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Choosing the right domain name for your business

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The introduction of new Top-Level domain (nTLD) names has made it easier to create the right web address for your business. A good web address can help you build a brand that will stick in your customer’s minds and instill confidence, whereas one that’s too complicated or vague can scare people off.

Some old goodies

Before the launch of the nTLDs, businesses could still be creative with their web addresses, even though their choices were limited. Lifestyle brand TOAST made good use of the official country code domain name for the Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Principe - ‘.st’ - by creating the catchy web address www.toa.st, which is short and very memorable.

Another popular pre-nTLD era domain name was ‘.travel’, giving those businesses involved in the travel and tourism industry the freedom to be more sector-specific with their web address, such as Cape Town Tourism with www.capetown.travel and touring company VIVID Travel (www.vivid.travel). Governing bodies also had the chance to venture beyond the dry and bureaucratic choices of ‘.org’ or ‘.gov’, so  such as the National Association of Travel Agents Singapore who use www.natas.travel.

Say what you do

The new domain names give you a lot more variations to choose from, giving you a better chance of using one that works better with your brand identity and clearly says what your business does. Your web address is an important part of your overall branding plan, so keeping it short and memorable is crucial.

An example of this is Normanton Church, the popular wedding venue, that has opted for the web address www.normantonchurch.wedding. Other businesses using domain names to help state their business sector including photography darkroom Light Box with www.lightbox.photo, Texas-based Saputo Law Firm using www.saputo.law and online fashion industry magazine www.theindustry.fashion

The hospitality industry has also picked up the trend so customers can tell what they are from their web addresses. The Kent-based pub Market House uses the very simple and effective web address www.markethouse.pub,  while café and roastery Little Wolf is using www.littlewolf.coffee. These send a clear-cut message to people who see their web addresses, telling them exactly what their business is about.

Say where you’re from

An effecitive way of instilling confidence and trust in customers is showing them where you’re from, especially if you’re a service providing business. People feel more comfortable dealing with a local business and enjoy the feeling of helping their local economy. To help gain that trust you can use specific city domain names, such as Dot London. 

City domain names can be well used by local gyms, estate agents, restaurants or even dog grooming parlours. Michelin starred chef, Eneko Atxa, has used the Dot London web address www.eneko.london for his first London-based restaurant, Eneko Basque Kitchen & Bar, and luxury health club, Third Space, is using one for all of its clubs – www.thirdspace.london

A location-based web address is useful for events, such as Alexander Palace’s annual Fireworks Festival using the very simple www.fireworks.london, as well as venues, from the intimate Soho-based Borderline (www.borderline.london) to the vast state-of-the-art events space, ExCeL London (www.excel.london). 

Having the power of a world-renowned city brand like London attached to your business is a good reason to opt for a city-based domain name rather than anyother suffix. As well as London, some other major cities are boasting their own domain names, including Paris, Tokyo and Berlin. Creative agency, Manifest, have realised the opportunity in localising their web addresses and strengthening their local links by using different city domain names for each of their offices in London, Paris and Stockholm. 

Something a bit different

You can also use your domain name to help stick in people’s minds by using a bit of humour. Scotland-based waste management and septic tank services business, Grant Henderson Tankers, have achieved this by using Italy’s country domain name to create an email address that suitably describes what they do - ‘info@wemovesh.it’.

When choosing your domain name it’s good to look at options beyond the obvious ‘.com’ or ‘.co.uk’. Think about how you can ensure that your customers can either understand what you do or know where you’re based to help them build a strong, meaningful and trustful relationship with you. Additonally, if your business expands abroad or your mission statement changes over time, it’s good to purchase multiple domain names so that you can be prepared with the right web address for the occasion. 

This article comes courtesy of Dot London, the official domain name for London. Click here for the chance to own a discounted Dot London domain name from GoDaddy.