Choosing a domain name can be a real exercise in frustration, but it is one of the most important decisions you will make when getting your business online.
Why so difficult you ask? Well, for a start, almost every word in the English language (and I'm willing to bet most other languages too), has been taken in the most common domains. If you make widgets, you'll almost certainly find that ‘widget.com’ was purchased already back in the days when dinosaurs roamed the web.
To make matters worse, there are so many businesses out there with the same acronym as your business', it's likely that yours is gone too by now. Unless you are IBM, and can spend big money to either pay premium dollar for your domain, or sue for the rights to it, you're out of luck there too.
So what does that leave you with? Your full business name is a good start, however with hundreds of thousands of businesses operating around the globe, you may very well even find that problematic.
So how can you get your foot in the proverbial cyber-door? Here are some tips I have personally found helpful in the past:
- Start with your business name. If you're lucky, it might actually still be available. If so, buy it now for every country you will be likely ever operate in. There's nothing worse than preparing to expand into a new market, only to find that you have to operate under a completely different domain name in that country.
- Try some of the newer top-level domains. If you are a television studio, for example, you could register ‘MyTVShow. tv’ for your next series. Originally, there were seven top level domains, namely .com, . edu, . gov, .int, . mil, .net, and .org. Over time, however, more have been created. Aside from the country-specific domains, you might want to consider . aero, .biz, . coop, .info, .int, . jobs, . museum, . name, . pro and . travel if any of these support your business objectives.
- Create a new word and market it well enough to build brand identity. This is a more expensive choice, because it takes a while for people to start to remember your name. That said, once they do, they'll associate your business with a unique identity. It worked for Google, so why not for you?
- Try word combinations. These too are notoriously difficult to find unowned, but if you are a widget maker, and ‘widget-makers.com’ is available, perhaps you are in luck.
Of course, as with many things, it is often prudent to consult the experts. If your site is being developed by a professional web development business, they should be in a position to advise you from experience what pitfalls to avoid, and how to best market your business for maximum exposure on the internet.
David Malan is an internet and e-commerce expert with over ten years experience in designing and developing enterprise grade online solutions for business.
He owns and runs RealmSurfer Consulting, based in Perth, Western Australia.
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