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Ilona Kondakova
Content Strategist at .it.com Domains

Domain Hacking: How to Get the Most Out of This Creative Strategy

When encountered for the first time, the ‘domain hack’ term naturally reminds of cyber attacks and domain theft. In fact, a domain hack involves cleverly using the elements of a domain name and zone to create a unique and memorable web address.

Let’s talk about what domain hacks are, how they are used, and what benefits they can bring to businesses.

What Is a Domain Hack?

A domain hack creatively combines a domain name with the domain zone to craft a single word or phrase, like app.ly or get.it.com. Here, ‘hack’ refers to an inventive solution, akin to a ‘life hack’.

A domain name should be easy to remember, easy to write, and reflect a brand or business direction. Domain hacks can help with all of these by creating a short and unusual domain that stands out from other website names, causing interest among users.

How to Choose a Domain Hack

Domain hacks are only constrained by the available domain zones and users’ inventiveness. You can employ almost any Top-Level Domain (TLD) or third-level domain for this. To utilize a domain hack, consider the following steps:

  1. Survey available TLDs and third-level domains. Not all TLDs need to be recent; ‘Legacy’ TLDs are also viable options. For example, domains such as inter.net and pla.net were claimed in the 90s. Nonetheless, newer TLDs and third-level domains typically offer more availability, including ones like create.it.com, advertise.it com or cook.it.com.
  2. Devise a catchy name. Aim for a name that sticks in memory, and is straightforward to spell.
  3. Proceed with domain registration. Keep in mind that different TLDs have unique registration requirements. For instance, the .NO domain zone — Norway’s national TLD — necessitates residency in Norway for registration.

Looking for inspiration for appropriate extensions? Take a look at these TLDs – you’re sure to find what you’re looking for!

Advantages of Domain Hacking

Domain hacking has advantages that are beneficial for almost any business, making them extremely desired by end customers:

  • Domain hacks offer a blend of creativity and memorability, infusing a sense of fun into a website’s identity and reinforcing its connection with a brand or the essence of your client’s business.
  • In terms of marketing, domain hacking can be an effective component of a strategy. Even if your client possesses an established domain, acquiring a clever domain hack and setting up a redirect to their primary site can serve as a potent marketing move. For example, Netflix cleverly employs the .ES TLD of Spain for the domain movi.es, which then guides visitors to the main Netflix site.
  • A domain hack can also serve as a direct call-to-action (CTA). By incorporating the CTA within the domain itself, it can signify the action a website owner wishes users to take on their site, for instance, fill.it.com.
  • Shorter domain names are often more favored by Google’s search algorithms, potentially improving search rankings. They are also more conducive to effective promotion on social media platforms, where character limits can restrict the length of ads and posts.

Disadvantages of Domain Hacking

Domain hacks also have disadvantages that can be detrimental:

  • Search engine rankings can vary significantly across different top-level domains (TLDs), especially in Google’s algorithm. Country code TLDs (ccTLDs) might not rank as well if they’re geographically specific, which could be a concern if a target audience is not in the same region as the TLD’s country. It’s wise to research the compatibility and performance of particular country codes with Google before making a purchase.
  • Some new TLDs (nTLDs) have sometimes been exploited by malicious actors , leading to a lack of trust and indexing by Google. Exercise caution when selecting these domains.
  • When it comes to domain names, striking the right balance between creativity and clarity is crucial. Overly creative domains may result in unclear or misleading names like apply.ly, which could detract from user experience.

Conclusion

By leveraging the creative use of domain names, domain hacking offers a multitude of benefits, from enhancing brand recognition to driving targeted traffic and improving search engine visibility, making them a desired choice for businesses.

By carefully selecting and combining relevant keywords, one can offer memorable and descriptive domain names that resonate with target audiences of the end user. This, in turn, can lead to increased brand recall, improved click-through rates, and ultimately, higher conversion rates for the businesses.

Moreover, domain hacking presents a unique opportunity for businesses to stand out in a crowded online marketplace. With the scarcity of premium domain names, creative domain hacking techniques can help companies secure memorable and brandable domains that align with their products or services. This not only enhances their online presence but also reinforces their brand identity and credibility, making such domains more desirable.

As the digital landscape continues to evolve, the importance of domain hacking is likely to grow. With the increasing reliance on mobile devices and voice search, memorable and descriptive domain names will become even more crucial for businesses seeking to capture the attention of their target audience.

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