Domain Names – A Vital Part of Your Internet Marketing Success

November 24, 2011 by  Filed under: Domain 

Not since Columbus discovered the New World in the 15th century have such vistas of real estate been opened to humanity. Now that we have exhausted the frontiers of our planet, we created a virtual “New World” in the 20th century. The Internet opened to commercial businesses in 1988 and our lives have never been the same. It is virtually impossible to market and promote your business in modern commerce without a commanding and increasing Internet presence. As with physical expansion, cyber real estate arises as the most basic and vital requirement to Internet marketing. Domain names are cyber real estate. While realtors understand their holy mantra to be “Location, location, location,” domain names have unique qualities which promote marketing value and increase business presence on the Web.

Simplification

Nobody would go to a Wal*Mart in the boondocks. Don’t make access to your website difficult because of a complex domain name – keep it simple. Technically, domain names may have up to 67 characters, but you should keep things simple and acquire a short domain name. Christopher Heng advises, “If you manage to get a short domain name though, the key is to make sure it’s a meaningful combination of characters.” [1] In other words, the random combination of “tk421.com” may be short but not simple!

Anyone trying to market their business on the web needs to have a memorable domain name. Of course, simple domains will be memorable. Avoid complexity or obscurity at any cost. Some companies choose abbreviations in their domain name. Unless your company is normally associated with abbreviations, these domains may be short but not easily remembered.

Much Internet traffic originates from people typing in a Web address or searching a given word in search engines. This human element involves the common mistake of misspellings and typos. The complexity of the domain name increases the risk of error on behalf of the average buyer. Dr. Ralph F. Wilson reports about Art-U-Frame.com who bought “art.com” and consequently doubled their sales. [2] Simple domain names are simply invaluable to Internet marketing.

Relation

Names represent specific objects. We all know Mickey is a mouse and Fido is a dog, so you don’t want to confuse potential customers by having a domain name that has nothing to do with your company or business. A strong relationship between the domain name and the business creates a strong marketing tool. Again Heng points out, “In the modern world of the Internet, where people automatically turn to the Web for information, it pays to have a domain name that reflects your site or business.” [3] Individuals who are looking to start a new business on the Internet have the opportunity to choose an identical business and domain name (e.g. Travelocity.com). For companies who have already worked hard to establish a company name, the challenge of finding a precise website address may be more challenging.

The debate over specific or general domains may be secondary to real Internet success, but it is central to a marketing strategy. If your company name is precise and adequately describes your business, then acquiring an identical domain name has proved to be a worthy investment. However, significant amount of traffic arises from buyers who generally search for a product or category. For example, people may broadly search “shoes” or “footwear” as opposed to “Ugg boots” or “Aasics Nimbus Crosstrainers.” Different strategies may encompass one or both of these approaches to draw in the most buyers. Generic domain names with keywords are another strategic element for marketing with a Web address. While hyphenated domains are typically stronger in keyword searches, you should be careful not to overdue it and sacrifice simplicity as in “p-a-t-t-e-r-n-s.net.” Essentially, a domain name needs to accurately reflect the business it represents and effectively relate it to the market.

Extension

All domain names have an extension. The domain extension is simply the letters which follow the dot. The most common extension is “.com,” but because the Internet has been established as an essential marketing tool, most of the good domain names with a “.com” extension have been taken. The availability of quality domain names as they have been defined has almost disappeared with the “.com” extension. This lack of real estate has generated the availability of several alternative extensions with different prospects and values.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) was established in 1998 to assist the government in overseeing issues related to the Internet. ICANN has approved of several top-level domain extensions over the past decade to broaden the horizons and possibilities for quality domains as have been defined. (To view a complete list of TLD’s, visit www.icann.org). Top-level domains are defined by ICANN as, “The right-most label in a domain name.” [4]

Periodically, different companies will offer a new domain extension to the public for registry. Network Solutions has recently offered the extension “.us.com.” This extension is a country-specific alternative domain name. While not yet recognized with a top-level domain status, it is likely to be approved as such by ICANN in the future.

This extension provides unique possibilities in two ways. First, it is a country-specific domain name. Several countries around the globe have domain extensions that promote businesses from or for their particular country. This does not mean that people from other countries can not access this website or do business with these companies. Rather, web addresses with country-specific extensions are making a concerted marketing effort toward their particular countries.

Some country-specific extensions exclude the “.com” and might appear simply “.us” or “.uk.” However, because “.us.com” retains the familiar “.com” in its extension it is not as unusual to the average person. After all, “.com” will always be the most common domain extension, so a complete break with its popularity is not necessarily the best choice. The new .us.com domains will open up domain names long ago taken by the early-adopting .coms, and could be a windfall for many businesses.

Simplification, Relation, Extension – These three qualities define a good domain name. The realm of domain names is ever expanding with the demand for increased presence on the web. Companies should not settle for obscure domain names that don’t relate to their business and are difficult for the populace to remember. The value and relevance of alternative domain extensions are being recognized by ICANN and other businesses offering these new domains for registry. Any business concerned for effective and competitive Internet marketing should acquire and develop good domains with quality websites. Anything short of this will leave a business in the dust of its competitors.

Paul Galla, President

[1] http://www.thesitewizard.com/archive/domainname.shtml

[2] http://www.wilsonweb.com/wmta/domain-name.htm

[3,4] http://www.icann.org/tlds

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