When building a brand, it is Branding 101 in the 21st century to purchase multiple variations of your website domain, even if you don’t plan on using them, to ensure you have control of your brand name on the web. You wouldn’t want consumers to go to another website thinking it’s yours, or worse, someone building a mock website that hurts your brand identity. Unfortunately, Jeb Bush has learned this lesson the hard way while building his brand as the potential next President of the United States.
Jeb Bush’s campaign was running under the domain Jeb2016.com, but his entourage failed to purchase domains with variations of Jeb’s name, including JebBush.com, and GOP frontrunner Donald Trump seized that opportunity. If you try to visit JebBush.com, you will be redirected to DonaldJTrump.com, Trump’s official campaign site. Domain hijinks nowadays don’t make as big of an impact as they did 10 or 15 years ago, but this black eye didn’t help Jeb’s campaign, which ultimately came to an end in South Carolina this past weekend.
Update: The domain has since been deactivated since Bush has dropped out of the presidential race.
When starting a business, naming the company is somewhat a game of the chicken or the egg; which came first, the company name or the domain name? When considering a name for your company, you want something easy to remember that also describes the business, which is the same as a domain name. Easy enough, right? But, what happens when the name you picked isn’t available as a domain name? As of March 31, 2015, there are 294 million registered domain names, with registrations growing 6.5% every year. This means available online real estate is quickly decreasing, forcing entrepreneurs to choose more unique domain names to prevent stepping over any legal lines. When considering a domain name for your business there are several aspects you need to consider, including availability, the attractiveness, the ability to pronounce, SEO rank-ability, and extensions.
First, crosscheck your company’s name across the Internet, including on social media platforms, to make sure no one else is using it. It’s also important to consider cyber-squatters. Cyber-squatters register pre-established domain names across different extensions to profit off of the traffic. Established companies should consider buying popular misspellings of their brand, as well as different extensions to avoid cyber-squatters.
Next, you should consider the impression you want to give. New companies can opt for a branded domain, which could give some indication on what the company does, like Travelocity. Or, you can tap into human curiosity and go with something less direct, but easy to remember, like Kayak. Keep in mind that Millennials and Baby Boomers are attracted to different things so it is important to consider your demographic when coming up with a domain or company name.
According to Nielsen research, 84% of consumers trust word-of-mouth recommendations above all advertising. Think short and catchy, something easy to pronounce. The days of keyword-rich domain names are no more. Not only does Google prioritize shorter URLs, but also users are more likely to refer to companies with catchy names that are easy to spell and don’t require hyphens.
Though .com is still the number one choice for a domain extension, there are now generic top-level domains that can help companies describe their service, such as .travel. Not only could this help describe your service, but also it can add some personalization and make it stand out in the industry. Remember when Overstock.com switched to O.co?
Buying a domain name is the first step in building a brand. Start your entrepreneurial journey on the right foot by considering the above. Need assistance choosing a domain name? Robmark Web’s team of SEO specialists and website designers are happy to assist you in finding the perfect fit.