What’s in a name anyway? Turns out, quite a bit. Choosing a domain name for your business can be mystifying if you’re just getting online or thinking about re-branding. Let’s walk through a couple of scenarios to help you make sense of the process and avoid pitfalls along the way.
Let’s say your business has been around for a while and someone else already has the .com domain with your business name. Resist the urge to immediately purchase your business name on another extension (.net, .biz, .me, .info, .mobi, .tv, .co, etc) because in practice you’ll probably send a good bit of traffic to the other site and your people could get confused about which business is which. At the same time, it is rarely efficient or cost effective to try and buy the .com from an existing owner without exploring other possibilities.
Does your business have a tagline? If so, perhaps that could inspire another domain name. What about a key benefit you provide your clients or customers? Do you offer a premier product that might inspire a domain name? If you provide services, consider your own name too—especially if you are personally known to your clients and customers.
Keep the Domain Name Short
Remember to keep your choice short, easy to say or spell, and memorable. Here are some other thoughts and tips on changing your domain name from Shashi Bellamkonda at Small Business Trends. As more and more extensions open up, people will be less likely to type in a full web address (with an extension like .com, .net, .org, etc.) and more likely to just type in the part they are sure about—the business or domain name—and let their search engine do the rest. The proliferation of extensions also argues against trying to buy up the entire range of extensions related to your own domain. Most small businesses do well to purchase the .com and .net options, and some the .org and .info extensions are important as well. There are 2 main reasons to purchase additional extensions: 1) Because you will use them in your business and 2) to keep other people from using them for their business.
Purchasing a Domain Name
What about the logistical end? Now that you have some domain name prospects you have to see if they are available. You can start your domain name search with a registrar like GoDaddy or Network Solutions.
Remember that purchasing a domain is the first step—you will also have to purchase hosting services before your site can be put up. There is no need to purchase a domain and hosting from the same vendor (like GoDaddy) and in fact there are very good reasons not to. Any legitimate registrar can sell you a domain, but your host needs to provide services that will meet your business needs (ecommerce, blog/s, WordPress site, etc.). Consult with your web pro or do your homework before choosing a host so that you get what you need right from the start.
Domains and hosting MUST be purchased in your name or your business name from the start so that you are the owner of record and you MUST have access to the accounts, user names, and logins. Do not let someone tell you that it is better or cheaper for them to keep everything or to host your site under their umbrella. Your domain and your website will become an important part of your business brand as well as your home base on the Web—there is NO REASON anyone else should own or control either one. If you want help with the logistics, talk to your web pro about how they can help you with purchasing and decision making—an ethical professional will want to be sure that you have everything in your name and be happy to help with the arrangements.