Brand name or domain: which comes first?

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Date: 3 April 2020

A notebook full of brainstorming ideas for a domain name

You've probably heard the old philosophical debate of "Which came first: the chicken or the egg?" That applies to the world of eCommerce when trying to decide whether you should choose your brand name first then handle the registration of a domain name or vice versa.

Several questions come to mind when handling such a critical aspect of business. Do you need to register your brand name because you've just come up with a creative idea, or is it something that you need to think over for a while? Before we answer that question, let's first try to understand what a domain name is.

In simple terms, a domain name is a name that is fixed to a specific IP address (the numerical label assigned to each device connected to the internet). With the help of a DNS (domain name server), the site’s IP address is associated with a domain name, which makes accessing a site much easier.

Which should come first: brand name or domain name?

The simple answer to this is that you need to secure your company's online domain name first. Registering the domain name gives you the exclusive claim to the rights reserved under the website. Once you have done that, you can focus on registering a brand name.

Unlike the old days, a company would come up with a brand name first. When the time came to create a company website, they would simply name the site after the business. For instance, a brand such as Milly's Bridals would have a domain name like millysbridal.org. Over the past decade the number of domain names has grown exponentially. The internet now hosts over 100 million domain names and trying to get a domain name that matches your brand name has become increasingly difficult.

We all understand the importance of having a company website. It offers you a chance to grow your business identity, and your target audience will rely on it to reach you online. Of course, you still have the freedom to create your brand name first, but because of the difficulty of finding a corresponding domain name, you may end up with a domain that's not the least related to the brand name.

Due to the rising number of domain names, it is incredibly difficult to find a .com extension. But new domain name extensions are being released, so you could choose .net, .us, .com, or biz. You can use a free domain checker to find a domain that resonates with your business brand to make the process easier, such as this one you'll find here.

Selecting a winning domain name

When you're choosing a domain name, you need to find one that establishes a solid online niche, but which also puts your business on the global map. Moreover, it needs to represent your enterprise in as few characters as possible. For many, that is easier said than done.

Make sure the domain name is memorable and straightforward. You can quickly check for that by conducting a blind test. Does your target audience recognise your brand name and domain and remember it simply by hearing about it? Ideally, your domain should be easy to spell and type. Make sure that it is short and that there are no hyphens.

In the competitive digital world, you also need to have a strong SEO strategy. This helps ensure your website appears on the search engine results page (SERP).

Choosing a cutting-edge brand name

A lot of thought is required when creating a brand name. Bear in mind that your brand has lasting, long-term implications for your business goals. Your brand name should spark positive associations among your target consumers. The brand name is the first thing that greets the eyes of the clients, so you must come up with a catchy, short, and powerful brand. Applying to trademark your domain name offers additional protection and allows you to use it in different business pursuits, whether it's a marketing campaign or targeting a specific demographic with online content.

You also need to have a brand name that stands out. It must also work well in other media. For example, when you’re creating a logo for it. That's not to say that you should deliberately choose something quirky, but when people hear the name, it should be memorable or elicit a "wow" response from the audience. Some people are influenced by emerging trends, but you should stick to your niche. Your name should reflect your values, goals, and personality. You should avoid 'pop language' or slang. Make it timeless

Wrapping up

Both the brand name and domain name are critical to any business. You need to exercise caution and tact when choosing them. Register your domain name first to make sure your website has an address that reflects the business. From there, you can find a brand name that will match the domain name. It will be to your benefit in the long term.

Copyright 2020. Article made possible by Mary Derosa. Mary is a passionate blogger and the chief editor at her own content marketing company PRable.com

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