By Nancy King, GoDaddy
What came first — the doughnut or the bagel? Or, in the world of small business — the name of the company or the domain name? Not everyone has the luxury of deciding on both at the same time, but when you can, it can make a difference.
Imagine picking the name “Thirty Minutes of Yoga” for your new yoga studio, spending time and money to register your name with the state and on all the official stuff that goes along with starting a business, and then discovering that the name you want for your website address — like thirtyminutes.com — isn’t easily within reach. You were told to keep it short and sweet, but it’s already been taken or it’s a premium domain with a premium price tag. You find that even almost-perfect .com domains such as 30minutes.com aren’t available, either. What are you going to do when it comes time to build your web presence?
If your business name predates the need for a website, now is the time to get creative.
I’ve spent hours, and I mean HOURS, with people helping them find a domain name that not only accurately reflects who they are and what they do, but that will resonate with their online customers. A website address that’s short, memorable and representative. A few simple strategies can cut the amount of time it takes to find the right domain name.
We all know that the shorter and easier your domain name is to spell and remember, the more likely your customers will be to type it in time and time again, but sometimes you have to get creative.
Take a fresh approach.
Everyone wants a .com. But the fact that more than 112 million .coms have already been registered worldwide means that it’s not always easy to get a short and sweet website address ending in that popular top-level domain (TLD) extension. Fortunately, there are some exciting options for small business owners with a sense of naming adventure — a whole slew of new extensions called generic top-level domains (gTLDs).
So, thirtyminutes.com might not be available, but thirtyminutes.yoga is. Maybe your studio is in Greenwich; pick up thirtyminutes.london. Doing a downward facing dog in the East Village? Register thirtyminutes.nyc. With a bit of creativity, you can register a domain name that captures the essence of your business, and even snag secondary names that cover its different aspects and help to protect your brand; simply direct those subdomains to your main site.
And don’t be afraid to also go for thirtyminutesofyoga.com as a backup! It might be a tad long, but you know there will be customers that will be very specific and type in your business name exactly.
‘I’ before ‘e’ except after … what?!
Yes, not everyone knows how to spell. If you know that your domain name might be misspelt on a daily basis, buy it both ways. It won’t hurt you to have someone misspell your domain and still come to your site, but it WILL hurt you if they can’t find you if they can’t spell.
Consider a premium domain.
$35.6 million for Insurance.com. Was it worth it? Absolutely. You’re probably not in a position to throw down that kind of cash for a domain name, but even if you’re just starting out you might benefit from spending a little more on the perfect name. If the domain for your business is available for sale and you have brand recognition – you have to decide it it’s worth it. Say thirtyminutes.com is available for about $4,500. Worth it for brevity and brand recognition? Absolutely.
A decade seems to fly by in the blink of an eye. While you’re teaching the Utkata Konasana every day to build your business, you don’t want to have to worry about housekeeping chores like renewing your domain name. And you definitely don’t want to have to explain to your customers why your site was down when you didn’t renew while you were meditating. Plus, buying your domain for the full term saves you money. Prices go up over time, so it’s a smart idea to lock in the registration price when you purchase your domain.
Having the right domain name can make a world of difference for your business. With a little forward-thinking and creativity, you’re sure to snag a website address that will work for you 24/7 — as opposed to thirty-minutes-of-yoga-in-phoenix.com.
About the Author:
An advocate of small business owners, Nancy King works daily at GoDaddy on their behalf so they can succeed by educating others about their specific needs. In her dreams of the future, she is sipping a hot beverage by a rain-drenched window, writing full time in a cozy chair, and surrounded by adorable tiny dogs. She can be found on the usual social networking sites – although thinks Facebook takes up WAY too much time of her day.
GoDaddy is one of Greater Phoenix SCORE’s many strategic partners.