Investing In Quality Brandable Domain NamesPublished Sep 5th, 2011 Branding, Domain Investing, Domain Names, Domain Research View Comments
I’m usually touting the benefits of keyword domain names in many articles. In this post I’d like to analyze another common domain name type, brandables. A brandable domain is often thought of as a short, made-up word such as Google or Twitter, however this isn’t always the norm. There are different types of brandable domains, even those that do use keywords, so let’s dive in and see what they are all about.
First, a quick word on why a quality brand is important. A recent study shared by eConsultancy found that just 3% of traffic to eCommerce websites comes from social media, while a staggering 46% comes from brand familiarity. Your domain is your brand.
Brandable: What You Don’t Need to Worry About
For once, you can throw Google AdWords keyword data out the window–well, almost. You may still be interested in targeting a specific keyword to be a part of your brand name, particularly if you will be using a two-word domain as a keyword/brand-word combination. You can now create your own words successfully if you follow a few guidelines featured below.
The language of the internet evolves much faster than Merriam Webster can keep up. Your brand does not neccisarily need to have a known definition. I decided to name my Twitter forum community “TweetSocial.com” 3 years before it was included in the Oxford Dictionary as a new word for 2011.
What Makes a Domain Brandable?
How a domain name is spoken aloud is one of the most important factors in determining brandability. Often called the “radio test,” you can simply ask a few friends to spell out a domain name over the phone or in person. If your domain name can not be understood clearly and remembered through word-of-mouth marketing that will hurt your brandability.
While many brands use three-words I recommend first researching two-word options. When it comes to the internet, shorter is always better.
I would estimate the majority of valuable brandable domain sales are between 4 and 6 characters. Virtually all four-letter domains and quality, pronounceable five-letter domains have been claimed, so you’ll need to browse the aftermarket for extremely short brands.
Not to be confused with a definition, meaning lends some since of relation to a particular product, service or industry. “DotSauce” is a play on hot sauce, but the dot connects the publication with all things Internet. Use an industry term, relevant word, idea, color, or some other identifier that the target audience will associate with.
When looking for brandable domains to potentially resell, you’ll want to make sure that you have meaning, as described above, but you also want to be sure that there is a possibility that the domain will actually sell. I’ve shared some tips for picking domains that have selling potential in the past. It helps to get into the mind of an entrepreneur working in a particular industry; would they find this domain a viable or premium option to build their business on versus a keyword or longer domain?
Some words are simply great or must-haves for certain industries which can make it hard to find suitable brand options. If you’re looking to go the discovery route, you may find the Bust-A-Name tool with built in thesaurus very helpful for finding related words and descriptors for your brand names.
Pull out a sheet of paper and take a few minutes to jot down any quality keywords that may describe your area of interest. You can then plug those keywords into Bust-A-Name along with the other root word you would also like included to see what is available.
Now that you know what elements contribute to a great brand, there are a few things you definitely want to consider avoiding when selecting quality brandable domains.
- Doubled up letters (‘SportSShop,’ ‘KinGGames’) – Domains like this do not do well with the “radio test” mentioned previously and it opens up the possibility of losing traffic to typos.
- Intentional misspellings (Flickr) – Dropping vowels, replacing S with Z or doubling up certain letters just looks plain unprofessional and is not good for memorability or usability.
- Unintended meanings – I’m sure everyone has seen the list of unfortunate domains like PenIsland.com. Watch out for hidden meanings you might not want to associate your identity with.
- Domain hacks (Del.icio.us) – Some people are fans of these quirky brands that use the TLD extension as part of the brand name itself to create a word. I believe this can hurt memorability and marketing efforts online and in person.
Researching and flipping brandable domain names is not a walk in the park and it certainly pays to be patient. The right end-user may not come along for a year or more. Now is a great time to start investing in quality .com brands as they are becoming increasingly rare and domain prices are trending upward.
Consider joining the DotSauce Domain Club to learn more about domain investing and browse our members-only inventory of $19 .com names, including dozens of quality brandable domains.