Easy-to-Remember, Descriptive Domains Are Key to Successful Digital Branding and SEO Strategies
Driftaway Coffee’s domain, driftaway.coffee, is precise and to the point, eliminating the need for additional characters in its URLs. “We’re very passionate about having a descriptive domain,” say Suyog and Anu, co-founders of Driftaway. “With drift, away, and coffee, we can explain our entire business.”
Shawn “Doc Rock” Boyd, community manager of Ecamm, macOS’ live streaming app, doc.rock points out that businesses can also use descriptive domains to direct users to specific content. For example, “doc.rock” takes web users directly to his YouTube channel. When you have a long and convoluted domain name, it makes life difficult,” he says. “If people are searching for livestreaming, and you show up in the search with a short and memorable domain name like docrock.live, you have a higher likelihood that people will know what you do and click on it.
Rudy Ellis, Switchboard Live CEO, chose a descriptive domain, switchboard.live, during a rebrand to “clearly communicate the live streaming and content space.” He adds that his company, a Google for Startups Black Founders Fund recipient, has also benefited from increased visibility on the web. “Our domain name definitely gives us an advantage. First of all, we know it works for SEO. We get a lot of inbound traffic, and most of it is organic. We attribute that to our domain name,” Ellis says.
AMP Community, a tech company that provides advisory services and accelerator programming for diverse entrepreneurs, uses descriptive domains to help minority business owners find their resources, such as the newly launched amp.directory of minority founders and VCs.
Wrap Life, which offers authentic African headwraps, chose thewrap.life as its domain. Nnenna Stella, founder, says, “I wanted to have life in the name because it would need to be sold as a lifestyle brand. After changing to .life, we doubled sales of the previous 10 months in 2 months. Our domain is different, our product is different. All those things tell a really unique story that our customers love.”
Shannon Morton, CEO of Black Women Lead, which amplifies black women’s voices and partners with nonprofits to meet a range of needs, says their descriptive domain blackwomenlead.black has “supported marketing efforts and branding and has improved search engine optimization (SEO).”
According to MicroAcquire founder Andrew Gazdecki, brand marketing is the most valuable skill set for startups in 2021. MicroAcquire is a company that helps founders sell their startups—so when it comes to what makes a brand valuable, they would know.
Better domain, stronger brand
One of the most crucial steps in building a brand is choosing the right domain as a foundation. Your domain must be short, clear, and memorable. It must represent your brand and mean something to your customers. And it absolutely must set you apart from competitors.
Rather than default to legacy domain extensions like .com, .net, or .org, there’s a new wave of domains that use real words to both the left and right of the dot.
Domain investor Morgan Linton writes, “The days of needing a .com domain to raise millions of dollars and chart your course to hockey stick growth are over.” The article goes on to spotlight 10 startups who together have raised over $424M, and all of them have non-traditional domain names.
TrueName domains are new domain extensions (to the right of the dot) that offer more authenticity and flexibility for choosing a name that represents you. Now in addition to legacy domain extensions like .com or .net, you can choose something descriptive like .live, .attorney, or .solutions. In fact, TrueName domains include more than 240 options of descriptive domain extensions.
Not only do TrueName domains help build your brand, they also help protect it. All TrueName domains come with built-in security against domain fraud and phishing attacks.
The strategy behind choosing a great domain
A recent report from Trends says that establishing a strong brand is “the key to unlocking a cult-like following.” Niches are flooded with competition. Five years ago, new companies faced an average of 2.6 competitors. Today that number is 9.7. The question is no longer, “Can I build this?” but instead, “When I build this, will anyone care?”
The Trends report gives four things to keep in mind while building a unique, creative brand that stands out and inspires people to care:
- Tell a great story
- Stand for something
- Show how
- Pick a fight
Your domain is part of your brand, so make sure it aligns with your overall strategy. Here’s how choosing a TrueName domain supports each approach:
Your domain tells your story.
Wildly popular aperitif maker Haus built a strong brand based on the story of the founders, which they documented on Twitter. The brand, now established and funded, continues to build on that narrative, featuring the owners in their ads. Their domain says it all: drink.haus
It shows you stand for something.
If your brand stands for innovation and a forward-thinking attitude, choose a domain that stands for a new way of doing things, too. Ada, an AI-powered customer service chatbot startup, chose ada.support. It’s innovative, descriptive and specific, yet flexible enough to remain authentic as they scale and diversify their offerings.
Your domain conveys who you are and what you do.
Want to showcase your product, service, or value prop every time someone sees your URL? When you use real words to both the left and the right of the dot, your domain itself says what you do. That’s the case with api.video, a streamlined solution for adding video communication, recording, and sharing to apps.
Pick a fight.
The new wave of domains go against the status quo. Smart businesses are leaning in on tech and trends across all aspects of business. In order to stand out, you must be perfectly comfortable disrupting your niche.
It’s easier than ever to get it right
Entrepreneurs have access to an array of free resources, education, and tools. In 2021, branding is your way to set yourself apart—down to the detail.
Choose a TrueName domain that’s memorable and on brand, and also blocks impostors from the start. Search and secure your TrueName domain now.
According to Retruster, 76% of businesses reported being victims of a phishing attack in 2019. While this startling number shows that they’re unfortunately common, not all phishing attacks are created equal.
There’s a particularly sneaky form of phishing on the rise: the use of homographs in domains. This type of attack evades many of the common cybersecurity measures because it’s not visible to the naked eye and it’s not always covered in standard IT cybersecurity training.
Homographs: The hidden threat
Homographs are fraudulent lookalike domain names that substitute letters or numbers with characters from Latin, Greek, and Cyrillic script tables for the purpose of malicious activity. Cybercriminals can even convert their site into HTTPS and obtain a valid SSL/TLS certificate for these lookalike domains, making them appear more legitimate.
At first glance, these domain names look like valid sites from well-known brands, so they don’t arouse the suspicion they might if their domain name looked unfamiliar.
The malicious use of homographs is especially relevant during the coronavirus pandemic. As seen with past natural disasters and the ensuing panic, phishing attacks are being used to redirect funds meant for COVID-19 relief efforts. According to The Wall Street Journal, the World Health Organization receives daily reports of virus-related phishing attempts.
Domain security is a crucial piece of the security puzzle
This is a crucial time to gain more industry knowledge around the best ways to thwart this dangerous behavior. One solution? Use domains that come with homographic blocking built in.
TrueNameTM domains from Donuts Inc. include a robust security technology—at no additional cost to customers—that thwarts malicious domain imposters before they strike. This proactive protection prevents homographs by blocking homographic variations of a domain. Read more about Donuts’ response to homograph abuse.
Prevent homograph abuse with the right domain
Try it yourself: Think of a potential domain using one of the 240+ TrueName domain extensions listed here. Then enter that TrueName domain into the Homograph Spinner tool to see how many homographic variations are or would be blocked at no charge to you. (Entering the domain “security.expert” reported 359 homographs blocked for that domain.)
While you’re evaluating best practices and cutting edge security technology for your organization or your customers, don’t forget to take this simple, preventative step of protecting your domain. Choose a TrueName domain that’s not only memorable and on brand, but that also blocks impostors from the start.
Establishing your digital identity is no small feat. You’re creating the brand, the content, and the communication channels to connect with your audience and inspire them to buy.
Your website is the hub of your digital identity. It’s where your audience goes for key content including your brand story and basic information about how and why they should engage with you. And your website domain serves as the foundation.
Domains that work for websites don’t necessarily work everywhere else
Even though your domain might be great for your website, it may not be the most effective domain for every form of communication. Today’s marketing strategies include a fast-growing array of channels spanning physical, digital, and audio touch points—everything from mobile apps to social media, podcasts, product review sites, paid search, and advertising campaigns. A single domain is no longer a one-size-fits-all representation of your brand.
For example, a campaign URL may be fine as a place to host the landing page on your established site, but may be too long and clunky when viewed in a mobile app. Or it may be hard to read or remember when it’s spoken aloud on a podcast or radio ad. And it might look terrible in print or on a billboard.
You’re already adapting your content and your message to a wide variety of channels and platforms, but using the same website domain and subpages everywhere means you’re probably missing the mark with some segments of your audience. So how do you adapt a domain?
of Fortune 50 companies own multiple TrueName domains
of Fortune 50 companies actively use multiple TrueName domains as redirects
Using domains as redirects
Fortunately, there’s an easy way to adapt your domains according to how and where they’re being used: registering multiple domains that use specific, targeted words on both the left and the right of the dot. Beyond the options of .com, .net, .org, and .biz, you can use keyword, targeted top-level domains (TLDs) like .live, .solutions, .photography, .studio, or .global. While the majority of Fortune 50 companies are doing this, it’s a strategy that’s affordable and easy to implement, so it works for companies of all sizes.
Let’s look at some examples of how you can use multiple domains to support your brand and your business.
Drive promotion participation
Use unique domains as part of your broader campaign strategy to make promotions stand out and boost engagement with different audience segments.
Get ranked in organic search with domains
Major brands are finding smart ways to capture organic search to drive customers to specific parts of their website using TrueName domains as 301 redirects. This means a targeted and specific domain can rank in search while the user experience is to be redirected to the appropriate product page.
The Argentine IT consultancy Practia created aptly-named redirects for SEO. While their main URL is practia.global, they use practia.solutions to showcase customer solutions, practia.tech to spotlight the technologies they use, practia.management to tout their project management prowess, and practia.careers to help them attract the best candidates in the industry.
Amplify specific products, services, and initiatives with unique domains
Regardless of the size of your business, you have a variety of important messages to communicate, and using multiple domain names can help you spread the word both inside and outside of your company.
Many companies use specific TLDs to invite more engagement and communicate a message with the URL itself. T-Mobile is rapidly hiring for thousands of roles and uses tmobile.careers to make direct contact with prospects and recruiters. Amazon launched amazon.care to improve healthcare access for employees, and ikea.today offers people a glimpse into their product development philosophy and process. Finally, slack.engineering is a channel Slack started on Medium to spark conversations around software engineering practices.
Secure TrueName domains
Now that you’re brimming with creative ideas for using multiple domains as redirects, here are five simple steps to explore, choose, and register domains that are a perfect fit for your brand.
- Determine where you’d like to use targeted domains as redirects to specific pages on your established website.
- Search using your business name or description. For example, “pet grooming services” or “Jane Doe Photography” or “Phoenix real estate”
- Select the domains that fit your specific channels and scenarios you came up with in step 1.
- Make it official. Register your new TrueName domains with just a few clicks at a domain registrar.
- Set up your new domain names as 301 redirects to those specific pages on your established site, or for a standalone site.
Stop missing opportunities to connect with your audience in specific ways. Using the right domain at the right time, in the right place, and with the right audience, you’ll bolster your business and amplify your brand’s digital footprint.
New domains are selling fast and there’s fierce competition for some of the most in-demand keyword domains. Secure your top picks now before one of your competitors does.
Failure happens. It’s part of the technology landscape. In fact, Forbes estimates that nine out of ten tech startups fail.
But there’s more than one way to fail. There’s the total collapse—the startup built on a concept that never gained any traction, so the founders close up shop and head for the exits.
Then there are the good failures: the quick, systematic failures inherent in any venture that’s always innovating, testing, and course correcting. These are the failures that lead to discoveries, refined concepts, and lessons learned. They pave the way to ultimate success.
How Can You Pivot And Grow On A Shoestring Budget?
Here are three free and easy-to-use domain features that can help you pivot quickly from one iteration to the next without breaking the bank.
Set up new redirects to an old site
Create a URL that reflects your latest offering and conveys a relevant message, and then use a 301 redirect to automatically forward traffic from that URL to your established website.
Make each new initiative, campaign, or offering more attractive with a memorable and descriptive domain name redirected to a specific page on your established website. Using one of the newer top-level domains (TLDs) like .live, .world, or .solutions you can create a URL that’s ultra specific to build awareness and add credibility to your new offering at an affordable price point, and then redirect that URL to a page on your current site.
Major brands are finding smart ways to drive more organic search traffic to specific parts of their website using branded short links for 301 redirects. This passes the SEO ranking power to the redirected page.
The Argentine IT consultancy Practia also created aptly-named redirects for SEO. While their main URL is practia.global, they use practia.solutions to showcase customer solutions, practia.tech to spotlight the technologies they use, practia.management to tout their project management prowess, and practia.careers to help them attract the best candidates in the industry.
As your business evolves, it’s easy to add or remove redirects and do minimal updates to the content on your current site.
Create subdomains for all
Subdomains are kind of like URL forwarding times infinity. With URL forwarding, you’re able to redirect one domain. With subdomains, you can create an endless number of custom domains that convey the same branding but have different destinations.
Let’s say your domain is www.yourbusiness.life. Perhaps you have an About page for your lead sales guy, Bob. You can send people directly to him with the subdomain bob.yourbusiness.life. And Janet, who handles shipping and customer service, can have her own page at janet.yourbusiness.life.
This subdomain superpower comes free with every domain, and is as simple as changing the “www” part of your web address into whatever alphanumeric name you want. Subdomains can be changed or deleted quickly when your next great idea strikes.
Give your email address a better look
Break away from email addresses that are typically used for personal accounts like gmail.com, hotmail.com, or yahoo.com and boost your business credibility with an email address that ends in your domain name.
Email forwarding is free with any TrueName domain, allowing you to create an infinite number of addresses that you can forward to your private account. To brand your replies and other outbound emails, simply create an email alias in your free webmail settings.
In the example above, you could create help@ITsetup.solutions, info@ITsetup.solutions, and schedule@ITsetup.solutions, and forward all three to the current email address(es) of the correct people on your team.
Vitamin ‘F’ makes you stronger
It’s understood that in order to succeed, businesses need to be willing to fall back and regroup, and learning from those failures is the key to acheiving your goals. Domain names make getting started on that path not only possible, but affordable. Most TrueName domains sell for less than $20, and all of them come with the tools you need to be successful.
So take the leap, take a chance, or take the plunge. Take whatever cliche you like, just get out there and fail. It’s the quickest way to make your dream come true.
According to a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 1,566,373 new business registrations in Q3 2020, a 77% increase over Q2. By late September, business applications totaled more than 3.2 million for 2020, compared to 2.7 million at the same point in 2019—before the coronavirus pandemic.
Do people who register a new business follow through with the business idea?
There’s a big difference between registering for a business license and actually taking the steps to create and promote a new business. Registering a business can simply indicate that people are thinking about a new business. It doesn’t necessarily mean they’re ready to start one.
One of the first steps in any type of business is to register a domain name to establish your online presence. So how many of those new businesses take that initial step? Donuts Inc. data shows notable increases in developed and redirected new domains February through July 2020. This means that the uptick in businesses who are buying domains weren’t just dreaming—they took concrete action.
Covidpreneurs: A never-seen-before wave of businesses
These new business registrations come amidst a daunting number of business closures. According to Yelp data 163,735 businesses indicated on Yelp that they had closed their doors during the month of August, a 23% increase since mid-July. And 60% of those businesses won’t be reopening.
With so many businesses closing, why are people flocking in droves to start new ones?
First, there’s still demand for goods and services. Business closures leave voids in the market. In addition, the big changes in the way we eat, work, educate, and recreate during the pandemic have brought up new customer needs, such as online fitness options or services that help with remote working.
Second, with 12.6 million unemployed in the U.S., there’s a surge in the number of people looking for new revenue streams. For many, it feels like the right time to start that business they’ve been dreaming about. There’s also a draw toward doing something meaningful during challenging times, especially things that bring people together or help form and strengthen a sense of community.
But where do domain names fit in?
A new wave of businesses calls for a new wave of meaningful, uncompromised and brandable domain names. Faced with the decision of which domain to choose, many new business owners are getting creative with more targeted domain extensions—the letters to the right of the dot in their business domain name.
While legacy domain extensions like .com, .net, and .biz may be the first to come to mind, they’re not necessarily the best option. It’s worth exploring more new, descriptive domain extensions like .life, .studio, .solutions, and more.
According to Verisign, by the end of Q2 2020, new domain extension registrations increased by 8.6 million, or 37.3 percent, year over year. With hundreds of more targeted choices, the new extensions are becoming widely adopted as a good way to build awareness of who you are and what you do. They’re memorable and help convey your brand both on your website and in social media, signs, and brochures. Plus, they help new businesses stand out in search results listings, which is essential for establishing an online presence.
New Top-Level Domain Share of Total TLDs
A forward thinking approach to domain names
If you’re part of this new wave of businesses, be sure to consider a more modern approach to your domain name. It’s worth finding the right option to help you build a stronger, more secure foundation for your online presence.
Search and discover creative new domains at TrueName.Domains, then head over to your favorite registrar to secure your new domain.
TrueName is thrilled to be included in the 2020 Top Hosting Providers & Domain Registrars list published by DesignRush, the leading online guide to finding the best professional marketing and advertising agencies.
While TrueName is neither a web hosting company nor a domain name registrars, DesignRush included TrueName in the list due to its unique product offering in the marketplace. We operate more than 240 descriptive domain extension options, so businesses and individuals can clearly express who they are and what they do. Marketing firms can use .media or .agency, health professionals can use .dentist or .healthcare, live streamers can use .live or .video, and people focused on teaching or training can use .expert, .guru or .coach.
Click Here to learn more about DesignRush and other great partners in the hosting and domain industry.