Domains For Nonprofits
You should use the .ORG domain type for your nonprofit but there’s a lot more that needs to be considered when selecting your domain name.
Domain names impact your brand and they can have a massive impact on website traffic because they influence click-through rates in search results and social media. So how do you select a good domain?
It first step is creating a good name for your nonprofit. This is part of your branding. You should read/watch that article/video first.
Make It Brandable
By brandable I mean, when you hear or see the domain name, does it sound like a brand. That means that hyphens and numbers are a real problem because they don’t sound like a brand. They sound generic or strange.
Make It Pronounceable
Why? Because, as humans, we have a cognitive bias for things that we can easily say and remember (and associate with something positive). This is also known as “processing fluency”.
If it’s difficult to pronounce a name the name will be less memorable and it will not leave an impression on people – or to put it another way, it’s less brandable.
Make It Short
Length matters because of processing fluency.
The fewer characters a domain name has, the easier it is to type, say, share, and the less it gets shortened on social media sharing platforms and search results.
The simple summary is that shorter is better.
Bias Towards .com
There are some niches where this doesn’t matter but it matters for 90% of them. If the .com domain is available you should use it or use the primary domain in your country. All of the major brands you can think of have .com domains and there is a natural tendency to associate .com with the best brands and the other domains with B and C grade brands.
Avoid Trademark Infringement
Keep in mind that just because a domain is available, doesn’t mean you are legally allowed to use it. If a domain sounds similar to a name that is trademarked by someone else you will have a problem. You can get sued and be required to pay damages to the trademark owner AND spend even more money renaming and rebranding your business.
Even if you go ahead, using a name that sounds like another brand can also create brand confusion that negatively impacts your own brandability.
You should talk to a trademark lawyer if you have real concerns.
Make It Intuitive
A good domain name gives people a strong idea of what a website will be about. Being able to look at a domain name and say, “Ok, they probably do this” is a big win.
Tarantinocpa.com is a good example.
Use Broad Keywords
Keywords in a domain name can help with the cognitive fluency biases, but it can also help your SEO. Google does not favor you if you have an exact match or partial match domain, but the anchor text from other websites that link to your domain can be helpful.
Bonus Tip: Append Or Modify
If your domain name is not available, it’s okay to use a suffix or a prefix. A useful tool that can help with this is a domain name suggestion tool like Lean Domain Search (https://leandomainsearch.com).
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