
Your domain name is instrumental in building a cohesive, recognizable brand for your business—so it’s essential to get it right. A strong domain name reinforces your brand identity, instantly signaling your company’s mission to anyone who visits your site.
When selecting a domain name, choose an option that reinforces your company’s core purpose and speaks to your target audience. For example, the owner of a yoga studio may want to build a brand that focuses on the practice’s healing and restorative benefits. They could turn their domain name into a brand asset by choosing a web address with thoughtful, memorable words and phrases such as:
Each domain name is easy to remember and supports a specific brand message, making it easier for the brand to connect with its target customers. Focus on domain names that align with your brand identity to ensure you send a consistent message to your audience.
Elements of a compelling domain name
When using your domain name as a branding tool, it’s helpful to start by brainstorming concise, memorable, and keyword-rich options. An ideal branded domain name:
- Concise and Memorable – Shorter domain names are typically easier to remember and can be a catchy way to reinforce your brand.
- Incorporates your business’s name, function, or unique value props – Display the relevance of your brand by indicating its primary purpose through your domain name.
- Is distinct from your competitors – As a representation of your digital identity, your domain name should be unique to your brand.
It’s also essential to ensure your domain name is clear and memorable. For instance, when your domain name is communicated in an advertisement or a simple conversation, people should be able to interpret its spelling easily.
Domain names that include numbers could confuse customers, as they may not know whether to spell out the number or simply have the numerical character. You also want to avoid hyphens for this exact reason, and because they don’t translate well via word of mouth. In addition, using awkward spelling like “lawyr.com” may seem trendy, but can also easily get lost in translation.
Incorporating keywords in domain names
Your domain name is an opportunity to strengthen your brand messaging with thoughtful keyword choices. Along with contributing to a cohesive brand image, your domain name can improve the visibility of your online content. Potential customers may be more likely to click on your link when they see the keywords they’re searching for in your domain name.
As you draft options for your web address, consider how you can naturally incorporate relevant keywords on both sides of the dot. These domain names each leverage relevant industry keywords to connect with a specific audience:
Each example above chooses keywords thoughtfully to keep the web address clear and concise. Keyword selection can also be considered in relation to search engine optimization (SEO). Here are a few best practices for improving the SEO of your domain name to boost your site’s visibility:
- Embrace simplicity – Shorter domain names typically generate higher traffic than their longer counterparts, so prioritize brief, simple domain names.
- Focus on readability – Search engines typically prioritize websites that are easy for humans and automated website crawlers to understand. Avoid lengthy page paths with arbitrary numbers and characters when setting up your linking structure.
- Choose thoughtful keywords – Avoid stuffing too many keywords into your domain name, and instead opt for one or two impactful words that complement your brand.
Protecting your brand and domain
Your domain name isn’t just the digital address for your company—it’s a piece of your intellectual property. Because your domain name is one of the key elements distinguishing you from competitors, it’s important to be proactive about protecting it from threats.
Domain hijacking occurs when a third party takes control of someone else’s web address, removing the original owner’s access to the site. This typically occurs when hackers gain access to a site’s Domain Name System (DNS) credentials. It can also refer to situations where a domain name expires and someone registers it before the original owner can complete the renewal process.
To avoid domain hijacking, start by working with a reputable registrar who’s committed to protecting your site. Look for providers that provide two-factor authentication and other security tools to combat against hackers.
If you have a well-known brand name, bad actors may attempt to profit from your brand recognition. Competitors may register variations of your domain name to steal traffic that was originally intended for your site. Registering your domain and business names for trademark protection can give you a legal avenue to take down sites infringing on your copyright.
You can also protect your digital identity by proactively claiming common variations of your domain name. For instance, some brands purchase common misspellings of their primary domain name to ensure that they capture traffic from everyone who intends to visit their website. You can also claim your domain name with various common extensions (like .COM, .NET, or .ORG) to prevent competitors from capturing your customers and ensure you remain distinct in your industry.
Branded domain extensions vs traditional extensions
Branded, keyword-based domain extensions and traditional TLDs can be powerful tools for supporting your brand. Traditional extensions have been established since the dawn of the internet, to the point that “dot com” is now synonymous with web-based businesses. However, new TLDs can provide additional flexibility, enhanced branding opportunities and are more cost-effective.
One of the main benefits of using a branded extension is the ability to make your domain name more descriptive with relevant keywords after the dot. For example, a graphic design business focused on bringing handmade designs into the digital world could reference its services and, in turn, strengthen its brand identity with any of these options:
Additionally, descriptive domains allow you to incorporate your business name into your digital address while showcasing your primary offerings and maintaining brand consistency.
If your business name doesn’t directly include any industry keywords, using a branded TLD can be a powerful choice that strengthens your online identity. For example, watsonhomes.build or snazzyglam.makeup feature a branded domain name first, then clarify the business’s purpose with an industry-specific keyword.
Using domain-based email addresses
After establishing your new domain name, create a custom, domain-based business email, such as email@example.com, to provide your customers with an even more consistent brand experience. Incorporating your domain name into your email address has several benefits:
- It showcases professionalism within your brand’s communications
- It fosters trustworthiness
- It promotes your website with every message you send
- It boosts your brand visibility
- It creates a consistent experience that further strengthens your brand identity
You can also set up multiple email accounts under the same domain name to streamline your communications and make it easier for your customers and business partners to connect with your various departments and teams.
For instance, instead of using the same email address across communications, you can create different addresses that direct customers to your customer service team, human resources department, or even a specific person on your team—all while utilizing the same brand name.
Titan email hosting service can help your business establish a powerful and professional business email account. Simply choose a plan that fits your business needs and get access to a suite of features such as email hosting, calendar management, and multi-account management.
Brand your business with Name.com
In today’s digital landscape, your business’s domain name reflects your business identity. While your business name and domain name don’t necessarily have to match, they’re both key aspects of your brand. By strategically selecting your domain name—and any secondary domains that link to your site—you can strengthen your brand recognition and promote a cohesive digital identity for your business.
To find the most relevant, optimized domain names to support your brand, use Name.com’s powerful domain name search tool. Whether you’re just starting out or looking for ways to solidify your digital identity, Name.com can help you take a domain-focused approach to your brand.
Forbes. Top Website Statistics for 2023. https://www.forbes.com/advisor/business/software/website-statistics/
Knowledge at Wharton. How (Not) to Name a Company in the Digital Era. https://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/not-name-company-digital-era/