This post first appeared on Lemonstand.com
Domains are a precious, finite resource. In today’s competitive realm of business naming, it can be difficult to find a domain for your business name that is available. In most cases, the exact match for your domain will not be available. Even Tesla used the URL TeslaMotors.com for a few years before purchasing Tesla.com.
When starting a business, you want to find the best domain name that you can. However, not every exact match is available, and if it is, the price tag might be high. Still, there is a creative way to get around that–using a domain phrase!
When searching for domains, there are several ways to get around the issues that domain scarcity creates. Here are some of the most popular:
- Setting a budget for a premium domain name
- Using a non .com extension such as .io, .ly, .com.au, .co, and more
- Inserting an industry add-on such as TeslaMotors.com or BentAgency.com
- Front side add-ons like ByMason.com or HelloBonsai.com
But there is another way, too, that is arguably just as effective, perhaps even more memorable, and definitely more fun. You can come up with an engaging phrase for your domain that sets up and frames your business name.
What is a domain phrase?
A domain phrase is an add on to the business name in the URL that creates a phrase out of the name like TrySwell.com, SquareUp.com, or SteamPowered.com. Generally, this is an actionable phrase. A domain phrase has the potential to set up your brand and frame the audience’s expectation of your website.
When naming a business, some people worry that without an exact match domain, their website will be impossible to find. This is just not true. Put some faith in the intelligence of your customers and their ability to use Google.
If they’re looking for your shampoo brand called Clarity, but Clarity.com takes them to a finance business, they probably will not give up immediately. A quick Google search for Clarity Shampoo will take them to your site.
Why would I want to use a domain phrase?
Ideally, every business owner wants an exact match domain for their business name. However, exact matched are often unavailable or very pricey. Domain phrases, while they do add on length to a domain, are more memorable than some other types of add ons.
When you consider the positive impact a memorable phrase has on aiding memorability, it negates the drawbacks of added length. Because the words in the phrase set up the name, the length is not an issue. In some cases, using a phrase is even shorter than using an industry add-on.
For example, TryChameleon.com is the domain that the startup Chameleon uses. Because the domain Chameleon.com is taken, they had to find some way to incorporate their exact name into their domain.
However, a domain like ChameleonProductGuidance.com is long and somewhat difficult to remember. TryChameleon.com is strong because it is short, was available, and it prompts an action from visitors.
Plenty of startups use domain phrases to avoid complications with pricey domains and taken names. A phrase-based domain will not hinder your growth (too much). These days, many business resort to phrase domains so they can use their strong business name without compromising spelling or resorting to a non .com extension.
But why stop with just one domain? Get creative with domains and tell a strong brand story while promoting different services, driving more traffic, or even reaching multiple markets. Owning multiple domains for your brand offers brand protection. There are hundreds of generic TLDs and various extensions available for businesses ranging from .click to .link, to .beer and .pizza. Once you’ve created a collection of domains for your brand, it makes sense to use branded links.
Domain phrases in action
We have cultivated a list of successful businesses that use phrase-based domains and slotted them into two categories–Power Phrases and Call to Action Phrases. Here’s what they are and why they work.
Power phrases are domain phrases that attach a brand name to a phrase that frames the brand.
Square is a credit card processing point of sale system that is used by thousands of businesses. Their mission is to empower sellers of all sizes to grow their businesses through affordable, easy card-reading technology. “Square Up” is a concise, memorable, and existing phrase that refers to paying or settling a bill. Thus, the domain SquareUp.com functions perfectly by aligning with the brand, remaining short, and sticking in people’s minds using a familiar phrase.
Flip is a sneaker-auctioning platform that allows people to sell their kicks. Flip is an energetic name that refers to the buying and selling of the sneakers as well as excitement. The domain JustFlip.com excites and entices audiences.
Bento, a marketing tool, offers insights and streamlined management of marketing processes. It replaces the need for 4-5 separate tools and parcels everything into one place (like a bento box.) BentoNow.com is utilizes a powerful phrase that captures the convenience and time-saving aspects of Bento.
Steam is a popular entertainment platform by Valve Corp. that gives gamers access to thousands of games. The domain SteamPowered.com captures a sense of drive and energy. It refers to mechanics and reminds people of steam engines. As such, rather than framing steam as just water vapor, the domain helps present the name as something that powers and drives.
Call to Action Phrases
Call to Action phrases invite website visitors to act on the service or product the business is selling.
Ruby Receptionists uses remote receptionists to manage their clients’ clients. They are committed to supporting small businesses and create great first impressions and meaningful connections for the businesses they service. CallRuby.com is a short, sweet, memorable domain. It invites an action and provides a sense of support through the domain–you can call Ruby, and she will help you. Instantly, the domain and name convey a sense of personability and aid.
Grace is directory that helps people find quality hospice care providers in their area. Because Grace is a short name that is also a real English word, the domain Grace.com was already taken. MeetGrace.com is a great alternative because it is welcoming and hospitable while inviting a sense of peace and assurance.
Chronos is a smart disc that attaches to the back of any watch to allow fitness tracking, music control, notification alerts, and phone location. Because this device is something you wear, WearChronos.com works. It prompts visitors to interact with the product in a meaningful way.
Breeze provides no-commitment leases of hybrid vehicles to job seekers who are turning to vehicle-based jobs such as being a driver for Uber, Lyft, Postmates, and more. JoinBreeze.com conveys a sense of community by applying to word “Join” to the domain. It also provides a sense of flexibility and support.
Trusted is a Care.com company that helps parents find trusted child care providers. The phrase UseTrusted.com carries through a sense of trust. It suggests it own service with a sense of authority and connects back to the value of the parents who are seeking childcare–they should Use Trusted child care providers.
Phrases help enhance recall ,and they can frame your brand. If you’re having trouble finding available domains, applying phrases to your business name can help. Try coming up with a few different phrases you might be able to use for your own business name, then see which domains are available.
Not finding an exact match domain does not have to stop you from naming a business what you want to name it. Domain phrases are a great option for businesses that need a domain for their name when they’re having trouble securing the exact match. Phrases can eliminate or reduce the need for a domain budget while creating memorable, engaging domains.
Grant Polachek is the Director of Marketing at Inc 500 company Squadhelp.com, the worlds #1 naming platform, with nearly 20,000 customers from the smallest startups across the globe to the largest corporations including Nestle, Philips, Hilton, Pepsi, and AutoNation. Get inspired by exploring these winning brand name ideas.