Not Your Average Jo

What’s in a bad domain name?

September 4, 2014 by Jo in News, Web Marketing

We’ve all seen them. Those terrible, poorly created domain names (also known as URLs) that you either cannot remember or make no sense. They might be missing an important letter, are too long, or sound very awkward. Or even worse, the URL is a double entendre for something completely outrageous or offensive.

 

Just put yourself in your customer’s shoes for a moment. They read an ad or promotion for your product or service, and they reach the part where your website domain is listed. They get ready to write down the website, or file it in their brain for later recall, and instead of seeing an easy to read URL, they see an unreadable domain that is hard to remember or completely confusing!

 

Awkward URLs

 

Check out some of these awkward URLs for yourself:

 

Get the idea? You think your customer is going to remember you or easily find you online with these names? Or even worse, they might even be misdirected to a competitor’s domain due to the lack of clarity on your part.

URLs
This URL found in a recent InStyle magazine. Big $$ wasted for a URL no one will recall. Plus leads to a 404 Error page–not a good use of ad resources!

 

Even worse, how about those names that conjure up a little more than desired?

 

Yes, these companies URLs may be memorable—but not in the way they may want to be remembered.

IMG_4546
Making use of upper & lower case for Honda’s Celebration of Light would make this URL less cumbersome, more memorable

 

Believe it or not, many of these types of URLs exist in the market today. Blogger and author Aaron Goldman of GoodURLBadURL.com, and fellow URL-holic, says many people spend a lot of time branding their company or products and creating websites to promote them when starting or marketing a business.

 

“However, not enough time is spent choosing web domains and thinking about how to display them,” says Goldman. “It’s a shame for all the hard work done by entrepreneurs and marketers to go to waste, but that’s exactly what happens when URLs are overlooked.”

 

Goldman has been tracking good and bad URLs for years on his blog, GoodURLBadURL.com, and has posted hundreds of examples of domains promoted on TV commercials, automobiles, and even on packages and menus.

 

“It always amazes me how little thought sometimes goes in to selecting and promoting domains given the importance of the web to businesses these days.”

 

“Whether it’s URLs with abbreviations and acronyms or displayed with spacing issues, there are lots of things that can go wrong which is why I’ve always found it so fascinating and tried for many years to document the best and worst examples,” adds Goldman.

 

“We know that many companies are not able to have the domain of their choice because somebody else swooped it up first. With that said, it is still important to have a domain name that reflects your site or business.”

 

Pay attention to your URL details

 

Alex Zagoumenov is an inbound marketing consultant and SEO specialist. His blog post on constructing URLs for better SEO provides several strategies for creating a good URL.

 

One of the most important things he recommends when creating one is to make sure it’s concise for both users and search engines. “Improving your website’s relationship with search engines like Google means paying attention to the details,” he said. “Keeping your URLs short, descriptive, and logical will optimize your website for better SEO results. It will also improve the search experience for your users.”

 

While internet marketing is certainly a newer field that didn’t exist 20 years ago, the concepts that apply to its traditional counterpart of print still exist. One of those concepts being the KISS principle: Keep It Simple.

 

Selecting a good domain name

 

Here are a few tips on selecting a good domain name that won’t make your customers forget you or make you the laughingstock of the ruthless interweb:

 

  • Look for a domain name that matches your brand name. It will be easier to promote and easier for your customers to remember.
  • Create a name that will be memorable but at the same time relates and connects to your brand.
  • If your brand name isn’t available on the .com extension, use .ca (if you’re in Canada, or other applicable country). If neither are available, then it’s best to choose another domain name that is free.
  • Avoid using hyphens and/or slashes.
  • Think about five keywords that would come to mind when describing your domain. From there, pair them or add prefixes and suffixes to create strong, powerful domain names.
  • Keep the domain name short and easy to type. This is also important for any offline branding you create (such as business cards). See “Big Steel Box” for a much better use of lower and upper case, plus colour, for easier readability on promotional tools.

 

Using mix of lower & upper case as well as colour gives URL visibility
Using mix of lower & upper case as well as colour gives URL visibility

Keep these tips in mind when creating your company’s domain name and you’ll be on your way to a safe, memorable URL.

 

Leave your favourite good/bad URL examples here!

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