The idea of a domain name and an associated website being a 'win' can be interpreted various ways, including the following.
- The website should reflect positively on your organization. While content is clearly critical, as well as attention to detail, the impression starts with the name you adopt. Yes, the name can be catchy and even cute, but always in a tasteful way.
- Honesty is critical. The name and website should reflect what you are about in a clear way. Never use a name to try to pretend your organization and goals are something that they are not. Many will disagree, but I say don't use a .org TLD if you are not an organization, and don't use .com if you are not a business. I wish there were controls so that someone could not use .science if they have nothing to do with science!
- The website should be informative. After I visit your website I should feel that my time was well spent in terms of the valid information that I got in a timely fashion. Even if your primary goal is to sell a product or service, your website should provide information to help a potential purchaser make an informed decision, and provide support documentation.
- Is the website sustainable? Is it designed so that you can reasonably do what is required to keep it current? Is the total cost sustainable in terms of the value that the website brings to your organization. If you go for a premium domain or an expensive .com, can that cost be justified. Too many people rush into owning too much home for their means, and I find some companies do the same with respect to a domain name.
- The name should be location appropriate. If you plan to only operate in a single country, with essentially no customers beyond the borders, it does make sense to use a country specific domain name. Research shows that these are more respected and trusted. However, if your vision extends beyond your home country, seriously consider starting with a gTLD, or possibly multiple TLDs with a common first name. It will be interesting to see how the .gdn (which stands for global domain name) takes off - so far it has seen limited adoption, although that is increasing.
- Almost all websites should feel current. While achieving this will depend partly on the website design, having current content is critical. Also, start with a name that feels current. Some domain names just feel ordinary and old. I realize adoption has been slow, but I think that the new gTLDs offer real opportunity here. Make social media interact smoothly with your website - it is easy to have your Twitter feed display on your website.
- Think about the goals of your website. Is it primarily to sell, interact with clients, provide support, contribute to public understanding, provide advertising revenue, or make your organization better known. Make sure your website, including the domain name, is congruent with these goals.
The last point brings me to the primary focus of this post. Before you consider available domain names and how much you are willing to pay, or how you will design and host your website, start with the goals you have for your online presence. Make a written list, and get the opinion of others on your list, revising it as appropriate.
So why did we select NamesThat.win? We believe in the long term value of the new TLDs, so wanted to use one ourselves. Also, we see value in using an expression as part of a name, for some clients, and wanted to model that. As a small operation, but with potential customers from around the world, we wanted a global TLD. Considering sustainability, the domain name was reasonable to purchase and to renew (we have it registered for 5 years). We feel that your consideration of names ideally starts before you have registered a company name or domain name, so we wanted the word 'name' not 'domain' in our website.
We considered whether .win was appropriate, but feel that a key part of your planning process should be to set your goals and decide what would constitute a win for you.
Ultimately we plan to offer four types of services.
- Sell domain names particularly new gTLDs with a Canadian connection, or in the areas of biotechnology, education, investing, outreach, science, space, technology, and travel.
- Rent domain name expressions for use in promotional campaigns, mainly in the areas of education, science and outreach.
- Write and distribute white papers on domain name options.
- Provide consultancy on domain name options in areas of education, outreach, science, space and technology.
The first two of these are available now, and we expect to add the last two by late 2017. Ultimately our goal is to help you clarify your goals, to set criteria for evaluating success, and ultimately to help you 'win' by achieving success in those goals.