Domain names are often referred to as “online real estate” due to their fast-paced and competitive market. And just like houses, some are sought after, while others aren’t touched. Finding a domain that’s available, valuable, and relevant is important to online success, which is why registering a domain requires strategy. Check out some methods that can simplify the process of searching for and registering your business’s domain name:

Keep it short and simple

It’s an obvious strategy, but registering a domain name that is short and memorable isn’t as easy as you think. Consider the fact that the fewer words or characters your domain name has, the more likely your customers will spell your domain correctly and find your site.This method might require some creativity, but it will pay off.

Find a domain that fits your business

There are hundreds of new industry-, location- and interest-specific domain extensions that are (or will soon be) available, like .guru, .photography, and .bike. These extensions help tell your visitors what your website is about, before they click on it. And with new domains becoming available everyday, you have a better chance of finding the perfect domain for your business.

Register various domain extensions

A domain extension is the part of the domain that follows the “dot,” also known as the top-level domain (TLD). The most common TLDs you see are .com, .net, .info, .biz and .org, ! They describe your company, industry, and sometimes give your site regional recognition.

It’s always a good idea to purchase your domain name along with its various domain extensions. Let’s just say you register a .com domain name and nothing else. Your competitors can easily snag the .net or .info version of your domain name and forward your potential customers to their own site. Scary thought, right?

Just think of domain names as property. If your .com domain is your house, and all of the other extensions is the land that surrounds your home, wouldn’t you want to make a small investment to purchase all of the land so your visitors find you?

Don’t forget misspelled versions

It’s easy to misspell a domain name, even if it’s comprised of normal words and characters. If you know the common misspellings for your domain, register them — and if you don’t, try using a typo generator to find them!

Normal spelling —LandscapeExpert.com

Common misspellings — LansdcapeExpert.com or LandscapExpert.com

Remember, competitors are vicious, and some might even register domain names similar to your own to distract or pull customers away from you. To avoid this, consider registering domain names that customers might confuse as yours, too. That way, you can forward the misspelled or similar versions of your domain to your actual site, and no customers will be lost.

Check out geo-domains

A geographic domain name is one that includes your business location and a keyword that describes your business, like SanDiegoLandscaper.com. Many businesses are location-specific, which is why registering a geographic domain name can be very beneficial. When you register a domain that has both your business location and a keyword that describes your services, you’re combining the two things customers use to search on Google®.

Location types — State, county, city, town or neighborhood

Strong keywords — Business industry, service, niche market, specialty or product

Consider aftermarket or registered domains

If you’ve found the perfect domain name but it’s already registered by someone else, don’t give up just yet! There are domain buy and auction services that can help you get the domain name you’re interested in  even if it’s taken. Chances are, the domain name will cost more than a normal domain registration, but it’s a investment that can significantly benefit your business.