Your domain name or URL or “the link to your site” is what you put on your biz cards, your email signatures, and web profiles. It’s the link that people use to get to your website. And you don’t want to make this difficult for people to see, read or understand.
For example, mine is: www.CoachingSitesThatWork.com
It begins with “www” then has the name of the website, and then ends in the common “.com”. This is the most ideal way to have it as it’s what people expect.
You don’t want to have something that looks like these:
These look odd to you. They are not “branded” in the sense that they aren’t solely focused on your business. They have the extra words at the end that are for some other company. They add confusion when looked at.
The only benefit to having this kind of unbranded domain name for your website is that you won’t have to pay the $10 per year to own it. It’s usually free.
Here are the five reasons you SHOULD have a branded domain name:
1. Branded domain names are easier to remember.
When people try to pull up your website, they would love it if they could just type it in without thinking. If they have to jog their memory, dig through email or hunt down some piece of paper, they are likely to get frustrated or distracted and end up doing something else. (Digging through email is the worst!)
It’s also more difficult to share your website address with others you talk to if you can’t quickly recall it and pull it up on your iPhone. If you have to tell them you’ll email it to them later – you’ll probably agree that later = never.
2. Branded domain names are shorter.
Space is limited! The shorter and simpler your domain, the better on many fronts.
Web profiles on social networks, emails on handheld devices, and business cards all provide limited space when viewing or writing. The longer your name, the more space it takes and the more it’s at risk of not being understood, or copied correctly, or getting broken up in more than one line causing it to fail.
3. Branded domain names are easier to type in.
How many times do we get over frustrated with mis-typing in things to the browser? How hard is it to type on a small hand-held device?
Long domain names (common to those which are unbranded) are a pain to type in due to the length and due to the confusion as it’s just not what we are used to.
Every little shortcut, simplifier, usable trick we can use to help our visitors along is almost always worth it. Aiming for of simpler, lesser, quicker is almost always the move to make.
4. Branded domain names don’t distract visitors.
Unbranded domain names are typically free – free in terms of monetary cost. But you pay different price for having an unbranded domain name. You pay in “attention” – the asset of the Web.
Websites that are unbranded will have ads trying to promote the underlying service (for example, the free website builder offered by Weebly). And as a result, the underlying service will attempt to wisp away your visitor and get her to build her own site instead of spending time at yours.
5. Branded domain names don’t scream “over-night business.”
Having an automated website builder attached to your domain name says that your site was built overnight. Fly-by-night businesses and spammers gravitate to free services like these. You take a credibility hit.
It’s like having a flimsy, perforated business card you printed on your home printer last night.
In sum, remember that simplicity, ease and speed are highly underrated by website owners and highly appreciated by website visitors. Couple that with a strong message and you’ve got a winner.