Tweak Your Biz » Marketing » Engaging Visitors With Your Website Domain Name

Engaging Visitors With Your Website Domain Name



This short guide to domain names looks at some of the things that may influence your choice of domain name for your business website. We also look at a few cool examples of how others are attracting customers using a domain name. First of all, a domain name is the name of your website. For some, you may already have your business name and your online marketing strategy may depend on this, especially if it’s well known brand and is well established. In that case, it’s more a case of choosing the end part eg. a .com or a .ie domain.

Top Level Domain Overview

There are a variety of top level domain (TLD) names to choose from and here are the main ones:

.com – most popular internationally especially for business

.org – used for non-profits

.eu – European in focus

.edu – used for educational, but mainly in US

.info – cheap and tend to be used by spammy sites

.tv – useful for multimedia sites

.net – used for business

.mobi – for mobile sites (though whether you want a .mobi for your mobile site, or to use a subdomain of your main site eg. m.rte.ie which is picked up by mobile browsers, or whether you want to build an app is another question)

Country-specific (ccTLD)  – names like .ie for Ireland or .co.uk for UK are used to target particular geographic markets.

Amas Domain Statistics, Winter 2010

from: Amas, State of the Net Winter 2010

Keeping it Irish

.ie domains are the best for those sites which target Ireland. But certain rules apply to these registrations and you generally need to be a registered business or trademark to get the name, though discretionary names are allowed also. See IEDR.ie for more.

Irish domain name registrations are running at an increase of 37% each year (IEDR), so they are very popular. And, as they’re more difficult to register, they tend to be higher quality sites and less spam-like. In fact, according to McAfee, .ie domains are amongst the top five safest domains in the world. [IEDR.ie]

Why.ie – this one belongs to the IE Domain Registry (iedr.ie) and as the name suggests, it aims to promote .ie domains. Nice, helpful site showing the benefits of a .ie domain.

123.ie – they’ve gone for the’ jingalicious’ quality (my kids keep singing it ‘..just log on and save money’), it’s  simple and easy to remember. There are no keywords in this domain name and the marketing strategy has focused on radio advertising. Now ‘car-house-life-insurance.ie’ just wouldn’t sound so catchy on the radio would it? So avoid names with hyphens as they’re hard to say. On the other hand, this term might do well in Google for insurance-related search terms.

Dropped.ie will let you search by keyword through .ie domain names that have been dropped and might give you ideas (though I suppose the fact that they’ve been dropped might suggest a lack of success…).

Branding

Owjo.com – when you go to develop your brand you need to do some research on domains and see what’s available. Owjo is a very interesting and fast-growing Irish company that has an ecommerce platform which can be dropped into almost any online space, from a Facebook Page to a website.  Even back in 2000 there weren’t many 4 letter .com domain names to be had and the founder created the brand Owjo using his two sons names and his nickname.

To protect your brand you may want to try and register the different TLDs for your name and then re-direct them to your main domain. For example, if your main site is on the .ie domain, you may also want to register the .com (if you can) and the .net to prevent other people using them. Visitors who manually type in website names in browsers often forget whether it’s a .ie or a .com, so it’s good to have both.

Keywords & Search

Search engines like Google need help in figuring out what your website is about and how relevant it is to search terms and it’s the job of an SEO specialist to help them. You have two types of visitors to your website that you probably want to engage with – humans and search engines. If you have an established brand and the name does not reflect what the business is about, but you have a competitor in the same business who has a keyword in their domain name, then that will give them an edge over you in search for that product or service. Google use the domain name as an input in determining what the site is about.

For example, www.floorsanddoors.ie (not to be confused with competitor www.doorsandfloors.ie!) ranks above brand name www.noyeks.ie for the term ‘doors’. It’s only one factor, but worth noting.

International Markets

www.Pants.com -   if we saw this site here in Ireland we’d be thinking undies (or maybe nonsense!), but in the US where this .com is presumably targeted, they’re selling trousers. This illustrates the importance of having the right keywords for your target market. Even if you start small, you may be exporting globally eventually.

To target international markets, the ideal situation is generally to have a country-specific top level domain name (TLD),  .co.uk in the UK or .fr in France, .de in Germany etc. Sometimes there are restrictions on the registration of country-specific domains. In France you need to have a physical presence in the country in order to register the domain. One of the biggest emerging markets is China, with a huge growth in .cn domains.

WWW

There’s no need to use the www at the beginning of your domain name. Your audience are increasingly internet savvy, and leaving it out keeps your domain name shorter.

You can set a preference with Google (in Webmaster Tools) for the  www  or non-www version of your domain name, and they will use this preference to index your content and show this in their search results. From a search engine optimisation (SEO) perspective, re-direct the www to the non-www (or vice versa), so that all links are being counted to the appropriate domain.

Fun Domain Names

Ma.tt – If any of you have heard of WordPress (and Bloggertone runs on WordPress) – it’s an open-source blogging and CMS platform – then you may have heard of Matt Mullenweg, the founder of WordPress. He has his blog on ma.tt, with the .tt being the country code for Trinidad and Tobago.

As you might expect, he also has a pretty cool theme (or styling) running on his blog.

In fact , I’d rather like to get my own  – jenn.ie

However, while you are entitled to register your personal name on a .ie domain, it cannot be a nickname or firstname only.  Perhaps I’ll trademark it…

Krishna.me -another way of individualising a domain name is to get a .me. There’s been a bit of a landgrab so your name may be gone already, but Krishna De (Social Media Marketing  & Branding guru) has a very informative Digital Marketing & Social Media blog on a .me domain.

Text.me – Sotxtme, an Irish start-up has acquired this domain name and is about to launch a new SMS advertising service. So you may see lots of active verbs on .me domains.

The .me was the country code for Montenegro until it became so popular with virtual ‘me’s. As the domain names got taken up the Montenegrins decided to use .co.me, .org.me  etc.

Curious Domain Names

Bit.ly – you may have seen these URL shorteners being used in social media, Twitter in particular, to facilitate sharing . To get a 3 character domain name they needed to look further than a .com and instead took a virtual trip to Libya (one of the least online places in the world at the moment due to political turmoil).

It’s short, unique, distinctive, and easy to remember.

Looonng

According to the IEDR’s Domain Name Industry Report for 2010, the longest Irish domain name registered, at 51 chars, is: irishnationwidetaxationandfinancialplanningservices.ie

Whoa, that took a long time to type.

Are there any brilliant uses of domain names you’ve come across?



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The Author:

Based in Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin, I'm a Digital Marketing and SEO consultant working with small businesses to improve their profile and build their business online with a collaborative and knowledge-sharing approach. Whilst concentrating on optimising sites for search engines, the opportunities presented by social media and networking are also part of the picture and this fast-moving space is very exciting for anyone doing business on the web. It's all part of the 'conversation'. http://www.hal9000.ie/seo/

Add Your Comment

  • http://twitter.com/fredchannel Fred

    Great post Jennie!nA very important subject. Most of the people in business that are working on a website or blog, pay very little attention to the selection of their domain/s (they think it’s just a name) when in fact is a huge decision. It could become a a pretty big headache later on…

  • Facundo

    Good summary Jennie and some interesting facts there. I was completely unaware that the .ly came from Libya.

  • http://www.tweakyourbiz.com Niall Devitt

    Hi Jennie, Nice to see you back blogging on here! I’m afraid I’ve learnt the hard way with respect selecting to domain names. I choose btbtraining.com, which in hindsight was a mistake I’m now going to have rectify particularly as my personal brand i.e. Niall Devitt is now much better known. Together with this post let it be a warning to others :)

  • http://twitter.com/beatricewhelan Beatrice Whelan

    Hi Jennie,nGreat post. When going for a keyword based domain, what do you think of using the Google Keyword tool to get ideas of what keyword domain to register? I’m sure you know but just for others, the tool is available at https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal nYou can use the tool to find out what keywords are search for most in your own country and globally. It may help you decide what domain name is best to use for SEO purposes, no point in targetting a keyword that no one is searching for.nnI registered a personal domain name beatricewhelan.ie and use that for my business but some people have said that I should really register a company name and a domain name to go with it.

  • http://twitter.com/ElisesReview Elise M

    Whoa, this is some pretty cool info on domain names! I love the fun ones, like Ma.tt… I totally want to make one of those!!!nnI usually always try to stick to .com names no matter what because “dot com” has just been seared into our brains and it’s easy to remember. I’m seeing a lot more of this “no need for .www” advice too, so I’m going to keep this in mind for future reference as well.nnThanks a lot for the cool info Jennie! I always learn something new about this kind of stuff.

  • http://www.hal9000.ie Jennie

    Bit.ly have a couple of root servers based in Libya also – service hasn’t been affected and is unlikely to be, but it’s not the ideal place to be at the moment…

  • http://www.hal9000.ie Jennie

    Thanks Beatrice.nnYes definitely, the Google Keyword Tool is the first place to do some keyword research – to see what terms people are actually searching on.nnFor your own business, while your name is distinctive perhaps it is suggestive of ‘personal’ as opposed to ‘business’, implying 1 employee, whereas in fact you may have more or expand in the future. nnBut then it depends on the business. Niall feels he’s in the opposite situation, where his personal name has become his brand, and his domain name (while it has keywords) no longer reflects this.nnn

  • http://www.tweakyourbiz.com Niall Devitt

    Hi Patricia, Welcome to Bloggertone! I’m a big believer in collaboration being the new competition for small businesses in particular. I’ve begin to experience this myself to a large degree in the last 24 months. Social media is a great tool in this regard, because it acts like a lighthouse to like minded businesses and individuals. Because I have developed my online profile, I am now regularly contacted by others and asked to work on projects with others.

  • http://frugalentreprenuer.com/ Adam Gottlieb

    Welcome, Patricia!nnYou bring up some very good points… However, since most people go into business to make money, it may be very hard for them to be of the opinion that “…business success can only be determined via customer satisfaction and not by profit margins.”nnIn truth, collaboration and competition are not mutually exclusive. Collaboration is a vital business tool precisely because it makes those businesses that rely on it, more *competitive.* In other words, the collective knowledge, expertise, and resources gives the businesses that know how to use them, a leg up on their competition. nnSo too, for that matter the idea of “open communication” and “building trust”- they are fast becoming standard business strategies (by the businesses who are smart enough to realize what’s happening) based on trying to maximize profits, and not on the actual value of their customers. nnAdam

  • http://www.ivanwalsh.com Ivan Walsh

    Hi Patricia, nnInteresting post as I’m writing a white paper for a client on document collaboration. nnOne way I see this working is when two (or more) firms have skills that compliment each other u2013 not compete u2013 and can use these to land bigger projects. nnA simple example would be a web design company linking up with a software house. Each can focus on their respective areas and use these larger set of skills to win contracts which they’d be unlikely to win on their own.

  • Patricia

    Hey folks, first a big thank you for the warm welcome to ‘bloggertone’ & taking the time to share and comment on my post – delighted & honoured to be on here!nnAlso, thrilled from your sharings that my post appears to mirror a global shift in thought already happening – spurned on by the power of Social Media no doubt! Looking forward to learning, sharing and communicating with you all more …nnPatricia

  • http://www.ivanwalsh.com Ivan Walsh

    Hi Frank, nnEdward De Bono made the point that the root of this may be in the education system, for example, we rewards kids based on their individual results whereas in the u2018real worldu2019 your success is determined more by how you collaborate with others.nnTeaching and rewarding kids to collaborate may be one way to change how we interact in business scenarios. I know I find this difficult as, even when working as part of a team, there is always the competitive element to be the cleverest, fastest etc. It ainu2019t easy :)nnIvann

  • Patricia

    What a great and thoughtful share Frank – ties into a statement that a great leader I was fortunate to work alongside often proclaimed to his ‘team’ – he compared our team to a bicycle wheel where “there are big cogs and little cogs but the wheel won’t turn unless all the cogs work in unison & every cog in the wheel has as much importance as the other.” This ethos created a fair and open work force where everyone give there best. I really like your message, though I’m not advocating we fall in love with bicycle’s …

  • http://www.encouragingexcellence.ie/ Mairu00e9ad Kelly

    Brilliant post Frank! I think Ivan hit the nail on the head when he mentioned our educational reward system. We are taught from a very young age to be single minded about getting ahead and often develop an intorelance for others not playing at our level. Thankfully that is changing. At my daughter’s Parent-Teacher meeting this year social skills played as big a part in the report as academic ability.nnWhen I was a party plan manager used the acroynm T.E.A.M. to help motivate my team to work together: together everyone achieves more.

  • http://www.sharonhearty.com Sharon

    Hi Frank, I missed this post earlier and just picked up on it via Niall’s links post and I am so delighted to have read it and I share a very recent and personal experience in relation to the message you convey in this post….. to cut a long story short nnI have an ethos of giving as much as I can to help others and have always been supportive of new team members and especially new entrants to the working world throughout my years working in the corporate sector. I was recently asked, now in business for myself, to undertake a project for a business I did not know, but I knew the head of marketing and for the very reason that you articulated in your post, this person was once the new member of my team and new to the workplace and it mattered so much that there was ‘love’ to use the word in your post by way of encouragement, support, open door to help, guidance and so on. I never realised the impact of what you do can ressonate with another person for so long (the negative we all get that it is remembered for a very long time but the good stuff it is great to know it makes a difference). Whilst this is a very personal story I felt that it relates to your post and gives us a little evidence of the importance of team work on every level. I am a great believer that everyone in your business is an equal and has something to bring to the table and making them feel like this is unmeasurable. Too often people are geared to impress, pay attention to those ranking higher in business because they often hold the key to ones future – however we never know how the future turns out and just who can hold a future key. n

  • http://twitter.com/demandMCG Market Creation Grp

    We’ve helped a few companies create names for products, and hence they have to create a url for their new website. In our selection, we are always against a .net domain if the .com is already taken. What do you guys think? Do you agree? Are we crazy?

  • http://www.hal9000.ie Jennie Molphy

    Hello Denver,nnI’d have to agree with you there – people will always go to the .com first. A .net is kind of like second place.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the comment Niall. I think there are lots of things that businesses pay lip service to, and it would certainly seem that for quite a few the notion of “our people coming first” is sorely lacking.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the comment Ivan. Very well said. Thinking back to my Secondary school days in the late 80s and early 90s, I find it hard to recall any group based projects, in which we needed to collaborate with our classmates.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the comment Mairead. It’s good to hear that things are changing in schools. Are they encouraging more group based projects that contribute to final exam results?

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the comment Sharon. Wonderful story that illustrates the point made in my posts. Thanks for sharing. I remember my first ever boss saying to me that Ireland is such a small place and that one should never burn bridges. Your story also shows that by going in the opposite direction and building bridges can pay off a long time down the line.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the comment Patricia. For what it’s worth I love bicycles. I saw a brilliant quote recently from H.G. Wells that said “When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race”.nnGreat analogy.nnWe all have great fondness for great leaders we’ve had the luck to work under in the past. One of the features that comes across in the book about Lombardi, was how highly those who played under spoke of him.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the comment Elaine. I’ve taken a note of the book you mention, and have added it to my to-read list.

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