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Five domain name tips to help market your brand

By Phil Kingsland

May 22, 2012 | 6 min read

In the UK, 65% of all print and television advertising now includes a web address and provides a direct call to action for consumers in brand campaigns. Marketing a domain name is now vital to build a successful brand – so what’s a good strategy for choosing the right domain for your business? Phil Kingsland, director of marketing & communications for Nominet offers some pointers.

Keep it short and snappy

Short catchy names are more effective. They are less likely to be misspelled and easier to remember and be passed on via word of mouth. For the same reasons it’s a good idea to keep the number of words in a domain name to 2 or 3 at most.

Does local work for you?

When choosing your domain name, it’s worth thinking about where your target customers are. If your customer base is predominantly in the UK, then it makes sense to choose a .uk domain name. Consumers expect and prefer .uk websites to be targeting and servicing UK consumers and therefore have pricing in £s, a reasonable UK based delivery and return charges as well as UK based customer support should they need it. The values of trust and quality associated with .uk are not only appealing to British consumers but are also popular with buyers overseas, keen to associate themselves with the UK brand. However, .com domain names are often the first choice for businesses looking to demonstrate international scale. If you want to know more about why businesses are choosing domain names then visit

Relate your domain to your business

You should choose a domain name that represents your company’s interests. Think about what you offer; your unique selling point. It helps to include keywords that explain the type of service your business offers, for example a mortgage adviser would search for domains including the words ‘mortgage’ and ‘finance’. Making your domain name easy to remember is important for customer referrals but also is more likely to appear in industry related Internet searches. Building a brand on a made-up or irrelevant word usually requires significant marketing and advertising investment! When you have decided which domains are suitable for your brand, you can check available domains via any domain reseller or check .uk domains via

Beware of cybersquatters

The Internet offers a number of opportunities to market a brand online, but the domain name real-estate market is big business and you need to take steps to protect your brand. For example, someone else could try to take advantage of your brand awareness by registering a similar domain name to capture traffic when customers misspell domain names, often known as typosquatting. They may then divert the web traffic to another site to profit from consumers looking for your site. Alternatively, successful brands may be targeted by cybersquatters who register domain names that are likely to become popular and then sell them on at an inflated price. If your brand or trademark is being used in this way on a .uk domain and you feel you have rights to it, you can go through Nominet’s Dispute Resolution Service instead of going through the courts. This service handles disputes about .uk domain names, attempts mediation and then, if necessary, reaches a simple, independent assessment of domain disputes without need for costly legal or judicial intervention. A similar process, called UDRP is available for .com domain names.

Keep up with the big change

Businesses need to be aware of the changes being made to the domain name system which are due to happen in a big way in the coming months and can have significant implications for businesses. You should expect to see a big increase in the number of new top level domain (TLDs) to choose from, whether those are regional specific domains like .wales or .cymru (which Nominet is backing), or industry specific domains like .shop or .hotel, or brand domains like .google or .nike. These changes will inevitably affect the way you market your brand online and need to be considered. Although tempting, applying for your own .brand domain is outside of the reach of most businesses, as it requires a large amount of technical expertise and infrastructure and a $180,000 application fee!

The most important thing in choosing a domain is connecting with your community; whether that’s a community of customers, of charitable donors, of friends and family or of business partners. You need to demonstrate a connection within the community, establish an identity they can relate to, and ensure it’s memorable enough to be easily passed on to friends and family.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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