What Makes a Domain Brandable?
Views:3217 Time:2012-02-27 11:23:00 Author: NiceNIC.NET
1. Pronunciation
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.
2. Length
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.

3. Meaning
Not to be confused with a definition, meaning lends some since of relation to a particular product, service or industry. “IISP dot HK” (International Internet Service Provider in Hong Kong) is a play on domain names, web hostings, email services, 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.
4. Appeal
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. 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?
5. Discriptors
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.
6. Detractors
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.
(1) 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.
(2) Intentional misspellings (Flickr), d
ropping vowels, replacing S with Z or doubling up certain letters just looks plain unprofessional and is not good for memorability or usability.
(3) Unintended meanings,
I’m sure everyone has seen the list of unfortunate domains like Watch out for hidden meanings you might not want to associate your identity with.
(4) Domain hacks (, s
ome 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.
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