It is getting more difficult to create business names that are free of trademark conflicts and also available as website domains. This is especially true for web based businesses especially in the computer and consulting industries. The problem is that everybody wants the online equivalent of beachfront property. Unfortunately it’s a little too late in the maturing internet domain market to have such high expectations for an exclusive domain. Its common to come up with the perfect domain name for a business only to find it’s taken, or worse, someone owns it but has it parked and isn’t using it.
So how are you to find a name for your business that works and is available as domain name? Branding and naming experts suggest that you worry less about your domain name and more about finding the right name for your company. After all, the domain name can be any number of variations on your company name. It can even be another string of words entirely. If your website is properly optimized for the major search engines and you’re delivering value to your customers, your business can still find success with a less than ideal domain name.
In other words, finding a good domain name is helpful but it won’t make or break your business. You need to start by choosing the best name for your business without worrying too much about the domain name. Once you’ve got the business name you’re happy with, start drawing up a list of workable domain names. These may be plurals of your business name, or the name with hyphens, numbers or words such as “pro” or “online”. Most important, your domain name should be short, memorable, not easily mistaken for another popular domain, and tough to misspell. Having the domain name “smithconsulting.com” may be ideal but “smith-consulting.com” or “consultingbysmith.com” will work as well.
Your list should include names that might represent acronyms or abbreviations of your business name. Consider domain names that use keywords relevant to your company or industry. Combining these keywords with your company name will give you an advantage when it comes to optimizing your website for search engine rankings. Put the best names at the top of your list and then visit WhoIs.com which allows you to check whether various domains are in use. Be sure to check for the availability of the .net and .biz in addition to the .com extension. They may not be beachfront property but they are certainly beach view. Once you find a name on your list that is available, register it immediately!
You’ll be surprised how quickly some names will get taken. Delaying just a day or even an hour may be too late. Be prepared to snatch up your domain by choosing a registrar before you begin your search and have your credit card information ready. Domains can be registered for less than $20.00 so it isn’t a huge investment for the return you’ll get. Some experts suggest buying the other extensions such as .net and .biz as well. This prevents others from confusing your customers by using the similar sounding names. It is this practice however that makes finding the perfect domain name such a challenge.
Once you’ve found the ideal company name and domain name, don’t forget to renew your domain name registration each year before it expires. There are individuals who make a living watching for expired domain names and then buying them the moment they are available. They then demand large fees to sell them back to you or to anyone else willing to buy them. Many of these names cost between $1,000 and $10,000 to buy back. To help protect your domain name, you can usually register them for more than a year at time. Also, make sure your registrar gives you ample notice when your domain is about to expire. Some registrars include an automatic renewal option which is always a wise choice.
Need Help? We’d be happy to assist you in finding and registering your domain name. Just contact us for details.