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Digital Identity and Branding: The Five Most Common Mistakes in Naming

The U.S. is a total hotbed for Startups. Over the course of the last year, venture capital firms invested $69.11 billion in U.S. startups.

Now is an exciting time where there is more ingenuity and entrepreneurial efforts than ever before. And of course every entrepreneur’s dream is to have a successful idea and “make it”. However, a startup’s name and its associated digital identity are often not as thought out as they should be. Apart from the presence in the social media networks and the design of their own website, branding should also include the appropriate domain name.

Here are the five most common mistakes when choosing a domain name:

1. The startup does not have its own domain

A website is the central point of contact for customers and at the core of a company’s communication network. A site’s owner is free to design the content as they fit and do not have to adhere to any restrictive policies of a third-party company, such as Facebook or the App Store. If you cannot manage the content yourself, you run the risk of becoming dependent on third-party vendors. Which content is blocked or censored and what end users ultimately see, is no longer under your discretion. The solution: Host your own website and secure a high quality domain name.

2. The domain name does not correspond to the company name

A company’s name and their domain name should be the same. Unfortunately, many young companies take too long to secure an appropriate address and their brand profile suffers because of it. For example, Twitter began with the domain twttr.com. The founders quickly came to the realization that twitter.com is a better domain and were able to obtain it but it wasn’t until six months after their launch.

3. The domain name is hard to remember

Young companies tend to choose domain names that contain a play on words wanting to be unique and clever. We recently attended SXSW and came across the “Instructional Coaching Conference” using the address http://events.esc13.net/icc. But who can remember such an elaborate, cumbersome address? Why not instead use icc.events? The challenge faced by most businesses is that a domain name has to be advertised aggressively so that it can remembered at all and this can get expensive. The worst case scenario is that potential customers are not able to find a company’s site and instead find their way to a competitor.

How can this be prevented? With the proven KISS rule: Keep it simple, stupid. The shorter and simpler the domain name, the easier it is to remember.

4. The startup fails to secure typo errors

If the web address consists of an artificial word, it is important to ensure that versions with typographical errors are included in the portfolio of names owned. This way you can ensure that visitors reach your website even if they enter the domain name incorrectly. Facebook covers all its bases on typos, you can type in Faceboo.com, Facebok.com and other variations and still be directed to their site.

5. The domain extension is risky

One should consider the domain ending when choosing their domain name as some domain endings harbor unforeseen risks. The ending .ly, known from addresses like bit.ly or visual.ly is in actuality the country code ending for Libya. And the guidelines and country-specific laws sometimes differ fundamentally from those of a .com or other mainstream addresses. A possible consequence is an unannounced deletion or blocking of the domain by the state-regulated authority.

Even domain extensions that are not from crisis areas can produce unexpected results. For example, annual registration fees can increase rapidly, as with domain endings .hosting, and .audio. Previously these were offered at an annual fee of $20 to register but are now up to $300 per year.

Online marketing experts recommend using a proven domain extension, such as .com, .net or .org as the main address for your site. But it is also worth checking out the new gTLD domains that came onto the market in 2013. There are up to 700 new extensions such as .club, shop, or .online that may fit with your product or service. Beyond that, startups should expand their portfolios bit by bit and take in account our tips to avoid the five most common mistakes in selecting a domain name.

If the desired domain has already been given out, do not get discouraged or act rashly by purchasing a second-rate alternative. It is often possible to buy the domain from the current owner. This is what happens typically when a company has developed from the startup to an established player such as the case with Twitter, Facebook and other popular sites.

By Semra Körner, Manager Global PR & Communication at Sedo

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Are there any “black swan” mistakes, the Alex Tajirian  –  May 17, 2017 8:47 AM

Are there any “black swan” mistakes, the ones that have low probability of making but very high cost?

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