While choosing a business name is important for any small business startup, online businesses also need to choose a domain name to correspond with a business name. Before thinking about an actual domain name, it’s important to choose an effective business name. A high quality business name will be:
1. Marketable and able to adapt to various branding efforts easily.
2. Easy to remember, at least with your target market.
3. Representative of the image your online business is trying to portray.
4. Not infringing on the trademark of any other company or website.
Once you have decided on a full business name, begin choosing a domain name for your online business or website. Here are a few basic considerations when choosing a domain name for your website:
1. What domain name extension do you prefer when choosing a domain name? (.com?, .net?, your country code?)
2. How long should your domain name to be? Shorter domain names tend to be easier to remember, but that might not be an issue if you plan to exclusively drive traffic through clicks online, rather than needing people to always remember, and type in, the domain name (such as using radio advertising to promote the website).
3. Do you prefer the domain name to be the company name, or something heavily related to the company name, or do you prefer a domain name that is keyword-rich for search engine optimization, even if that means using a less memorable or more unattractive domain name?
4. When choosing a domain name, do you want to avoid using hyphens in the domain, or is that not an issue for your particular online business?
5. Do you want to buy a previously-registered domain name that has a history (especially if its previous use was related to the new online business), or would a domain name that’s entirely new and that has never been used before be better?
6. Do you mind having numbers in the domain name, or would you prefer that everything be spelled out? If numbers are important to the domain name, will they be confusing to site visitors?
Once you’ve answered those questions about choosing a domain name, and have a basic business name (or keywords) in mind, there are a few tools that can help in choosing a domain name for your online business:
1. Domain Name Registrars – When visiting the site of a domain name registrar, conduct a search for your domain name idea(s) to see if the domain names are available. Many registrars have a built-in tool that will suggest similar domain names, if your first choice isn’t available. When targeting a general keyword, and not worried about prefix and suffix options, run a search for keyword.com, even if you know it’s not available. The registrar’s tools may suggest a substitute domain name that will meet your needs.
2. Domain Name Generators – Domain name generators are often free tools found online that can help when choosing a domain name by either adding random suffixes and prefixes to a primary keyword or by combining multiple keywords that you provide, all while searching for available domain names.