What came first — the chicken or the egg? Or, in the world of small business — the name of the company or the domain name? Not everyone has the luxury of deciding on both at the same time, but when you can, it can make a difference.
Imagine picking the name “Lilac Moon” for your bookstore, spending time and money to register your name with the state and on all the official stuff that goes along with starting a business, and then discovering that the name you want for your website address — like lilacmoon.com — isn’t easily within reach. Maybe it’s already been taken or it’s a premium domain with a premium price tag. You find that even almost-perfect .com domains such as lilacmoonbooks.com and lilacmoonbookstore.com aren’t available either. What are you going to do when it comes time to build your web presence?
If your business name predates the need for a website, now is the time to get creative.
I’ve spent hours, and I mean HOURS with my customers helping them find a domain name that not only accurately reflects them and their business, but that will resonate with their online customers. A website address that’s short, memorable and representative. A few simple strategies can cut the amount of time it takes to find the right domain name.
Start with a KISS.
OK, maybe you and I won’t get that friendly – but Keep it Short and Simple. Your customers will thank you, and your business will benefit. The shorter and easier your domain name is to spell and remember, the more likely your customers will be to type it in time and time again.
Take a fresh approach.
Everyone wants a .com. But the fact that more than 112 million .coms have already been registered worldwide means that it’s not always easy to get a short and sweet website address ending in that popular top-level domain (TLD) extension. Fortunately, there are some exciting options for small business owners with a sense of naming adventure — a whole slew of new extensions called generic top-level domains (gTLDs).
Lilacmoonbooks.com may not be available, but lilacmoonbooks.zone, lilacmoon.rocks, lilacmoonbooks.buzz and lilacmoonbooks.review are. Maybe you’re based in Bloomsbury; pick up lilacmoonbooks.london. Sell books in the Bronx? Register lilacmoon.nyc. International aspirations? Nab lilacmoon.global. With a bit of creativity, you can register a domain name that captures the essence of your business, and even snag secondary names that cover its different aspects and help to protect your brand; simply direct those subdomains to your main site.
‘I’ before ‘E’ except after … what?
Yes, not everyone knows how to spell. If you know that your domain name might be misspelt on a daily basis, buy it both ways. It won’t hurt you to have someone misspell your domain and still come to your site, but it WILL hurt you if they can’t find you if they can’t spell.
Consider a premium domain.
$35.6 million for Insurance.com. Was it worth it? Absolutely. You’re probably not in a position to throw down that kind of cash for a domain name, but even if you’re just starting out you might benefit from spending a little more on the perfect name. If the domain for your business is available for sale and you have brand recognition – you have to decide it it’s worth it. Lilacmoon.com is available for around $3,000. Worth it for brevity and brand recognition? Absolutely.
A decade seems to fly by in the blink of an eye. While you’re kicking ass every day to build your business, you don’t want to have to worry about housekeeping chores like renewing your domain name. And you definitely don’t want to have to explain to your customers why your site was down when you didn’t renew while you were on vacation on a tropical island. Plus, buying your domain for the full term saves you money. Prices go up over time, so it’s a smart idea to lock in the registration price when you purchase your domain.
Having the right domain name can make a world of difference for your business. With a little forward-thinking and creativity, you’re sure to snag a website address that will work for you 24/7 — as opposed to lilacmoonbookstoreonthecornerbythetree.com.
Registered your domain and wondering what’s next? You’ve got some exciting options.
Also published on Medium.