How to find a domain name for your online business?

There are more than 100 million domains that has been already been registered and the trend is not going to stop soon. In general to finding a domain name for your online business is difficult these days and then what can a budding online entrepreneur will do to find a domain name for his or her online business. Following steps will help to find a domain name for an online business.

Start your search for domain names at “DomainTools.com” previously known as Whols.sc. This primary research will tell you that site is already been taken and also who has taken it. Wide range of names are available and the entire history of the domain name is also available i.e. domain name has been registered in the past or not and also detail information regarding current traffic of the domain.You can also search domain name by category by visiting various domain seller’s web site and you can search domain name based on your business. To make the job easier certain web sites like brandarrows.com lists the fabulous offers, premium names and new names on their homepage. While searching for domain names keep the following factors into consideration :

( 1) The nature of your business

(2) Allocation of budget

(3) Number of letters you are looking for in your domain name.

While searching if you find many domain names appealing then you can save all these names in your favourites by clicking on the domain name and you can decide later which one to select.

One can also search for pre-owned names at BuyDomains.com, Afternic.com and Sedo.com. Each of these websites has huge number of names and these names can be searched by category. The purchasing cost of unregistered name can be hundreds or even thousands dollars and hence one can identify how much one is ready shell out for a good domain name. While searching for names also look at SnapNames.com where you can find domain names, which will be soon expiring. In this case if you find a name that you like and you are ready wait then you can have these domain names from their owners after their name expire.

The ‘dot-com’ extensions were originally used for business or commercial sites whereas ‘.org’ was used for non-profit organizations and “.net” was used for sites which were technology-focused. Further with the expansion of country code top level domains companies have the options to utilize extensions like ‘.co.uk’ or ‘.eu’ to target geographical locations in which they do business

If geography plays an important role in your business in order to show the country or origin to which your business belongs to then the owner may look for top level domains. For example ‘.uk’ represents the country United Kingdom; similarly ‘.in’ stands for India, ‘.au’ for Australia, ‘.ca’ for Canada and so on.

The businesses always have a danger of losing out its identity to look-alike alternate extensions. For example consider a cloth store fabclothes.com which is a popular brand in retail clothes stores. If there are websites existing with alternate extensions like fabcothes.org, fabclothes.net or fabclothes.cn then it is likely that for a first time user who has never visited the site of the original

fabclothes.com is likely to get diverted to lookalikes and he or she may get frustrated with the lookalikes who is using the identity of the original company. This is very dangerous for a business that is trying to enter the ecommerce space and is likely to lose to these look-alikes who are hampering the brand value and identity of the original store.

One should avoid this by taking a precautionary measure of ensuring that for the domain name he or she has selected there are no alternative lookalike extensions with the same or similar names and he or she should purchase these alternate extensions in order to avoid the danger of these mushrooming lookalikes in the near future when his or her business gets popular and more appealing to the masses.

While finding domain name one should always remember that shorter name is always better although it is very difficult and expensive. The shorter domain names are most memorable than longer one. There are many reasons like shorter names are easier for people to recollect and process and shorter names has fewer interpretation than longer names. Also, people remember short and sweet names and this goes long way when it comes to remembering new companies name and it counts in the long run. One should also remember that domain name should have only one possible interpretation or spelling because this is a huge factor when it comes to remember companies’ domain name, which has more than one possible spelling. As we know that domain names are passed from one co-worker to another in conversation and it may happen that in the first he or she may type correctly but in the second attempt he or she may type it wrongly. This small mistake can have huge impact if it involves some financial transaction. If people are not able to recall it or cannot spell your domain name correctly, they may visit the competitors’ website.

It is recommended that the domain name should be same as that of the company name to gain more recognition from the people visiting the website. If there is a disparity between the domain name and the name of the business then it can confuse the people visiting the website and there is a danger of them losing interest in the business. For example, consider a footwear store named ‘Stepon’ and when the owner wants to register the domain name ‘Stepon’ for his website which will allow the customers to purchase shoes online then he finds that there is already a website with the same name but it is intended to teach dance lessons to the customers and the website is very popular among dance enthusiast. This is a very difficult situation for the shop owner, he cannot open a website with the same name as it will have severe legal implications on himself. There are minimal chances that the owner of the original ‘Stepon’ website will sell him this domain and even if he agrees to do so he will quote a very high price for this domain. The next alternative is that the owner of the shoe store opens a website with slight changes in the name or a totally new name and sets up an online shoe store for the customers. This alternative has a danger as the a change in the name of the website from the original shoe store will wipe away the brand value for the original store and it will be difficult for the customers to associate and trust the website on similar lines with the shoe store.

Thus it becomes very important for the entrepreneur to have foresightedness while deciding the name of the business.  The name selected by the entrepreneur should be simple, positive and easy to remember. He or she should verify that after coming up with a name for the business if the same domain name is available for the business.

Invention is the necessary aspect of any business. The use of same monotonous names will drive the customers away from getting connected with the business online. If there is an invention of a new word from the old conventional names then the users reward it and get easily familiar with the names. The real life example for this is Google which is a new word derived from Googol indicating digit 1 followed by 100 zeros and today googling something is a common phrase used to indicate searching for some information using google search engine on the internet.

One has to be very creative while finding or creating a new domain name for the business. Few important reasons are one word domains are either extremely expensive or they are sold already. If you are looking for using a common, which has ending such as:

  • Group
  • Inc
  • Agency
  • Systems
  • Global
  • Solutions

If you are lucky and by chance these ending are available but then competitor would have use the same strategy. So, as said earlier it better to be creative and create a unique name.

It is also a smart move for the owner to use his or her creativity to the best potential and come up with a name which doesn’t have an ambiguity about his or her business. The domain name should be reflective of the core business activity of the website. If the business name is fancy, creative, short and positive but it misleads the customer regarding the function or the purpose of that website then it becomes very difficult for such a business to sustain in the long run. To elaborate on this point consider a situation where the customer is looking for websites which sells smart phones and you have a very good looking and a properly functional and a secured online store for selling smart phones called ‘bingo.com’ the user will make use of some popular search engines and search for the site by making use of keywords like ‘smart phones for sale’ and he or she comes across multiple other options like ‘smartphoneparadise.com’ ‘smartphoneshop.com’ along with ‘bingo.com’ at the bottom of the list in the search results. Hence there are chances that the users will connect more quickly to other sites which have something related to the smart phones in their domain name as they seem to be more relevant as compared to ‘bingo.com’ since it doesn’t convey to the customers that bingo is also an ecommerce site for the sale of smart phones.

Hence it is always recommended to include industry specific modifiers like Media, Medical, Tech, and Capital which will throw some hints to the person visiting the website about the industry or the core function of that website.

One of the other best ways to find domain name is to combine words, which are optimistic in nature with the simple words. The process is as follows. Create a list of simple words that best describes your business then add optimistic or evergreen words that will make your domain name completely different from others. This kind of name will not only open new possibilities but also allow us to track companies’ performance online because you have unique name. You can also use different phrase to find unique domain name, phrases which are different or memorable and get overlooked. For e.g. online jewellery firm names “SeaOfDiamonds.com”, here ocean is used as a metaphor and we have created 13 letter unique domain names that can quite easily remembered. This style of creating or finding new domain name is very easy and does not require lot of thinking and if one gets it right then it is equivalent to winning a lottery.

A phrase in a domain name expresses the feeling of the customers which will be either the thought behind the business idea or will be the expressions from the customers after using the services of the website. For example ‘Iloveburgers.com’ will express the customers that the website is related to the sale of burgers and the users will find all variety of options and information about the burgers on this website.

One can also create domain names by combining them with some popular ever green words like star, mark, point, first. Words like star, first also help in demonstrating the company’s success or superiority to the users as they have a very positive feeling associated with them. The use of these ever green words in a unique combination of a domain name will prevent the search engine from showing a large number of search results with similar keywords.

Another alternative would be domain extension. A dot com domain is for business sites, dot org for charities non-profits and dot net for technology specific sites but as we know that dot com domain is too crowded to handle all the business operations then one has to add extra domain that has not been taken till now. For e.g. domain may be based on new business or city that has not been taken in the past. As of now only dozen or so domain extension are available for registration but a change is coming and 1900 new domains will roll out this year and also in 2014. Therefore we expect extension like dot shop, dot store, dot NYC, etc will be available for registration. So if the name you are not available on dot com then you go for dot store. There is also expansion of ccTLDs i.e. country code top level domains, now companies will have an alternative to use country specific extension like “dot eu” or “dot co dot uk” and companies can target the location where they want to do the business. Now these lines are disappearing and this specific extension can be used for all interests.

Another option is to find or create names that have some kind of emotional or feeling attached to it and you can build a brand on this feeling. Take care that all the wrong spelling should direct it to the main domain only and it can be spelled in only one way.

The last option would be to hire a consultant who has considerable experience in finding or creating new domain names. These consultants can find or create new domain name, which may costs less or more than cost of purchasing a new domain name. Although not everyone can afford these consultants but to save time one can do it.

Once your domains is finalised do a legal search on the name and see that you can trademark it. Also, Google search on the domain name so as to make sure that no other business operates with the same domain name. This should provide enough information that someone is using similar or something similar domain name. Businesses should be careful in not violating the trademarks of other companies. The Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) protects the trademarks of the businesses and it provides for damages ranging from 1000 USD to 100000 USD if another company tries to register a domain with an intention to earn profit from a brand’s goodwill.Hence it becomes very important for a business to conduct a search on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s website which can alert the users towards federally protected trademarks.