Ten years ago, a good domain name was the most important thing in the world. Companies would bid millions of dollars to get the right domain name, legal battles would ensue (no pun intended) over who should rightfully own a domain, and registering the right domain name was usually the first step in launching a company, campaign or new tagline. In those early days of the Internet, the domain made the site and marketers relied on a good memorable domain name to help promote a site. Since that time, the importance of the domain name seems to have faded for many organizations. Marketers have begun to assume that the average Internet user is sophisticated enough to remember an increasingly complex URL, or take the easy option of placing a URL for their new product, service or campaign underneath that of the main brand (eg – www.companybrand.com/campaign) and are under the false belief that there are no good domain names left.
The fact is, there are several big reasons that marketers need to revisit the importance of the domain name in their strategy. Here are a few points that many businesses have forgotten about domain names:
1. The domain name should come first. When planning a new tagline or strategy, consider the domain name early in your process. This is not to suggest that every good tagline should be thrown out when a domain is not available … but consider who has the domain registered and be realistic about how important it is to your strategy to have it. People WILL search for you based on the most logical domain name. f it’s gone and you can’t get it, maybe it’s time to rethink the strategy.
2. Domain names aren’t gone forever. Remember those “domain troll” companies that registered thousands of domain names in the early 2000s in the hopes of selling them for megabucks? Well they are all out of business now and their archives of domain names they gobbled up on five year deals are now expiring and coming on sale.
3. People can’t spell. They never could before, but with the rise of spellchecks and a new generation without the necessity to spell correctly (and finding a new lexicon for text messages), registering only a single spelling of a domain name could be a recipe for disaster. Make sure you register the common misspellings of your domain name, otherwise you risk being victimized by the “typosquatters.” These are the people who register your common misspellings to siphon off your traffic and potentially mislead your customers.
4. Alternative TLDs do matter. As Internet users get more familiar with domain names online, the use of other domains beyond “.com” will continue to rise. Keeping an eye on additional Top Level Domains (TLDs) added and what is available in your domain name will be well worthwhile. Though I couldn’t get www.influentialmarketing.com registered, I do now own the .biz, .info, and .org versions of it. Perhaps I can convince Ropers to let me have the .com version some day … and in the meantime, I will have to make do with my “official” registered URL for my blog www.influentialmarketingblog.com.
5. Domain names are the ultimate search marketing tool. As anyone who has studied search engines or professes to be a Search marketing expert will tell you, a good domain name that mentions certain keywords will go a long way to helping your site appear on search engines for the right searches. And the best part of all? You may be able to avoid paying for those keyword ads on Google and invest that money elsewhere.
So these things lead to five very simple rules you can follow to get smarter about your domain name strategy:
1. Register domain names early in your business planning.
2. Set up email alerts to let you know when domain names with certain keyword combinations become available https://www.networksolutions.com/manage-it/keyword-login.jsp and bid on soon to be expired domain names, or names that may be up for sale.
3. Register common misspellings, and use Google’s keyword tool to research a list of common misspellings
4. Register other TLDs for your chosen URLs.
5. Consider registering common keywords as part of your URL or as part of alternatives for your URL so you can attract search traffic for those keywords.
Any other tips you have about domain names and how best to use them for marketing. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know!
Rohit Bhargava is author of the anticipated new marketing book, Personality Not Included and an award winning blogger at Influential Marketing Blog .He is also a founding member of the Ogilvy 360 Digital Influence team, a part of one of the largest marketing and communications agency groups in the world.Google+