All too often I see domains being sold as “brandable”. It’s such an easy term to throw around, as people hide their weak domain behind a veil of subjectivity, or are kidding themselves like an unflinching mother of an ugly child she’s sure is just the handsomest.

But there is some meaning in the oft misused term. It refers to an instant zing that pulls it into a higher level of reality where it’s completely plausible and authentic as something to comfortably engage with. That means a company’s image, and in turn, its profitability.

Brandability online is different from offline, as for example, a single English word, which is not really special (and in fact quite the opposite, in a literal sense) can make for a professional, authoritative domain. Call your brick and mortar power tools store “Power Tools”, and see how far you get. Sell from powertools.com? Another story.

Acronyms have their moments without being words at all. Two and three letter acronyms can have great zing, but qjj.com does not.

Another type of brandable domain, and the kind I happen to enjoy most, is the perhaps nonsensical but at least sayable short words. I definitely don’t mind odd spellings, but with an important distinction: I want them to be plausible spellings, and not to look like impossible English words. The main way to know is to see if you can find a term where the variation in spelling/sound exists in another existing word.

For example:

most.com – a real word
moast.com – same pronunciation
toast.com – spelling that justifies moast.com

Still, even if you can find an example, use common sense, taking into account the normality of the word you’re using for justification.

final.com – a real word
finyl.com – same pronunciation
vinyl.com – spelling that would have justified finyl.com, except that y’know what? finyl looks weird in a way that moast does not.

Note, you have to be careful of being caught in Google trying to convince a searcher they aren’t looking for you. The last thing you want is people having trouble finding your brand because Google said “I think you meant this real word – here are those results instead”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *