Designers tend to be exceedingly visual, spending hours upon hours tinkering with the most minute color changes. That makes designers especially powerful professionals when it comes to the Web, since webpages must be visually striking in order to gain any views. Armed with fonts, textures, and icons, even a novice designer can pull together an appealing page. But, when perhaps the most important element of a site relies on the verbal rather than the visual, most designers are at a loss.

A website’s domain name is its backbone — it provides support and direction for the site’s growth. Before a designer can play around with color themes, s/he absolutely must have a name that is appropriate and appealing to Web audiences. Here’s why and how.

3 Reasons Names Matter

No matter the reason for creating a new website — for business, for pleasure, for practice, or for some combination — coming up with an appropriate domain name is a critical first step. Before a designer can proceed with any other aspect of establishing the site, s/he must purchase the domain. However, one should avoid speeding through this step in order to reach perhaps more engaging and enjoyable aspects of creation because:

  • The domain name notability. Certain words and phrases are more memorable others, and a catchy domain name is sure to engender visitors. However, catchiness should never be the sole driver selecting a domain, as explained below.
  • The domain name builds brand. The domain name doesn’t have to be one’s name; in fact, many companies choose not to do so to expense. Fortunately, the domain name is an opportunity build a tone for one’s brand using flavorful words and concepts.
  • The domain name unfamiliar viewers. Sprinkling a domain name with keywords, including a location and an occupation, will move website higher in particular Web users’ search results. This especially essential for designers looking to garner new as otherwise completely ignorant individuals can become clients

Finding the Right Name

For most designers, creativity comes naturally — except verbal creativity. Fortunately, developing a remarkable domain name is actually remarkably easy, as long as one uses the proper tools.

The first step is to craft a list of keywords that relate to the content of the site. For business sites, keywords will be linked with particular industries; for example, a law firm will have keywords such as lawyer, attorney, tax, malpractice, injury, and more. There are a number of free online generators to help designers build valuable keyword lists.

Next, designers must utilize those keywords to create a second list, this one of possible domain names. While brainstorming might produce some unique, specialized options, website creators can also peruse expired domain names or use name-creating robots for more ideas. After listing a handful of potentials, designers should crowdsource their favorites among their friends, co-workers, and current clients to find the best of the bunch.

Protecting Your Name

Once a winner is found, it is time to make sure that the chosen domain is open for the taking. There are dozens of reasons to trademark a name, from protecting the brand from unwanted influence to creating a defense against copycats who want to leech profits, which is why trademarking as become so essential in modern business. Because domains are so integral to a company’s website — and therefore, a company’s brand — trademarking domain names is an exceedingly common practice.

Designers certainly want to avoid purchasing a domain name that infringes on another entity’s trademark, or they might face thousands of dollars in finds and legal fees. Fortunately, if it the winning name is free of existing trademarks, enterprising designers can gain those legal trademark protections for themselves.

Using Your Name

After the laborious effort of creating, procuring, and safeguarding the domain name is done, designers can get to work doing what they do best: designing. In addition to domain name creation tools, the Internet offers unlimited resources to help designers integrate their domain names into their designs.

Even if the domain name isn’t exactly the company name or even the name of the website, it will appear on all sorts of important documents, like business cards, invoices, and advertisements. Thus, the drudgery of name creation isn’t futile; it contributes meaningfully to the overall website aesthetic, as well as being an essential building block for all websites across the Web.

About the author

Vlad Georgescu

I'm a graphic designer/web developer from Romania and I'm the founder and co-owner of icanbecreative.

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