Almost everyone nowadays have probably heard of the phrase ‘domain name’. They are likely to be digital and online marketers who deal with online strategies, or tech-savvy consumers who interact with global brands every day. However, it doesn’t come as a surprise that although many people are familiar with it, some may still not understand what exactly it is and how it is important to managing businesses and brands.
So what exactly is a domain name?
To put it simply, a domain name is your website name. It is important to remember however that a unique domain name is the first step to building a distinctive and relevant brand in the online realm. With the continuous rise of technology and usage of the Internet, understanding its purpose and its importance only grows more vital for brand managers, business owners, marketers, and even investors.
Owning a domain name is essential to building brand awareness.
Search engines remain to be an important tool for users to find information online—including brands that are relevant to them. This is why effective online marketing strategies still implement SEO techniques. One sure to give your website better chances of appearing in search results is having your own domain name. This is because search engines prioritize websites with its own domain names, against those that are simply registered as sub-domains for free webhosting sites (e.g. WordPress). For example, a website registered under ABC.com will have higher search ranking as against one registered as ABC.Wordpress.com. Keep in mind that effective branding starts with a strong brand awareness. Hence, being found online is an important building block for your business, more importantly for global branding.
Albeit somewhat farfetched, type-in traffic can be another advantage to having your own domain name. This is website traffic generated by users who put keywords directly on their web browsers and add a general suffix such as .com. This, of course, does not entirely replace a well-planned digital marketing or advertising strategy, but is the right domain name will still likely attract users to the website.
It helps build credibility for your brand.
When people first visit your website, your domain name is going to be their first touchpoint. If you have a free sub-domain brand, it gives the impression that your business is unprofessional and unestablished. On the other hand, having your own unique domain name leaves off an impression of professionalism from your part. It lets them know that you have invested in your brand and the experience they will potentially have as customers. Having your own domain name for your business strengthens your ownership of a brand, and lets your customers know that your website and business can be trusted. Note that brand credibility is definitely not easy to establish, and is often built through years of effective brand management. However, having your own domain name truly is a good way to start.
It is key to protecting your online presence and your brand.
While a domain name can certainly make your brand, it may actually also break it. There are already plenty of horribly named websites online which made the mistake of taking the task of choosing a domain name too lightly. It is important to really sit down and think about what your domain name should be, as it will have lasting implications. If chosen well, owning your domain name will be key to not only growing your brand awareness and credibility, it would be your vital tool in protecting your brand online.
Another important thing to keep in mind is that other websites can still have the exact same domain with a different suffix (i.e. a ‘.net’, ‘.org’ among others as against the common ‘.com’, also called as top-level domains). This means that even if your website is registered as ABC.com, someone else may still register as ABC.net or ABC.org. Protecting your identity and making sure that those other websites’ reputation do not affect yours are therefore essential. A common practice among professionals, to ensure sole ownership of their brand identity online, is buying multiple domain names with various suffixes so others are not able to use them. For smaller businesses, you don’t have to dive into this practice right away especially if you don’t have the money to make such an investment yet. Nonetheless, always be on the lookout for issues like these, to make sure you are getting the most out of your domain name.
A domain name is more than just a website name. They are critical to promoting your brands and businesses online, as well as protecting them. Domain names are important brand elements for your business, most especially for global brands. They help build awareness and enables you to have a good start in terms of your brand’s image. Remember that both of these are your first two building blocks of a strong global brand, and the right domain name is essentially a great step to jump start them.