Hi! I'm the owner of wantdesign.co.uk and I'm going to take the next step by hiring full time help and setting up a limited company. I've got wantwebsite, wantseo, wantapp .co.uk domains and thinking about creating landings with focus on each service (wantdesign will be just for branding services and print design). Is this a good idea or should I find a new, more brandable, name and run everything under one name? Thank you.
You're definitely going the wrong direction. That's my opinion. But I'm right, and here's why:
Your domain strategy is hyper-extended.
You've got 4 domains in .CO.UK – hopefully 8 counting .UK rights. That's all well and good for a British audience. But you deliver work online; so why not appeal to a global audience? Here in the USA, ccTLDs (a.k.a. country codes) are not recognized.
Your business will look strange and be misremembered as .COM. That means your marketing will be inefficient; you'll leak traffic to Google, parked PPC pages, or even competitors who develop sites with the same brand name(s) in the same niche! Meanwhile you'll pay extra in ongoing advertising costs to compensate.
And you don't own the 4 corresponding .COM domains. I checked. They're owned by a pair of people / companies – both known to me already. To acquire these 4 matching domains, you'd need to spend about $10,000. That's based on the typical list prices these guys set, which you can verify, I'm sure.
On top of this, you'd face brand protection issues for at least 4 distinct names. That obligates you to further domain purchases or risks ... in proportion to the number of brand names you're attempting to operate. After all, WantApp is confusingly similar to WantApps; and WantWebsite resembles WantAWebsite. And let's not forget .DESIGN and .WEBSITE, which means your WantDesign.co.uk is competing against both WantDesign.com and Want.Design, while your WantWebsite.co.uk has to shout extra-loud to be heard above WantWebsite.com and Want.Website. Things get complicated fast!
You'd eventually face competitors with these names unless you bought them all. You might even get embroiled in trademark disputes, which are no fun.
For that amount of money ($10k upwards), you can buy a really great domain name and consolidate all your efforts on a single brand name with worldwide appeal and a single website.
In the long run, going the way you're going, you will pay thousands of pounds one way or another. Maybe you won't buy those other domains, but you will put extra cash, sweat, and time into marketing. You'd probably lose a few customers over the years as well, since they'd go somewhere other than your site and find other people to hire.
I also have concerns about branding with multiple domains, managing multiple websites, or asking customers to bounce around between several sites. But there's no space to go into that. The domain issues already sank your battleship, I'm afraid.
If you'd like help selecting a single unified brand name for all your services – which is what I recommend – let's talk. Naming and domain procurement are both areas I specialize in.
Answered 8 years ago
Hi! This is indeed a great question and one that merits a lot of thought, as it seems you are putting into it.
I think the big consideration is if you have the technological scale (or can hire/build it) to run multiple sites. There are a lot of companies that started off with one domain and then have acquired their way into other verticals and brands. For example, Zillow in the US operates Zillow.com, Trulia.com, HotPads.com, Streeteasy.com, as well as a number of B2B sites. From that experience, customers don't really care *who* owns the site as long as it meets their needs.
Also, I am assuming that these are all services that you offer, not lead generation sites for others? From looking at wantdesign.co.uk, it seems that way, so that is the assumption that I am going off of.
The pros of having it all under one domain:
1) Easier upkeep (potentially) because everything is consolidated on one platform.
2) Good for SEO in that you won't have to build links to a bunch of different websites.
3) It will be easier to build one brand than four, and will be less confusing for your customers potentially. Also, with all of your services under one brand name, it will be easier to upsell existing clients to your other services.
The cons of having all of these under one domain:
1) You will have less ability to customize the different services according to who the customer is.
2) WantWebsite, WantSEO, WantApp etc are all partial-match domain names which have been shown to be good for SEO, though not necessarily better than brand.com/seo or brand.com/app-design with proper onpage targeting, some links built to it, etc.
In my opinion (as a growth marketer who is also building a brand right now), the best way to go is to find one brand name and build out your services under that. You're too small to even think about being on the scale of someone like Zillow.
Good luck! If you want to discuss via a call, I have spare time right now!
Answered 8 years ago
Lot's of great ideas from everyone that has posted. Here are my two cents.
1) I am a firm believer in multiple domains talking about one specific service. The reason I believe in this concept is I have been doing it for more than 15 years now and I have not spent one dime on advertising. My niche markets are unique so it may not apply to what you are doing, but for me I turn business down. When people have twenty services on one website I believe they can get confused. If they see you specialize in just one thing or that website is specific to one thing they can't be distracted as much.
2) There are two types of domains. Brandable and searchable. Geico or Nike is a brandable name and a searchable name would be bestinsurance4u.com or bestshoes.com. I've always done searchable domains and had the best luck. The traffic I get off of these searchable domains are so much more than my brand name that I VERY SELDOM US MY BRAND NAME.
3) I see you have different types of services that require different types of qualifications. I strongly recommend that you do an online quote. I started doing this around five years ago and my business tripled within that first year. My quote form had specific questions geared to my business. I was able to stop 1-hour phone conversations and get an online quote to them within 3 to 5 minutes of my time. 90% of my business is now computer generated and automated so that I very seldom even talk to anyone on the phone.
4) Short story. I am a real estate broker. Most would advertise how good they are at selling properties. I do evictions to get my foot in the door. It's a service that most people don't want to do so they hire someone. Once I evict them I have already established a relationship with that owner so now I can renovate their property, lease their property, or sell their property. Consider doing the same thing in your business. Figure out how to get your foot in the door and then tell them about other services. My average client uses me three times for some service. One is the eviction process and then it can be as simple as running a credit report or typing a lease. All generating income at a consistent rate.
5) I've owed over 1000 domain names and have figured out how to get my websites ranked on google without paying. Content is key and multiple domains about the same service will get you more leads. In 1990 I started my buisness. The internet was not popular or being used so we relied on the yellow pages. I created a company then that started with the letter A. Allstar Leasing. I then purchased another business ad and phone and did Bemis Realty. What people would do is shop around and call the first one and then twenty minutes later call the second one. I said I have more so you can keep calling, but you are going to get us again. We had literally 7 names. Fast forward. Now ranking is how they find you. The other day A guy called me (rare event lol). Talked to him for 30 minutes. Five minutes later I get an online quote and it's him. I immediately emailed him back and said I just got off the phone with you and You filled out my online submission form. Just so you know I have 40 websites and chances are you are going to get me on most of them. He said he kinda figured that since the questions asked on the online submission form were what I asked him on the phone.
6) I have been in business now for 25 years. I've learned the best thing anyone can do is make sure you have a system in place that is consistent. Your system will make or break you. Take fast food places. You must have a set presentation. Time it and refine it. Always look to decrease that process. The quicker you can do a service the more money you make. Organize your thoughts and make sure you follow through. I good app to organize things is Trello. I know there are many things out there, but I prefer this personally.
7) You can have all these great ideas but at the end of the day you need a good accountant, attorney and mentor. All cost by the way. You must make sure that what you are doing is legal and you should have all the proper documents to protect yourself from liability. You should always keep up with your profit and loss statements. You can't really build a business if you don't know what you are making or losing.
My final thoughts are this. People never plan to fail, but they do. What makes winners versus losers is how you treat your customers, the value of the service you offer and how well you deliver that service. It's better to charge more for a service and have less people than to charge less to get bulk and provide a poor service. I tripled my prices and increased my attention to detail. I work less and make more. Win win for both clients and myself.
Answered 8 years ago
Hi — there are 2 angles to consider, here.
1. From the customers' point-of-view, it may be confusing to jump from one domain to another. Gives the impression that you have been redirected to another company's website. Better to have one website, with all your services (like many digital agencies do). Especially when the services are all related somewhat.
2. From an SEO point-of-view, the keywords in each of the services you have listed are very competitive. So, it is probably more efficient to put all your SEO efforts on a single combined entity.
Answered 8 years ago
Yeah, you could go either way, it is more of whether right now is the issue of time, money, and strategy vs. long term in all of those. I would do the three, because getting more targetted will help you find customers easier and speak only to what they need.
From an SEO benefit, I would disagree that a single site is better since you would be pouring all that into a less focused site and the incoming traffic would also be varied by source and topics. I think it would be better to rank a site surrounding one specific topic and the end user will find it more useful.
Also you can leverage each individual asset to help the others and promote them where needed. From a social growth side it is better as well for various reasons.
Answered 8 years ago
My suggestion is to find a name that explains the unique and special benefit you deliver to prospective customers. Don't do multiple sites. It is too complicated. Have one site and focus on it and be successful in one area first.
I'd start with your strength. Do one thing great.
Answered 8 years ago
I agree with Anwar's suggestions above.
To add more on the communication side of things, Customers like to identify a set of services with a particular name. For instance, McDonald's is a food brand, Nike is a shoes and apparel brand. I'd pitch to you that design is more than just the look of things, it is the creative structuring and setting up of a vision that solves people's problems. So sticking with wantdesign is absolutely fine even if you branch out from web design to include apps and SEO services.
Let's get on a call about what you feel your central service is and what we can do to create a spiral marketing structure around it. Look forward to speaking with you!
Answered 8 years ago
Some great answers here already, and in general I agree with the strategy of focusing on just one domain where possible.
So, if you agree too, the next question is how do you come up with a new name/brand/domain to capture it all?
I've done several branding/naming projects, and my recommendation is the following:
1. Nail your positioning. This means, in very few words, how are you positioned with your target customer, and against your competition? It's not easy to simplify this down to a couple sentences, but it is imperative.
2. Find a name that speaks to, and supports the position you are taking. There must be a strong tie between the position and the name, otherwise creating messages (marketing) will be very difficult.
3. Find a domain to call home. The beauty of a highly distinctive position and related name is that finding an available domain becomes MUCH easier.
Let me know if you'd like to talk more about the positioning, this is the hardest part and good to get help on!
Answered 8 years ago
Every brand has a story and every brand wants to be a story brand. Whether it is ancient times or modern-day movies, stories have held the power to shape people. Everyone likes a good story, irrespective of the medium through which it is told. Typically, good stories follow this pattern: A character has a problem and meets a guide who gives them a plan, calls them to action, helps them to avoid failure and ends in success.
How then can you use the power of stories to sell a product? The answer to this question is to create your own story brand. Creating your own story brand will have a competitive edge when you craft a compelling story that describes your brand. Add the ability to create a sustainable relationship with your customers and position your product in a way that makes it irresistible. The result will be retention of the attention of your customers and guaranteed growth to your business. In creating a story brand, you cannot leave room for ambiguity. Effective use of language is more important than aesthetics. For example, you may have the most beautiful website on the block but use language ineffectively. Such beauty is a waste.
Your message must tell people three things:
1. Who you are?
2. What you do ?
3. Why you are best fit for the job.
Potential customers must not have difficulty understanding your message or relating to your story. If they do, they will take their business elsewhere without hesitation. At the heart of your message, you must convey exactly what you do. Ask yourself: Will this product or service help people survive and thrive? If yes, that is your message.
According to Psychologist Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs, it is important to arrange your services or products according to their level of importance to human survival. Physical needs come before psychological needs. Think of this as a pyramid. Food, sex, safety, and shelter are the most basic needs we have as humans. Then, we progress to the need for companionship and friendship. At the top of the pyramid, we have the need for self-actualization. Understanding this hierarchy can provide the leverage to hone your message and entice customers.
We all have desire for acceptance. We want to have a sense of belonging somewhere. We all need to eat and drink. Use this knowledge to explain how your product will help your customers satisfy those needs and flourish in life.
For instance, if you are into professional enhancement training, your website must literally state that you train people. Then you must find a way to craft a message that shows how professional training connects with the survival needs of your customers. You could show how being professionally trained can help them earn more money to take care of themselves. Being skilful can also help them to be friends with great people in the society.
What differentiates a good story form ordinary talk is that a story is organized information. Our desire for orderliness and continuity explains why we like listening to stories. We also remember stories long after they have been told because it is organized. Like a melody, a good story sticks in the mind after a single listen unlike the erratic honking of cars and random sounds we hear and forget almost immediately. Music follows rules and recognizable patterns. Good stories also have a pattern they follow.
An easy way to get this done is by following the SB7(Story Brand7) Framework. The SB7 framework taps into the power of storytelling.
The key elements that make up a good story are:
5. Calls to action
The character is the centre of attention. The story revolves around her. She desires something difficult to get. This difficulty constitutes the problem. Just when she is about to give up, a guide shows up and presents a plan that can solve the identified problem. The guide asks the character to act based on the plan. To avoid failure, the character must follow the plan to get her initial desire. This story arc can be crafted for every type of brand. Once you have got your script sorted, it will provide the ammunition you need to win and keep into attention of your customers.
Customers are like kings and queens. Let your story focus on their needs and wants. Tell the story through their eyes. It will stick and they will naturally come to you when they want something in real life. Your brand will be attached to that need. To understand how important, it is to make the customer your main character, consider an example of travel company. The website of this company showcases beautiful landscapes across the globe, their beautiful offices, and a story about them. Basically, it talked about everything else but the customer. This example shows what not to do. The message is unclear, and it does not address the needs of the customers. Rather than focus on what their company could do for the customer, they showcased their company. People might admire the landscapes and beautiful offices but cannot connect their need to what you are saying. Your website should talk more about them than you. They should easily see why they need to contact you.
Your character must be the main character in your brand story. Get them engaged by targeting their desires, to be more powerful, focus on one desire. There is no point in listing all your services. It will only create confusion and make it difficult for your customer to see how your message meets their needs. For the travel company, someone eventually discovered that customers need to travel effortlessly. This discovery led to a redesign of their website to focus on how their services lift off the burden of making travel arrangements for their customers. The message became clear and concise. Everyone knew what the travel company offered. The second component of SB7 framework focuses on identifying the problems your customers face and proffering solutions to these problems. People like to feel understood. Simply stating the problems your customers face will engage them with the solution you provide. Clearly state the problem in a way that shows that you know where the shoe hurts. It is not enough to have a hero in a story. There must be a villain too. Therefore, this challenge or problem that your customers face must be presented s the villain of this story that must be defeated. If your product is a time-management app, it is useful to present distractions as a villain. Make all things that steal time into mini-villain, and it is these villains that will become the problem your product helps to overcome.
Internal problems might be more pressing than external ones sometimes. Feeling frustrated about the fact that you don’t have enough time to rest may be an example of an internal problem that time management app might provide solution to. If a customer’s house needs painting, the fact that you’re a painter will not make him choose you over any other painter. But by making a villain out of the fact that he might be the owner of the ugliest house on the block, you might be able to show him how to overcome this villain by hiring you. Tell the house owner that you are one of the very few painters who can restore beauty to the house with paint.
Your company is a guide in your brand story. It exists to help customers overcome life’s problems. Empathy sets the tone for a trusting relationship. It shows your customers that you understand their plight and you can identify with them. Customers will take your advice seriously only if you build such relationship with them. Authority is not established by being overbearing or condescending. It earned from showing integrity and delivering on your promise. You need to prove that you can do what you said you would. At this juncture, all main characters in your story are clearly stated. You have the hero of the story, the villain, and the guide. It is time to tell a compelling story. The fact that your customer trusts you and your ability to deliver does not mean they will commit to purchase. Buying a product or service is different story entirely. You must come up with a plan that will guarantee their buy decision. Think of it as a group of people who have to go across a stream to the other side but are afraid of getting wet. Your role as a guide is to hurl stones into the stream that they can step on to get to their destination without getting wet. The crossing stones make up your plan.
Show your customers what to do to make a purchase or make the purchase absolutely risk-free. Showing your customers what to do is called the Process Plan. It tells them how to buy a product and how to use it. Explaining the process helps to eliminate confusion and increase the possibility of retaining the customer. Challenge your customers to act. Do not wait for attention. An average of 3000 advertisements call out to customers every day. Therefore, you need to stand out of the crowd if you will be chosen one.
Be bold and clear about it. On your website, provide multiple call to action. Use different terminologies and spread it across the website. Words like “Click Here to Buy” or “Buy now” or “Register” are examples of direct call to action. A transitional call to action is another method of guiding customers to decide. It differs from the direct call to action in that it seeks to maintain a friendly relationship with customers rather than getting them to place an order. The endgame is still to get them make a purchase.
Behavioural economist Daniel Kahneman published a paper in 1979 that reveals that the dissatisfaction people feel after a loss is usually greater than the satisfaction they feel from a gain even if the quantity remains constant. Hence, you must be clear about the disadvantages of buying from you. For example, a professional advancement training outfit that sets out to train people on Public speaking or presentations must spell out the possibility of career stagnation that can come from not learning how to speak to a group. Additionally, you must show them the danger in deferring such training to a later time when they feel they will need it.
One thing that makes stories so powerful is that things can end badly for the hero. When you are the hero of the story, you do not want it to end badly. Your business must lay out the happy ending that your product offers after dangling the dangers of not buying before the customers’ eyes.
For example, Nike has a slogan that says, “Just do it.” With it, they show their customers that they are just into the sales of footwear and athletic gear. They believe in lifestyle of inspiration, drive, and glory. Every customer is invited to share in this belief.
Three strategies can be useful:
Sell status. When you make provision for something like a premium offer that provides additional services that others cannot have, you will find people longing to achieve that status. People want what they do not have, and they are attracted to what separates them from others.
Sell completeness. Your product needs to hold out the hope of fulfilment to customers. They should get the feeling that they are not complete without your product. Hence, they should strive to surmount all others to be united with what you are offering.
The third strategy is self-acceptance and actualizing your potential. Make people comfortable in their own skin. Help them to accept themselves for who they are. When your product identifies with everyday people and shows them that there is nothing wrong with them, they will identify you.
If there is a brand that has managed to develop an excellent brand strategy in both the offline and the online universe, it is Abercrombie. The company, founded in 1892 by David Abercrombie, was for nearly a hundred years dedicated to the sale of hunting, fishing and adventure gear, whose unique relationship to fashion were multi-pocket utility pants to hold hooks and cartridges, waders for river fishermen and vests and caps for hunters. Moving in sporting goods, the company became very popular in the United States and was an early precedent of modern adventure clothing stores such as Banana Republic many years later. After Abercrombie changed ownership in 1988, Mike Jeffries went on to run the company, turning it into a fashion brand adored by millions of teenagers worldwide. Its success exceeded all conventions in the retail clothing world. In its flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York there are no windows, although there are four full-height stories of glass panning—a real travesty in an area where the window is your best hook to attract customers. If you want to see what is being sold you must go into the store by two door attendants guard a mysterious enclosure and regulate incoming traffic according to the number of customers coming out. You must remain in the queue until they indicate that you can go in and spend your money. Then, before even entering, you may take a picture with a couple of models, boy and girl, extremely attractive and scantily clad, who stand waiting for you a little farther along the same hallway.
It’s ten o’clock, but inside it looks like twelve midnight. Darkness and loud music transport you to an authentic after-hours club, where customers walk hidden amid the shelves and the employees resemble runway models. A slightly unusual scent permeates everything. If you can hold out in the store for more than five minutes, you can see that the supply of clothing is very limited and very repetitive. Just half a dozen styles of T-shirts, each with a giant brand logo printed on the front and some skirts and jeans with no trace of special design. In fact, you could find almost identical items at any neighbourhood flea market.
The brand’s advertising leaves no room for doubt that, for the producer, the product is not of the slightest importance. In advertisements for their summer collection we can see some scarves, shorts, jeans. There are boxing gloves, many naked torsos and only minimal descriptions. There is no trace of designer clothing. It is no coincidence that Mike Jeffries has always boasted that he sells only brand and esthetic. He has also declared repeatedly not only that he wants attractive employees but also that he loathes overweight clients and would prefer them to never visit his stores. In fact, these unfortunate remarks caused him to lose his job in 2014, after many years of unprecedented commercial success.
The successful brand Abercrombie has built over the past 25 years—using glamor and a cult around sex and the beauty of youth—took root among adolescents worldwide. They would not pay for a shirt or pants, they would do so only to put the Abercrombie brand on their skin, to tell adults they were part of a powerful elite group in which youth and attractiveness are the basis of power.
Good use of conventional media, sophisticated in-store brand experience and huge word-of-mouth on social networks worked the miracle of Abercrombie, transforming a brand of rugged outdoor sportswear into a paragon of modernity and urban design. This same process was repeated by the second group brand, Hollister, which launched in 2000 and is inspired by a Californian concept with beaches, surfboards, and holiday bungalows.
Since the creator of that successful strategy, Mike Jeffries, fell into disfavour in the media for his sexist and discriminatory comments about “unsightly” people, Abercrombie’s business suffered greatly, forcing them to conduct a rebranding which they have been working on since Jeffries’s departure in 2014. Now its public communications are less sexually charged, and its products have become more important. There is also focus on a more traditional catalogue aimed at a more adult audience. We will have to see what the future holds, but certainly the recent past has been a demonstration of the power of brands—far beyond the actual value of the products they sell.
Thus my suggestion to you is that do not find a new brand name but create an amazing brand story.
Besides if you do have any questions give me a call: https://clarity.fm/joy-brotonath
Answered 3 years ago