Domain Name Registration: Starting a Business
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March 09, 2009
So you are starting a business and are considering your domain name registration to go along with your business. First, congrats on thinking of a domain name as it is vital to any business! Secondly, this is were many companies start to fail online because of the domain name registration that is picked.
First, you must understand the internet and how it works. The easiest way for me to describe it and how people use the internet is: Keywords! People use the internet and "search" based on Keywords.
Search engines like Google.com and Yahoo.com return search results based on Keywords.
So the first thing that you need to consider in your domain name are keyword(s). Your keyword(s) should pertain to the industry, product or service that you offer.
The largest mistake that I see companies do when they venture online is either register or purchase (in the domain aftermarket) the domain name that "matches" the business name they picked. This business name most of the time really does not "tell by looking at it" what industry, products or services the biz offers.
An example: AZCleaningLLC.com is often a domain name a company could, does and may choose while "going online" with there business. Why is this not a "good" domain name to use? Keywords! How many people do you think will search for that?
Cleaning is the Only good keyword in that domain, the rest are Junk for now. I say for now, because after a company is known, people will search for it online or visit the domain directly.
So you are doing one thing right by owning the domain name that matches your company name, your just way ahead of the game to protecting your brand.
The simple fact is, you need to own More Then One domain name for your online business! Really, you may only need one domain if you picked a business name from the start with specific keywords, but most do not do that.
Even the businesses that have picked and launched a site using there "business name" as there domain, it’s not too late. You can start another site, blog or simply do a domain change as well etc. and be sure to include links back to your business name site. You can also "start over" with the new domain and or use domain forwarding.
Now that you know Keywords are vital to your domain name, how do you know what keywords to use? Single word keywords like Cleaning.com do not fit into every cleaning companies budget, but the fact is, you may be able to purchase it. Using the Whois database of domain name owners, you can contact the owner of nearly every domain and place an offer or see if the domain name may be for sale. http://Whois.sc is what I use. (btw, Cleaning.com just recently sold for $100,000 USD in late 2008)
Taking one step back, research will tell you what keyword(s) would work best to use. Certain keywords may "seem" good, but if people are not "searching" for it, it is not always the best choice. Shorter is better, but not always the best. You want to use keywords that people Search For and A Lot and the domain should Make Sense.
Keeping in mind that the internet is a Global Tool, you can use keyword tools like Wordtracker and Google’s AdWords Keyword Tool to help you gauge on what keyword(s) will best suit your domain name based on Search Volume.
The better you match your domain name EXACTLY (no add on words like The, Go, New etc.) to the highest amount searched term, the better. Keep in mind that .com is king, and always the best option to choose. Do Not use trademarked terms in your domain name unless you are the trademark holder. Using terms like Nike, Coke, Volvo, Disney etc will lead you into legal trouble and your hard work in building your site will be wasted. Use the free Trademark Search if you are unsure about a term.
Using a strong keyword term that people already search for will help your site rank well (with some SEO) in search engines. Being ranked well, will help keep advertising budgets lower and produce a lot of traffic to your site. Traffic =’s Sales!
Once you have settled on your domain name, you have to see if somebody may own it already. It is very likely that somebody will. Don’t get made because somebody may own it already, be smart and become the owner. It’s just like the prime real estate location on a busy street in your town. Somebody owns that as well.
Use the Whois tool I mentioned above and contact the owner! Find the best domain name that best fits your budget. Don’t have a budget for a domain? Rework it so you do. You may have an advertising budget in place.. consider using some of that because owning the right domain name can bring in people to your site the Very First day you open shop!
If you are unsure what to offer, do not send your offer yet because you can upset the owner by sending what they may consider a "low-ball" offer. Use tools like NameBio.com and see what similar keyword domain names have sold for in the past. Use the adwords tool mentioned above and see what it would cost you Per Month to advertise for that exact term every month. You can also go by your gut and offer what you feel is a fair price for the domain, but having fact and info behind your offering price never hurts. Keep in mind, not everything is for sale, so you may run into an owner who simply doesn’t want to sell. Domain names are one of a kind, so the owner know’s they will likely never be able to own that domain name again!
You can also use specific Descriptive domain names (considered Call-To-Action) for specific advertising. Using Domain Name Forwarding which is offered by mainly all domain name registrars can send that traffic directly to any website or page on a website you wish. Call-To-Action domain names also work great on business cards and letter heads and can help gauge traffic and how effective those pieces are working.
An example of a couple call-to-action domain names are: HateYourCar.com or RefuelMe.com etc.
As always, if you have any questions about anything mentioned above, please feel free to use the Contact tab here on DotWeekly.com .