Accessible Domain Names

Branding, as you likely know, is increasingly important in a world filled with the imprints of globalization.  And as important as branding is, there does seem to be a disconnect between it and accessibility.

“What do you mean?”

Good question.  What I mean is that we often do not think about the accessibility of brand names themselves.  For instance, when you think about how pronounceable, short, or appropriate the name of your brand is, you’re thinking about basic accessibility by every day people.  However, we should also start thinking about brand accessibility by disabled people such as those who are dyslexic, autistic, or are disabled in another way that may hinder or make it difficult for an individual to easily read (and thus access) certain words.  From my experience, a good brand name that is profitable, catchy, and accessible should have most of the following:

  • Pronounceable, but also readable with clear breaks.  (e.g. chris-ci-ty)
  • Appropriate to the context of your product and social sensitivities.  (e.g. instead of using potential trigger words, use slightly more ambiguous words or the equivalent that aren’t as politically charged or have negative connotations)
  • As short as possible, but still sweet and gets the message through.  (e.g. for a business like “Fornesa Business Group”, you can scale down the name to something like “Fornesa BG”)  Remember that you can always abbreviate some or even all of the words in your theoretical brand (if it’s long enough) to make your brand name as short as possible.
  • However, make sure that the intent of the brand name is still clear after sizing it to an acceptable context, length, and meaning.  (e.g. the company “Stimtastic” is a portmanteau of the words “stim” and “fantastic” which appeal to the autistic community it serves)
  • Also prioritize your personal connection to your brand itself!  It is imperative not to go as generic as possible with a brand both to avoid potential trademark disputes and to make your brand memorable.
  • Finally, make sure that you can get a domain name that is as similar as possible to your brand and keep the other rules in mind as well!  Remember that many top level domain name extensions are available due to recent changes to ICANN (Internet Corporation for Associated Names and Numbers) policies and, while it is a good idea to stick to traditional .com, .net, or .org TLDs, you may use a different one (e.g. .rocks, .xyz, .city) when used in the proper context, in the case of my brand “Chris City”, the “chris.city” domain name was perfect!

I would also suggest limiting the number of syllables required to say your domain name as it is easier to spread (go viral), say, and type!  This is also another level of scrutiny that you should use in choosing a domain name and, if possible, you should either have yourbrandname.com, .net, .org or split your brand name into both parts of your domain name (e.g. the brand “Woke Us” with the domain name “woke.us”).  Remember that you can always obtain multiple domain names for the same website (if your hosting allows it) and so you can point or redirect multiple domain names to the same website (but of course you must choose a main domain name for this).  For instance, for my website “Woke.Us.Org”, I [obviously] have the main domain name as “woke.us.org”.  However, I also have the domain names “wokeus.com” and “wokeon.top” that redirect to woke.us.org.

Be as open to the possibilities as possible and, if you would like to do so, keep a list of brand name ideas that you can edit, change, or even use for when your project proliferates!  Just remember the basics and make your brand accessible in all aspects with an accompanying domain name.

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