Domain Names — Do’s and Don’t When Choosing a Domain Name

If you’re starting a new online business and considering a domain name then read on for what to do and what not to do.

When starting out, you’re probably considering your branding. This is the time you should also be looking at available domains. Domain name searching is a balance between brand and domain availability. You may have a brand name all sorted out and then find the domain name is already taken. So its certainly worth looking into the domain when you are deciding on your brand/business name.

Avoid trademark infringements — The first place to go for possible conflicts is the trademark database of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office at www.uspto.gov. Google the name and see if there are any obvious conflicts. Use the Thomas Register Online at www.thomasregister.com to again look for similar names.

Ask yourself these simple questions when comparing your domain name with other similar ones:

  1. Will your business offer goods or services that compete with the goods or services being sold under the similar domain name?

2. Will your website offer goods or services that typically are distributed in the same channels as the goods or services being sold under the similar domain name? This would be the case, for instance, if you plan to offer fishing equipment on your website, and the owner of the possibly conflicting name sells fishing gear.

3. Could your website divert business away from the other site with the similar name? Is your domain name so similar to the other domain name that users might end up on your website by mistake?

4. Is the other name well known?

If the above is NO then you should be ok — There are other considerations to look at so have a read here if you want to know more.

So, how do you find good domain names?— go to domain sites like Namecheap, Domain.com, GoDaddy and use their free search tool to see what's available.

If you need some help then Brand Bucket is another good option as they have creative brand names, domains and great logos listed as a package for you to choose from.

You may need to get creative with your brand name to make it work with an available domain name.

When searching, if you find it then consider also buying the country specific domain extensions like .UK for the United Kingdom or .AU for Australia in case you want to expand your offering into those countries in the future. Also consider buying extensions like .NET and .INFO now to protect your domain and brand — its cheap and a good way to secure your IP and then redirect these to your .COM site once live. This way, someone else can’t come and buy these domains because you own them.

Can you buy an existing domain name? Yes, and many people do.

Doing this maybe expensive as they can sell for thousands.

They can have some great link juice benefits as long as the website before was very relevant to your business, e.g. a health supplement business will have a relevant backlink profile to other health related sites because the websites already linking to that domain will be health related so Google will see that.

You can use that domain name itself or redirect it to the domain name of your choice.

Sites like Domain Coasters and Serp Domains sell these types of domains — you can find what you want or contact them and ask them to look for something for you.

To conclude; domain names are important for your business and brand. It can be hard to find a domain which matches your brand so we recommend creating the two at the same time to avoid disappointment and extra costs down the track if your domain isn’t available. Do the ground work and you should be set to go!

If you found the above information useful, then visit our free resource website at www.emilyandblair.com (launching July 2021) for a vast library of likeminded guides, checklists and content devoted to online businesses.