Do You Commit These 6 Costly Mistakes When Choosing a Domain Name?

Your domain name is an important part of business branding. Choose a poor one, and it could reflect that on your products and services, but choose an excellent domain name and you’re one step closer to brand domination.

You should put a lot of thought and research when choosing a domain name because it will be hard to rebrand it later, not to mention very costly for the business.

Below are six mistakes that you should avoid when thinking about the URL of your website. They’re poor choices because it makes your domain name confusing and less memorable to your customers.

1. It’s too long

The longer your domain name is, the more likely your customers will make a mistake when typing it, even if it’s easy to remember.

So the general rule is: the shorter, the better.

This is one reason why Cebu Pacific spent thousands of pesos printing their domain name on their planes. According to their research, people were typing “cebupacific.com” and “cebupacific.ph” rather than the correct URL, “cebupacificair.com”

cebupac

2. It differs from your business name

The best domain name is always your business name. But sometimes, for SEO purposes, business owners choose to go for keyword-rich domain names instead. Don’t do this.

If you have solid, quality content, then there’s no need to sacrifice branding for a bit of SEO advantage. Your customers should come first, and giving them a consistent name has more advantage in the long run.

For example, search for “life insurance Philippines” on Google and you’ll get a list of the top insurance companies in the country on the results. No where will you find “lifeinsurancephilippines.com” on the list (which exists by the way). This is proof that there’s not much of an SEO advantage in keyword-rich domain names (it used to, but not so much anymore).

3. It has the wrong domain extension

The best domain extension for businesses is “.com” – but other domain extensions exists not just as a second or third choice, but more importantly, to convey the nature of your website to your visitor.

Using “.org” is better if you’re a non-profit organization, a charity group, or a trade association. If you’re a school, then using the “.edu” domain extension will give you more authority. Furthermore, if you want to establish your presence in a particular country, then using a country-code top level domain is recommended.

And this is why Ateneo de Manila University uses “www.admu.edu.ph” or why the Philippine Red Cross uses “www.redcross.org.ph”

redcross

4. It’s difficult to remember

For the same reason as number 1 on this list – your potential visitor could misspell your domain name or worse – forget what it is. Also, avoid using hyphens because people will most likely forget typing them.

Just remember to keep it simple and memorable. And it helps if people can guess it intuitively from your business name.

For example, what do you think is the official website of Jollibee? What about the Philippine Department of Science and Technology? (Answers at the end of the article).

5. It resembles a competitor’s URL, or a popular website

Search for your planned domain name first on Google and inspect the results. Also, see what comes up when you search for other variations of your business name.

Your competitors could have bought a similar domain, and you certainly don’t want searchers to go to that website instead, which is possible because their domain name has already built authority, while yours is just starting. While less of an issue, but still a good concern, is if your domain name highly resembles another website.

One example is the website of the Philippine Investment Funds Association, which is “www.pifa.com.ph”. It’s very similar to the website of the Philippine Internet Freedom Alliance, which is “pifa.ph”. I’m sure there are Filipino investors who accidentally typed and got to the latter domain instead of the former.

6. It looks wrong when typed

Type your domain name in small-caps, and see how it looks.

It might not be obvious to you at first, but your planned URL might be read another way and convey a totally different, and horrible meaning to those not familiar with your business.

Our favorite examples are “Therapist Blog” which looks totally misleading as “www.therapistblog.com” and family-friendly website, “Kids Laughter” becomes a morbid “www.kidslaughter.com” (if you don’t get it, try isolating the first three letters of each domain).

Answers to Number 4 questions:
Jollibee = www.jollibee.com.ph
Philippine Department of Science and Technology = www.dost.gov.ph

Photo credits: flissphil and climatecentre

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