An important part of starting a business is choosing a name for the new venture. It can be a challenge to find a name that sounds cool and that isn’t already taken by someone else. An even more challenging aspect of the whole name selection process is to find a domain name that’s available.
Too often I see entrepreneurs settle for a less than stellar domain for their business because their name wasn’t available. They’ll go with billybobcomputerservices.biz because luckily that name was still available, but the .com and .net version of the same was already taken.
Here are a few tips for choosing a domain name for your business:
- Get a domain name that matches your business name. Customers and potential customers will search for you by your business name. They will even try adding .com after your name, so you better show up when they do that.
- Brainstorm possible names. Chances are you won’t come up with a name that is available or affordable on the first shot. Try making a list of a bunch of good possible names and then narrow it down after you contact the owner to see if it’s available and at what price. If you’re lucky, you’ll come up with a unique combination that is easy to pronounce, spell, and sounds cool and that nobody owns, but chances are you’ll need to planon spending some cash (see next point).
- Plan on spending some money on a domain name – Domain names are real estate on the internet. Domain name values vary widely just like real estate values. If you would have staked out your claim on a beach front property in California back in 1840, it would have been cheap or maybe even free. Now that all the property has been claimed, it’s going to cost a whole lot more. You don’t need to spend millions to get a good name–unless you have millions and need that name–but be prepared to spend hundreds or maybe even thousands of dollars to get a name you can be proud of.
- Stick with .com. Don’t get a weird domain extension like .biz, .info, .us. Nobody remembers the obscure domain extensions and you’ll just end up causing yourself extra grief later on–not to mention all the free advertising you’ll be giving the owner of the .com version of your name.
- Keep it as short as possible. You want it to be meaningful, but all other things being equal–shorter is better.
- No hyphens. Just don’t. They’re confusing and annoying. The only exception is if your name in real life has a hyphen, but even then, you better still get the non-hyphenated version too, just in case (btw – did anyone else notice that Wal-mart ditched the hyphen in their name a few years ago? Might be completely unrelated to the domain issue, but regardless they realized that hyphens just aren’t cool).
- Make it easy to spell. Don’t get cutesy on the spelling or nobody will ever find you.
- Pick up the common misspellings of the domain. Because people are terrible at spelling even if you spell it right and try to make it easy.
- Get your social media profile names that match your domain. It might not be available, but try your darndest to lock up the corresponding name on twitter, facebook, pinterest, youtube and any other pertinent social network that allows custom usernames/URLs.