Why are domain names so important for your business?
Your domain name is an integral part of your positive business image because it forms part of your online identity. Consumers now link your online persona with who you are as a business. Your domain is something that connects your audience with who you are and quite literally helps them to find you on the internet.
Once upon a time, companies made their wads of cash away from the internet. Even when the online world seeped into every corner of our life, websites weren’t an integral part of business until very recently. Right up to the early noughties, you could still get away with owning a legitimate business and not bothering with a website. Now, if you don’t have a website most of your audience will think you aren’t a proper company, and their already shaky trust will start to crumble.
Why? Because every one of your customers will carry out a background check on you, like a digital Sherlock Holmes. Consumers have been around the block and aren’t the naïve customers of old, so their first impression of you will always be wary until proven otherwise.
First things first
When you set up your company one of the first things you think about is your business name because it tells someone in one clever sound bite who you are and what you do. Your domain name is part of that brand story and increasingly influences not just your online consumers but buying behaviour outside of the internet.
Why? Because, like it or not, appearances matter and first impressions stay with your customers for a lifetime. Customers now judge you both online and offline, they will take time to look you up and scrutinise if you are the sort of company that fits their business objectives or even personal viewpoints.
One of the first things they’ll notice when they search for you is your domain name. They’ll then build their impression from your domain as they flick through your website, look at your business card or send you an email. Domain names to branding are a bit like the foundation bricks to a house, take one out or leave a gap and the whole structure could come down. And just like a house, if you start your branding on dodgy footing it will affect the quality and durability of your business.
A domain name also adds much-needed credibility to your business image because it shows you care about quality and being professional. It’s a tough world out there and customers are very quick to snub you if they think you’re lacking the basic hallmarks that make up a modern business – and in 2018 that includes your domain.
For established customers, it’s about keeping your image going or evolving your brand but for new customers, it’s about trust. An audience that doesn’t know you won’t trust you without a bit of solid reassurance. New customers walk into your brand image with a healthy amount of cynicism and it’s your job to unpick preconceptions and build up a positive image as they stumble across who you are and do a little digging.
Think about it this way – if you aren’t willing to invest time and money into your own domain name, why should your audience invest in you? And be in no doubt that customers who see half-hearted branding will assume you are putting the same effort into your products and services.
Brand on the wall
Your domain name is also an integral part of your business image and should feed into your core branding principles. A good domain name is like the first bite of your favourite dessert, unforgettable because it was the first taste of the entire experience. So when you get the first few seconds right with your audience, the positive impression your customers have will stay ingrained as they start buying from you or working with you.
Your audience is also being grabbed and manhandled by every single marketing campaign going. Your audience’s attention is saturated and fleeting, so you need to do everything in your capacity to make sure you stand out in the snowstorm.
When your domain name matches your company name it reinforces your brand and its presence in the market as a serious competitor. And if you buy the domain name early, it can stop competitors from taking the name or non-competitors using your name and diluting your brand image for your online audience.
Good tip – Your brand name won’t just affect your domain, it’ll also dictate your email address, logo and business cards. Make sure you aren’t the only person who understands your witty pun or can pronounce it on the phone.
Does what it says on the tin
And your domain name doesn’t actually need to be your business name, B&Q famously have www.diy.com.
But why choose a domain name that isn’t your business name? When you choose a domain name that matches what you do it can attract walk-in business who are searching for your services. It can also cement you as the leader in the field, especially if you were savvy enough to get the domain name before your competitors.
Some people have several domain names to simplify the brand message for their customers. For example, you’re a company that sells different services and each service has a very different audience, creating a different domain name and landing pages will help keep your brand strong and stop your audiences from straying to competitors who specialise in your products.
The two-domain game is also a good idea if you have a successful business but also want to develop your own personal brand and secure yourself as a thought leader in your industry. Say for example you’re the best hairdresser this side of Manchester and you have quite a good following on your personal social media for your kooky cuts and colourful barber life. The next logical step is to actually create two domain names, one for your business and one for your personal brand. Both domain names should connect to each other and let your follwers or customers see both what you do and who you are.
People always want to know the face behind the brand and having a separate domain for individuals within businesses is quickly becoming the norm. And although having a domain name that explains what you do can add to your brand value, try not to pick a common word or phrase. The domain name will very likely be taken and you’ll have to shell out far too much just to get it from the person who bought it.
Ready Steady Cook
In the end, there are several business stages that are about preference more than necessity. There are some that are set in stone like setting up bank accounts, tax registration, insurance, compliant product development and trademarks. When you don’t take time to invest and mitigate, you could seriously harm your business by not taking core business stages seriously.
If you don’t invest in a domain your business won’t shut down overnight, but you will lose clients without even knowing it, negatively affecting your image along the way. It’s a branding tale as old as time – customers will always choose the company who visibly cares about how their business runs, and part of that story is investing time and money in your domain name.
Psst! Did you know that we aren’t just awesome website designers? We’re also a dab hand at brand development and digital marketing. If you need help rebranding or strengthening your business image, give us a ring and we’ll take you through our think, design, create process here at Bamboo.