A few simple tricks will help your customers remember your brand and make you easier to find.
Make it easy to spell (and pronounce)
Think about your target market. You need to appeal to them. If they speak French, then it’s fine to include a word in French. But if they don’t speak French, they are going to have problems spelling or even remembering it.
There’s a thing called ‘processing fluency’ which is a bias that people have hard-coded in their brains. It means that people remember things they can easily say or think about. That includes pronounceability. If it’s too hard to pronounce, it’s not going to be remembered.
To avoid your URL being deemed too difficult to say, spell or remember, pick something that your target market will definitely know. Keep it simple. Unusual spelling will deter people, as will numbers. If your product is called ‘Happy One’, will people go to happy1.com or happyone.com?
Don’t make it difficult for people to find you!
Turn it into a brand
Coming up with something easy to remember is easier said than done. You need to choose something people can keep in mind and not be easily confused with another brand. For instance, if you needed a shoe store URL that has good recall:
ShoeStore.com would be easily confused with ShoeShop.com
Shoes-for-you.com has hyphens which make it more difficult for people to remember. Is it shoesforyou.com or maybe shoes-foryou.com?
ShoesGloriousShoes.com is memorable as it plays on a well-known song, making it easy to remember and unique.
Make it short
Did you know humans can only hold about seven numbers in their working memory? Our working memory has limited capacity. Humans also have a tendency to shorten things. Game of Thrones is GoT, President of the United States is POTUS, and McDonalds is Mickey D's,. If you have a long name, people are going to shorten it. This will make you harder to find. If they search for your shortened name, it may not result in them finding your site.
.com unless you exclusively operate in one country
.com is the standard domain extension and it takes effort for people to remember your URL if you have a different extension. If a competitor has the .com, it’s likely you’ll lose business to them when people accidentally type in .com.
If you operate in a specific country, such as New Zealand, .co.nz is a good option, but buy the .com domain anyway to cover your bases.
You might need it in the future if you expand. It also stops people from stealing your company name domain. It’s worth buying and then have it redirect to the .co.nz site.
DiscountDomains.co.nz can help you with this.
Avoid copyright or trademark issues
Do a search before you commit to anything. Is there another business with the same (or very similar) name? Is the Facebook page available? Is the name similar to a movie or a trademarked name? Is the name trademarked or owned by someone else?
For instance, there are loads of trademarked names that have sneaked into our lexicon and we use them as generic words. For instance, Hula Hoop (owned by Mattel), Jandal (owned by a chap called Morris Yock) or Brand-Aids (Johnson & Johnson). Make sure you’re not impinging on someone else’s property.
Even if it’s totally accidental, the owner of the trademark can send you a cease and desist. At worst, that can be a costly court battle. At best, you have to re-brand and come up with another name.
It should make sense
People should intuitively know what it is that you’re selling. Shoesgloriousshoes.com is fairly obvious you’re selling shoes.
Keywords are great but use them like chillies; sparingly
Google is constantly revising their algorithms in order to make people’s searches yield better results. Part of this is weeding out the spam. If you choose an URL like buybestshoes.com, it looks a bit spammy and you’ll struggle to claw your way up to the first page. However, a broad keyword connection or just a mention is enough.
For instance, if you had a pasta shop, ‘Italian food’ could be a broad option, or simply ‘food’.
Modify your name
If your shop is called Shoes, Glorious Shoes, you can change it a bit. For instance, adding ‘Christchurch’ will help you come up in Christchurch rankings (although this may limit you for the rest of the world). Shoesgloriousshoesonline.com is fine (although getting too long, so maybe just glorioushoesonline.com).
You can add a suffix or prefix word to get the URL you want.
Think about the future
Where is this business going? Are you creating a website to have a façade of respectability for a small bricks-and-mortar store or are you growing an empire? If you are gunning for world domination, future-proof your site. Buy the .com, the .co.nz, and any other extension that is important. This stops competitors buying your domain and funneling away customers.
Also consider the name. Don’t include a geographic area since it may limit your SEO reach and also the perception of your customers.
The name should also be broad that your range can evolve future. While you may only sell redleathershoes.com, in the future if you sell green ones or move into Crocs as well, the URL will be redundant or misleading.
Powered by coffee, Matthew Chalk has been working to help small and large New Zealand businesses dominate their search marketing for over 4 years. .
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