So, after copious amounts of caffeine driven creative brainstorming sessions, you’ve finally landed the perfect name for your business.
And now it’s time to choose a domain name (sad trombone).
To search for available domains we recommend GoDaddy, but before you do, run though the following questions first to help you land the perfect name for your domain.
WHEN PICKING A DOMAIN ASK YOURSELF IF IT FITS THESE CRITERIA
- Is it true to your brand?
- Is it unique, yet relatable?
- Is it simple? (Short, Easy to pronounce, Easy to spell)
- Is it memorable/catchy?
- Do you have the correct URL extension?
- Can you trademark it?
- Will it scale with your business?
BE TRUE TO YOUR BRAND
This morning when you got up how did you pick what you would wear?
In some ways, what you chose to wear may have been chosen for you.
If you work in an office you are as aware of what you can’t wear as what you can.
Picking your domain should be the same concept.
There are things you shouldn’t “wear” on your site when it comes to your name because your domain is going to represent your company, and subsequently…You.
So, what impression do you want to give?
The easiest thing to do is match your company name, but a domain doesn’t have to match exactly. However, it should be consistent with your brand.
Sometimes the name you want isn’t available, if that’s the case don’t panic. Think of something that is true to your audience.
For example, let’s imagine for a moment that Nike didn’t obtain the domain nike.com in time. They could try out justdoit.com because this slogan is so synonymous with their brand it is easily identifiable.
Obviously, it is always more ideal if you can get a name similar to your business name, but it doesn’t have to be.
Be careful though, as you don’t want to risk picking something that alienates or insults your customers as this could backfire and have the opposite effect.
Always get feedback.
After all, the best market research is research that has been tested. So ask friends and non-friends about the name and if they laugh, you should probably return to the drawing board (unless of course you’re a comedy club).
*PROTIP: LAND THOSE SOCIAL HANDLES
Check to see if social handles are available to match your domain.
Consistency is the most critical part of your brand image.
When people learn about you from social media they should have no trouble finding you based on your handles and visa versa.
A good tool to use is NameChk which allows you to see if the handles are available for all social media platforms all in one place.
Make sure to secure any you might want to use in the future — remember, it costs nothing if you don’t use them right away, but the most expensive thing is a missed opportunity.
BE UNIQUE, YET RELATABLE
The last thing you want is to have people think of a competitor or another brand when you mention your domain name.
So search your name and see what ranks for it.
If too many players are in your market then you’ll be fighting to get noticed.
Be careful though to not be too unique.
Reserve those Latin phrases for your Alma Mater.
*PROTIP: WHAT’S TRENDING
Check Google Trends and see if people are talking about things in your industry.
Compare keywords and see if anything is available within those suggestions.
Simplicity is key.
Use the Spell, See, Say Principle.
Is it easy to spell?
Can others visualize it easily in their head if you say it to them?
Can others pronounce it easily and without struggle?
Think about how many people you’ll be sending to the website over the phone or when you meet and hand your business card to.
*PROTIP: AVOID PUNCTUATION OR WORDS THAT BLEND
Don’t choose domains with hyphens, punctuation, or numbers.
Some words blend when mashed together so be careful and make it is easy to read what your domain actually says — unless you are going for a double entendre (and even then it’s probably best you don’t).
This relates to the last tip, but make sure it is not just easy to remember, but also memorable.
If you tell someone your domain name, is it catchy? Will it stick in their mind?
It doesn’t have to be fancy. Many times if you keep it simple this will take care of itself.
HAVE THE CORRECT URL EXTENSION
If you are not familiar with TLD (top-level down) extension then here is an easy breakdown:
.com – for companies (the most recognized)
.net – for IT networks
.org – nonprofit
.edu – education
.co – specific countries (Columbia)
.us – global us company
.biz – business
It is important to know, not only what you need to represent your company, but what these say to your customers.
.com is not always easy to land, but it’s important not to just pick something based on availability; you don’t want to give the wrong impression.
Before you rush off to buy that perfect name that you saw in your available domain list do a quick search to see if it’s available.
The last thing you want is a cease and desist, or worse, a lawsuit when business starts to boom.
If it is available, you can apply for a Trademark at USPTO.
PICK A NAME THAT WILL SCALE WITH YOUR BUSINESS
Something people often don’t consider is where their business will be in a year, five years, or ten years.
Perhaps you begin your business selling pies, but you plan to be a full service bakery in a year or two.
It would be a bad idea to pick a domain like deliciouspies.com when in a year you might hurt your chances to sell cakes.
Also, are you going to remain a bakery or will you cater events?
Are you a small mom and pop shop, but have lofty goals of being seen as your area’s premiere gourmet bakery?
Be aware of these goals as you pick your name because something cute today won’t be so cute when you want to cater an upscale event, but you aren’t getting any calls because no one wants their event done by crustysbakery.com.
When choosing a domain try to match it to your company name, but if you can’t, then try something that is true to your overall brand.
Keep it simple and easy to remember and spell.
Check to see that it can be Trademarked and isn’t too close to other businesses (especially in your space).
And lastly, think about how it will fit your business in a few years if you expand into new avenues of trade and business.
Now that that’s out of the way, go to GoDaddy to find your perfect domain name.