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book cover: choosing the right domain name

Choosing the Right Domain Name:
a Marketing Perspective

all you need to know about domain names (and some you don't need to know, but is interesting anyway)


Normally seen as an integral - and essential - element of the sales conversion funnel, the landing page has a specific role to play in moving the potential customer towards whatever action will meet the objectives of the ad to which they have responded. This objective could be anything from an online purchase through newsletter sign-up to the directions to the nearest bricks-and-mortar store that carries the advertised product. A landing page is one specifically developed as the place where users are directed when they respond to a promotion. This is not the same as the promotional domain name (which will host a purpose-made website or minisite), but a 'response' page on the organization's main website. Such a page would sit on the main domain name, something like,
or even simply,
with the file name pertaining to the promotion.

Whilst registering domain names for specific ads is an option, beware of being too free with the registration of new domains for landing pages. Indeed, this is one of the only sections of the book where I advise against registering a new domain name. Having the landing page on one domain and the 'shop' on another (probably the organization's primary domain) may create uncertainty in the mind of the customer, with them perceiving the company to be untrustworthy. If this is a potential problem, the way round it is to ensure that the landing page is clearly branded as being part of the 'parent' organization.

There is, however, one aspect of online advertising where the domain name is an essential element. This is the 'display URL' - that part of a search engine or network ad's copy text that tells consumers where they will go if they click on your ad. For this type of online advertising a promotional domain is most definitely not an option, however. All of the major engines and network ad providers enforce the following rules with regard to the format of display URLs:

* The top level domain of the display URL must match the top level domain of the ultimate landing page
* The display URL can be a sub-domain eg
* The display URL can be an indexed page eg

So whilst a new domain name could be registered simply for an advertising campaign, for the majority of search engine and network ads it is your organization's primary domain name that is the most suitable for such ads - all the more reason for getting your domain name right in the first place! However, you can use the second/third level names for such ad campaigns, so some of the stuff you learned in chapter one will be useful. Although second level names can be used if your search engine/network advertising is limited, however, I would suggest the use of indexed (file) pages as being the best option where multiple landing pages are used. Without going into too much detail, to be effective, each ad should have a 'customized' landing page, which means each needs its own URL - not really an viable option for second level names if you have 50, 100 or 1000 different ads running at any given time.

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Copyright copyright 2009 Alan Charlesworth. All rights reserved.
International Standard Book Number: 978-1-4452-0538-0
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the author.
Every effort has been made to make this book as complete and as accurate as possible, but no warranty or fitness is implied. The information provided is on an 'as is' basis. No responsibility is assumed by the author for any injury and/or damage to persons or property as a matter of products liability, negligence or otherwise, or from any use or operation of any methods, products, instructions or ideas contained in the material herein.
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