Your Domain Name Should Be Your Website Name
Naming your site after your domain may seem obvious to some of you, but you'll be surprised to learn that not every website is named after the domain name even when the webmaster owns that domain name.
Naming a site after its domain name is important, for the simple reason that when people think of your website, they'll think of it by name. If your name is also your URL (ie, web address), they'll automatically know where to go. For example, when people think of fooless.com, they don't have to wonder what web address to type into their browser to get there. The name of the site is also the URL.
Generic Names Or Brand Name Domains?
Branded Domains are domains that people type into the address bar because they have heard of the domain before. Most branded domains are associated with existing business names, products, or popular web sites - which may or may not have a trademark. However, the user's primary purpose when they type these domains into the address bar is to find popular web sites. Examples include: Google.com, Yahoo.com, Amazon.com, Alexa.com.
Generic Domains are inherently just that, generic. These domains do not construe any association with any known business entity other than what is represented by the domain itself. They are typically descriptive in nature. The user's intent when typing them into an address bar is likely to be an expression of searching behaviour, with the view to find or purchase new products or services. Examples include: ConstructionTowerCranes.com, HoustonTools.com, Chairs.com, OnlineGames.com, SeattleBoating.com.
In the offline world a generic name is never a good brand name. Such names cannot be trademarked. Nevertheless people choose generic names because the name immediately communicates the type of goods or services the business provides.
Why not a descriptive name?
The danger in choosing descriptive names is that the business sets itself up for confusion with competitors. Descriptive words are those that competitors may legitimately want to use to describe or advertise their products and services. For example a wine merchant will need to be free to use the word 'wine merchant' otherwise it could not engage in its business activity. If the first person to use the word 'wine merchant' were able to stop everyone else using the term, then it would give the first comer such a monopoly that they could stop all competition in the marketplace. That is far from what trade marks are designed to achieve.
So, given that you cannot stop competitors using the same descriptive words in their names, choosing a descriptive brand name inevitably means loss of some potential customers because prospective customers who are trying to find you may mistakenly find your competitor instead. Therefore, descriptive names are poor vehicles for capturing goodwill or brand value. You do far better in the long run with a distinctive brand name than with a descriptive one. Once you achieve name recognition trade mark law will prevent competitors free riding on the back of your success by using name that are similar to yours. This is the essence of trade marks - to reduce the likelihood that consumers will mistake other businesses for yours.
Names and Brands
How does all this translate to the web where there is a tradition of choosing generic brand names? Is a generic name a good choice for an online start up? Well no.
What makes a good brand name offline is no different to what makes a good brand name online. Although people tend to think it is good to opt for generic names - possibly because they confuse the search engine advantages that such names may have with what makes for a good brand name - generic names are in fact a poor choice of online brand name, just as they are a poor choice for offline brands. In the short term they may help you to communicate what your business is all about. For example, if you are called Books4Less, people will immediately know something about your aims. But on the other hand, if you are called Amazon, they will not immediately know that they will get a good price from you. However, once Amazon has proved itself to you, its singular name will be etched in your memory far better than a non distinctive name like Books4Less.
So, why do so many internet businesses choose such bad names? Possibly because when the internet was new, and there were few sites up and running, a common, generic name was an advantage. If you wanted to look for a site selling toys, you typed in "toys.com". It was like an old fashioned grocery store. Whatever you wanted you looked for by its name. So, a common, descriptive name was the most direct way to communicate what the site was all about. However, the advantages of these descriptive names immediately disappeared once the numbers of websites grew.
Newcomers to the web nevertheless carry on copying what has gone before. They think a descriptive name is the way to go, and adopt such names in the misguided assumption that this is the correct approach. Just because many sites use common names doesn't mean that a common name is the best strategy for your site. It only means that most internet operators are under group pressure to conform.
Guidelines for choosing Brand Names
So, when you are choosing online brand names, try to emulate the successful internet businesses by choosing singular names like Amazon, Yahoo, Dell, Bebo, Facebook and Ebay. These are the businesses that have prospered and entered our collective consciousness, while the numerous generic named businesses that came and went despite enjoying serious venture capital backing have faded into oblivion.
A brand is one of the most important aspects of a business or personal identity. Your brand is the foundation for everything you do. Your brand name and identity will be on your website, print material, business cards, letterhead, invoices, etc... This is ultimately what people will recognize and associate you with, so when you have the opportunity to purchase the URL that matches your brand name, go for it.
Some key reasons why you should choose a branded domain like Fooless for your business URL:
Its easy to remember
Short and memorable
Another way to put your brand in front of your customers
Maintains brand consistency
Looks cleaner and less spammy (compared to keyword-rich url)
Tend to attract more loyal visitors/readers
Typically if you are looking to create a long-term brand, it is a safe bet to choose a branded domain. Just take a look at the top 100 blogs on Technorati, almost all are branded domains. It is proven that by having short and clean URLs that match your business name that people are going to trust you more than someone with the domain real-estate-agent-tampa.com
Fooless is unique, catchy, memorable and brandable.
Be Smart! Buy the Domain Name now before it is too late.