Your brand name is what causes the consumer to lock into your brand image. Ideally, your website domain name should reflect the brand, i.e., www.australianopen.com. If you rely on Web-based sales, it is imperative you carry your brand name and image throughout your website. This includes artwork and graphics, but of critical importance is to keep that name in the domain name.
Sometimes the domain name isn’t available. You can try to purchase the domain. Be prepared to pay a premium for an aged brand-related domain name. Don’t be tempted to by a domain name with a .org or .net extension. People will always choose .com first before trying another extension. One exception to this is if you are branding for an organization like The Red Cross or www.redcross.org. For businesses and professional, get a .com top-level domain. Don’t be tempted to use hyphens in the domain name either. That makes it harder to remember.
If you can’t get a www.yourbrandname.com domain, consider using your tagline. A short, simple tagline is best for this. To borrow from Foster’s tagline, a brand related domain name could be www.australianforbeer.com.au.
Another option is to use a keyword phrase that receives a good number of local searches on a monthly basis. Google Adwords tool is free and easy to use. Brainstorm a few relevant keyword phrases and then find out if that domain name is available. For example, you have a business offering different types of cruise packages and charter boats on the Sydney Harbour; you might find www.sydneyharbourcruises.com available.
Once you settle on the top-level domain consider buying up all the other domain extension for .org,.net,.biz and so on. This prevents your competitor from using these other domains to compete with yours. Unused domain names typically cost less than $10 a year. This is a smart strategy to secure your online name.
Another way to capture people searching for your website is to brainstorm different spellings and purchase those domain names. Domain registrars allow you to redirect these domains to your main domain. For example, people may type in www.sydneyharborcruises.com instead of www.sydneyharbourcruises.com. You discover that www.sydneyharborcruises.com is available and purchase it. Now you just redirect the one domain to point to the main domain called www.sydneyharbourcruises.com.
Before building or redesigning your website, think about your target audience. What information are they looking for and the tone of the content. If the target audience is brides looking for a unique and memorable way for a wedding reception, make sure you have photos and content written along those lines. Of course, share your brand guide with the graphic artist responsible for the web design. He or she needs to incorporate the correct font, colors and brand usage within the web design.