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Three essential tips for choosing a domain name for your business.

Today, more and more people are moving towards entrepreneurship. We all start small by setting up a small business, operating from a backroom or garage in our home. Since small business entrepreneurs are always short of funds, they need to find ways and means to promote and market their products and services with minimal spending. And hence small business owners are more focused towards utilizing and capitalizing the internet for their business launch and eventual success.

Unlike many businesses of the past, today's small businesses are often virtually run on the internet. The success of your small business will depend a lot on you being able to establish a presence for it on the Internet and being able to attract a decent traffic of potential customers.

As a first step you need to setup your website and for that the first thing you need to decide upon is a name for your website, viz. a Domain Name.

You may ask – what's in a name after all? You domain name is a very important parameter that you need to pay careful attention to. It is as important as is your business name and carries with it your business identity and a first impression about your company. Hence due care should be taken in selecting the right Domain Name for your business website.



Here are 3 essential tips for domain name selection...

1. Relevancy of Name

Relevancy of your domain name has a lot to do with the kind of business you are in and the kind of products and services you deal in. If possible, try to use a name that closely relates to your type of products or services and is brand-able. Get creative and think of a name that is meaningful, makes sense for your type of business and at the same time is fairly unique. Avoid picking a vague name or a name that may mislead customers or misrepresent your business.

To appreciate this, let us take some examples of companies and their chosen domain names.

Look at examples of Google, Yahoo, Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Flipkart, etc. They are essentially brand-able unique names. Names like Google, Yahoo, Amazon and eBay do not truly reflect what they do, yet they are established well known brands. Such types of names are good for companies who are starting big and willing to spend enough money to establish their brands. Names like Facebook and Flipkart do generically represent the nature of the business to some extent and they are short and crisp.

Look at another set of examples of car companies such as Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, etc. They do not use a domain name such as cars.com. Instead they are using domain names such as toyota.com, honda.com, hyundai.com respectively, that represent their company name or brand and not the generic name for their product. On the other hand, someone whose business is to compare or review cars may choose generic names such as cars.com, carcompare.com, carreview.com, etc. Yet another person who is in the business of selling second hand cars may use names such as secondhandcars.com, usedcars.com, etc. If you sell only electric cars, you may use a domain name such as electriccars.com.

Yet another approach would be to derive a short name that closely resembles your already registered company name. For instance, Vasuki Engineering Pvt. Ltd. may choose a domain name such as vasukiengg.com or vasukiengg.in.

If you have not yet finalized your company name, it would be advisable to research out domain name availability first and see if you can find a name which most closely resembles your type of business. You should then name your company to match exactly with the domain name.

Avoid Copyright issues. Do not try to use a name that closely resembles an already established brand. The last thing you would like to get into is a legal hassle with a big fish.


2. User Convenience

A domain name can be of any length up to 67 characters. The allowed characters are - alphabets, numbers and hyphens (-). As a thumb rule you should try to arrive at a name that is short, easy to spell and easy to remember. Using very long names for your domain is not a good idea.

Since, most of the good names are already taken, you may need to spend some time and apply your creativity to arrive at a simple yet unique name that is available. Take the help of a Thesaurus to look for alternative words if the name you want is already taken. A thesaurus can be of great help in arriving at a short creative name. However, make sure your alternative name is easy to remember and can be spelled properly. You can also take the help of our online domain name suggestion tool.

Make sure not to shorten the name to such an extent that it becomes vague. For example, if usedcars.com and buyusedcars.com are already taken, buycheapusedcars.com (though longer) would be a better choice than bcuc.com. As another example, if Ramesh is selling books and stationary, opting for a name such as rameshbooksandstationary.com may be better than rbas.com.

If possible, avoid using hyphens in your domain name. But sometimes when you do not really have a choice, you may go for it. For instance, if businessindia.in is not available, opting for business-india.in is not a bad idea. You should definitely avoid more than one hyphen in the name.

Yet another aspect you need to consider is whether you should use singular or plural names. As far as possible, try using singular names. However, sometimes, it may make more sense to use plural names such as usedcars.com or electriccars.com.

Definitely avoid using slang in domain names. For instance, substituting ursite.com for yoursite.com is a very bad idea.


3. Choice of Extension

There are hundreds of different types of domain extensions available in the market today. These include .com, .org, .net, .biz, .info, .in, .us, .uk, .co.in, .co.uk, .asia, .eu, .ws, .bz, .co, .me, and so on. The list is long. Click here to see a complete list along with associated price.

So which extension(s) you should go for?

The answer is simple. Naturally, it is foolish to go about grabbing all extensions. However, to preserve your brand you must pick up the same name from at least three most common/popular extensions, viz.

  1. .com: The .com TLD (top-level domain) is by far the most widely accepted extension for a domain name. People generally tend to assume an extension of .com when you communicate your domain name to them on phone.
  2. .net: For the sake of preserving your brand, it is advisable to also pick up the .net extension for exactly the same name.
  3. Country Specific: Depending upon the country or market in which you largely operate, you must pick up at least one zone specific TLD. For instance, if you are an Indian company, you should consider grabbing the .in extension as well. If you are a US based company, you should consider a .us domain extension as well. If you are operating from UK and targeting the entire European market, you should consider grabbing .uk and .eu extensions, and so on.

So, in short, you must finalize a domain name where the exact same name is available in all of the above three types of TLDs.

Now-a-days, a new set of function specific domain name extensions have been released in the market. These include - .bike, .cab, .plumbing, .guru, .clothing, .camera, .estate, .academy, .kitchen, .shoes, .training, .solutions, and so on. It may not be a bad idea to pick up one such extension as well.


Useful Tools & Links

  1. Domain Name Suggestion Tool
  2. Whois Lookup
  3. Register your Domain Name
  4. Register Internationalized Domain Name
  5. Premium Domain Names available for sale


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About the Author

Rajeev Kumar
CEO, Computer Solutions
Jamshedpur, India

Rajeev Kumar is the primary author of How2Lab. He is a B.Tech. from IIT Kanpur with several years of experience in IT education and Software development. He has taught a wide spectrum of people including fresh young talents, students of XLRI, industry professionals, and govt. officials.

Rajeev has founded Computer Solutions & WebServicesWorldwide.com, and has hands-on experience of building variety of web applications and portals, that include - SAAS based ERP & e-commerce systems, independent B2B, B2C, Matrimonial & Job portals, and many more.



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