With seemingly all the good names gone, just how are the next generation of internet entrepreneurs expected to build online brands? This is a question we get asked a lot, so in this mini-series we'll share some of our top tips for getting a great domain name. In this post we talk about using your current brand or company name.
The first thing to say really is that as important as domain names are (and they can be hugely important under the right circumstances) they are not the be all and end all of creating a great web presence. With that said we still secretly want a punchy web name, don't we!
The challenge starts as it’s no longer 1995. Back then most great domains were still available. Some very wise (or perhaps just lucky) people made huge amounts of money by just registering a good one-word name (we all remember the $7m for www.business.com). Fast forward to 2014 and most of the great names on the most popular extensions such as .com or .co.uk are taken. Want a one-word .com? They’re gone. Want a short acronym? They’re all gone as well. It can seem like there are no great names left. But there are, they are just a little bit more difficult to find.
Start with the Brand You Already Have
By far the best place to being is if you already have a company and a brand in place. Head over to a registrar and check the status of your brand. As a starting point this is the most likely way to find a name that suits. Now, even here you will possibly find that your brand name is already taken and depending on the jurisdiction you are operating out of, you may be able to force a transfer (more on that later in the series).
Add key words to your company name
If you are less precious about having the one or two words of your brand, then another attractive option is to add other keywords to your company name. For example, Joe Bloggs the plumber with the company name JB Plumbing Limited might well find that although plumbing.com is taken, jbplumbingservices.com is available. This addition of relevant keywords can in itself be more attractive if the company name is not that descriptive. Relevant keywords are not only useful for your customers but generally favour your ranking in search engines.
Start by looking at the websites of some of your competitors. What keywords are they using in their URL or even just on their pages? Make a shortlist of the best ones and then get back searching at a registrar. A little bit playing around and you can often find neat and attractive word combinations.
Add hyphens and Other Extentions
This is usually not considered as attractive but having said that many sites have made it work well for them. JB Plumbing might find that jb-plumbing.com is available and perfectly acceptable. The hyphen isn’t great but so what, it works just as well and unless you're planning on making the next internet phenomenon it probably won't be such a big deal. Don't be completely put off by hyphens.
Take a look at other extensions. Beyond .com and .co.uk as there are a plethora of alternatives now avaialble. Popular choices include .info and .biz. It's generally accepted these are less attractive so a new breed of extension are in the process of being released. For example .club, .london, .email. On the positive side these new extensions offer new opportunities for those who are shut out of the more common .com and .co.uk domains. However, it has to also be said that these new extensions are less recognisable. Over time though we expect this to improve, so why not get in early and secure your brand.
Hopefully this post has proved useful and got you thinking. In upcoming posts we'll share how to play it cool when negotiating a private sale and other ways you can get that dream domain name. We talk about name generators, using slogans, and after-market acquisition. Thanks for reading.