Domain names are vital to any website or online store. They can’t be just some random combination of letters entered into the address bar of web browsers. It’s imperative for anyone who wants to start a website to get properly acquainted with them, especially when it comes to choosing a domain name, buying one, and using one to protect your brand or business.
Choosing the Right Domain Name
You will be shelling out money for a domain name so better decide on it thoughtfully. Consider the following guides as you choose a domain name for your business.
- It preferably has to be your brand or business name. Your domain name will eventually be a representation of your business online. As such, it has to be brandable. It preferably has to be your brand or business name itself. This makes it easier for your customers to go to your site by simply entering your brand name with “.com” or another TLD appended to it. If they spell it wrongly, browsers nowadays automatically redirect to search engine results (with the misspelled URL as the keyword). Hence, there’s a high possibility that they will still find your site through the search engine results.
- It should be short. Avoid using domain names that are complex and long as they tend to be prone to misspelling and mistyping. Unless your business name is naturally long but already well known, it’s better to stick to shorter domain names.
- It should be easy to remember and type into the browser address bar. Domain names must have that fast recall factor. This means a domain name that does not make someone spend some time trying to memorize it or resort to mnemonics and other techniques just to keep the domain name in mind. A good benchmark for this is being easily pronounceable. It should be easy to say and spell out your domain name.
- Avoid using abbreviations or acronyms unless your business is more popularly known for its acronym. This is in connection to being easy to remember. Acronyms, unless popular, are difficult to recall.
- It should not contain hyphens/dashes and numbers. Hyphens and numbers make it likely for people to misspell your domain name. Also, it makes sense to avoid hyphens and numbers simply because the original domain you wanted to get has already been registered.
- It should contain keywords for your business. Having your business keyword on your domain name is good for search engine optimization. However, you should avoid exact-match domains or domains that contain the exact keywords you want to work on for your SEO. For example, if you are opening a store that sells “discount quality iPhones,” don’t choose a domain like “discountqualityiphones.com.” Yes, it’s easy to remember and spell out but Google already updated its search algorithm to discredit keyword domain sites. You may have a hard time doing SEO if you resort to such domain names.
- Give preference to .com domains. It is advisable to focus on .com and other conventional domain names for now. New TLDs such as .store, .restaurant, and .cafe are great but not many are aware of or accustomed to them.
Where to Get/Register Domains?
There’s a multitude of domain name registrars nowadays. You just have to do a quick Google search to find numerous options. These different registrars have different prices or domain name registration fees so you need to do comparisons.
Many web hosts in different parts of the world are also offering cheap domain names especially when you get domains in bulk or when you do long-term registrations. UK-based web hosting service provider LCN offers a discount of around 10% if you sign up for a two-year registration, around 20% for a five-year registration, and approximately 30% for a ten-year registration. Moreover, it offers more than 22% discount if you register more than 20 domains and more than 33% discount if you buy more than 100 domains.
Be careful when you encounter ads or marketing copies touting cheap domains, though. They might look cheap at first glance but there may be hidden charges or costs. For example, you may charged a hefty fee if you decide to transfer your domain name to another registrar. Also, there are many registrars who would entice you with super low initial fees but these are drastically raised in the succeeding years as obscurely indicated in the terms and conditions of a registrar. Moreover, if you want WHOIS privacy, a registrar can configure it for you for a fee. You might be charged dearly for this privacy protection.
Register Your Domain Name ASAP
If you are starting your business and you have already decided on a name, be sure to promptly register the corresponding domain name for it. This is to avoid anyone from registering it before you do. There are many opportunists who routinely check for startup business names and hoard domain names based on these new business names. By doing this, they can sell otherwise cheap domain names to businesses (who ethically have more right over such domain names) at higher prices.
Cybersquatting and Trademark Infringement
As mentioned, you need to register your domain name as soon as possible to prevent others from stealing it from you. It would be good if you have already trademarked your business or brand name because you can just file a Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy proceeding against the offending party. However, if you are a small business without the resources to trademark your name, making a claim might be difficult. Proving that you are the rightful owner of a domain name registered by somebody else may not be easy.
On the other hand, the cybersquatting and trademark infringement issue may also be raised against you. If you intentionally use a domain name that is similar to that of a more popular business or a competitor, somebody may charge you legally for it. Neither become a cybersquatter nor be the offender.