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Using your domain name(s) in your marketing and promotions

Just because you already have a website doesn’t mean you do not need a new domain name, says Internet consultant Graham Jones. But choosing the right name is crucial

If you already have a website, what value is a new domain name? It’s a good question. First, you need to look at the domain name that you currently use – how user friendly is it and more importantly, can it be used effectively in your marketing and promotion?

Secondly, do you need a secondary domain name? These can be used for specific campaigns to redirect people to particular pages on your website, for instance. Or they can be used to help drive traffic to new products and services.

Choosing the right domain name requires you first to think about how you will be using the name. If it is only ever going to appear online, as a link, then the length of the name or the wording you use is largely unimportant.

However, if you are going to use the domain name in “word of mouth” situations, such as when you are talking with potential visitors or mentioning your domain name in a business presentation, then you need a short and memorable name. Also, short names help when it comes to public relations – newspapers will not print long domain names as they break up over narrow columns. Plus if you have a short or memorable domain name it is easier to use on the radio, for instance.

Domain name selection

When selecting a domain name there are virtually endless possibilities if you think about them for a while and consider things from a creative perspective. While the domain name you really want might have gone, an extra word here or there is all you need to add and you are very likely to be able to get what you want.

One way out of the situation of domain names having gone is supposedly to use a hyphen. But I’d avoid that. For a start, there is the possibility of confusion with the alternative website without the hyphen. Plus you have the awkward necessity of telling people to use a hyphen when they type in your domain name. Hyphens are ignored by Google and other search engines, so there is also the danger that you could lose out in ranking terms with the alternative site that does not have a hyphen.

If you are not immediately creative, use a tool such as Nameboy. This allows you to enter two words and then it comes up with all kinds of combinations that might make useful domain names. This process can help trigger some ideas for you. Another option is Panabee. This takes your two words and presents you with a host of alternatives, including mixing up the letters. Or try Namemesh if you want a long list of suggestions.

Psychological impact

One thing you also need to consider is the psychological impact of your domain name. For example, would Facebook have caught on in the same way with people of all generations if it had retained its original name: Facemash?

You want your domain name to be memorable, easy to say, straightforward to type and that doesn’t sound like something it is not. You also do not want things that can confuse, such as words that can be misheard or easily spelled incorrectly.

Also, think about how conjoined words could be misread. The company “Pen Island” that sells a variety of pens probably has more than its fair share of interest with its domain name ‘www.penisland.net‘. However, it does pass the test for memorability.

Consider what your domain name gives to your brand. How you might use it in your promotions and how new domains can be used to raise awareness and draw people to your business.

Just because you already have a website does not mean you do not need a new domain name.

Visit Graham’s website

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