Websites are often referred to as a digital storefront, but they’re so much more than that. Modern websites serve as everything from information resources to purchasing platforms. Their content is crucial for achieving a high ranking in search engine results pages, and even a website’s address carries real significance.
Think about that for a moment. Nobody goes into a store because they like its address, yet a company domain name plays a key role in publicizing and promoting any business with an online presence.
Here are some of the key ways in which your company domain name reflects and promotes your brand:
The Top Level Domain is the final part of a website address – like .biz or .me. These are examples of newer TLDs, launched over the last decade by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN. ICANN was charged in the late Nineties with reducing demand for the all-conquering.com TLD – which indicates a website belongs to a company – by offering a range of alternatives. As the availability of .com addresses continues to decline, there are now over a thousand other TLDs to choose from. Some are too wacky to be taken seriously, but the likes of .us and .net deserve consideration alongside .com and .biz, among many others.
The distinguishing part of your company domain name is the part between the three Ws and the TLD. Incorporating a brand name will give you an instant lift in any Google or Bing searches involving that name. If your web address is www.thisismybrand.com, then you can also have a firstname.lastname@example.org email addresses, so recipients instantly know who you are. Subtle brand-building like this helps to keep your company’s name in people’s minds.
If you run a chain of cafés across Texas, you aren’t going to be appealing to customers in New York. However, if your company domain name is www.texascafes.com, caffeine lovers in Dallas and Fort Worth will instantly know your website is relevant to them. Just as town or state names can increase the chances of site visitors being local, try to use common industry terms to outline what you do. These keywords will score very highly in search results.
This is something of a grey area. People like concise web addresses, and often find longer addresses easier to read and retype if each word is hyphenated. Search engines can associate lots of dashes or slashes with spam sites, yet multiple keywords will allow the algorithms used to calculate search engine results pages to rank that site more accurately. The optimal balance is keenly debated, but everyone agrees repeating letters hinders an address’s legibility. The www.texassugarrush.com address would be a poor choice for a chain of cafés, while using a mix of upper and lower case may confuse servers into reporting 404 Page Not Found errors.
People need reassurance that companies are easy to deal with. Using a lengthy and convoluted URL can create an unwelcome sense of confusion and complexity, while humor is very subjective and best saved for the About Us page. A simple and easily recited company domain name will reassure potential customers that your brand is professional and easy to deal with.