Did you know there are 359.8 million registered domain names? This data dates back to the third quarter of 2019. It also marks a 1.4% increase in registrations from 2019’s second quarter with more than 5.1 million domain name registrations.
As savvy entrepreneurs prepare to name their small business and trademark this name, they are also paying close attention to their startup’s domain name. It needs to be available, use a dot-com URL, and, ideally, the domain name should perfectly match with the name of the business.
How do you choose the perfect domain name?
- Consider Your Business Model
- Make It Keyword-Rich
- Short, Memorable, Easy to Pronounce
- Conduct a Name Search
- Obtain a Domain Name Extension
- Snap Up Matching Social Media Handles
Here are a few areas to take in consideration when picking out this name. Then, once you know the name you want to use, we’ll take a look at what to know about obtaining a domain name for your small business.
Consider Your Business Model
Let’s say your company has a business model that heavily relies on the internet. It might be a videoconferencing platform like Zoom or a streaming service like Netflix or Spotify. The name of the business should be an exact match for its domain name. This is critical because customers will likely default the name of the business to its URL.
An exact domain name match ensures that they go directly to your website, not someone else’s. It also ensures that you are able to increase both the traffic to your website and overall search engine ranking.
Make It Keyword-Rich
What if your business model does not rely on the internet as much as these platforms? It may not necessarily need an exact-match domain. However, this is a great opportunity to use relevant keywords and your geographic location in a domain name URL.
Consider using two or three words in your domain name that are optimized for SEO purposes. Some of these words may be related to the work your business does and its location. If you own a bicycle shop in Portland, you may integrate keywords like “bike” and “Portland,” in your business name and in the domain name. The use of these keywords does more than tell customers about your offerings. A keyword-rich domain name improves search results, helping customers find your website when they type the words “bike” and “Portland” into a search engine like Google.
Short, Memorable, Easy to Pronounce
There are a few rules that apply to all small businesses that are naming their business and choosing a domain name. Collectively, these names need to be short, memorable, and easy to pronounce.
- Short: A short domain name is easy to spell out and type into a browser. It should be free of hyphens, numbers, and other special symbols that are likely to confuse customers.
- Memorable: Pick a domain name that is unique and easy to remember. If your customers can’t remember the name of your business, they will be equally as confused when trying to find its URL.
- Easy to Pronounce: Business names appear everywhere, from in-store signage to logos and across social media platforms. Say the name of the business (and its domain name) aloud. Then, ask a friend or family member to say it out loud. How does the name sound? Is it easy to pronounce? Does it sound meaningful? Do you understand what the business does and offers? Hopefully, the answer is yes to all of the above questions!
Conduct a Name Search
Before you can register your domain name — and trademark the name of your business — it’s critical that you first conduct a name search.
What is a name search? This is a comprehensive search that ensures your trademark is available for use. Even if you think your trademark is incredibly unique, there is a possibility that it may be pending registration by another party. Or, it may already be registered by someone else. You may be infringing on the mark and not realize it!
A business name search ensures that that your desired business name is available for registration. Once you find it is available, you may file a trademark application to register it.
Did you know it’s also possible to conduct a domain name search? Utilize the free domain name search tool available with FreeLogoServices. Within minutes, you’ll be able to quickly check and see if your domain name is available. If it is, it will be time to register the domain name.
Obtain a Domain Name Extension
As we mentioned earlier, many companies have business names that are an exact match with their domain name. These same businesses will also primarily choose dot-com URL extensions.
However, not all businesses follow these guidelines. Zoom, for example, uses a dot-us extension.
What are the options for small businesses and which extensions are your best bet? Small businesses can pick from the following extensions:
- Dot-com (.com)
- Dot-org (.org)
- Dot-edu (.edu)
- Dot-us (.us)
- Dot-co (.co)
Ultimately, the extension a small business chooses will depend on its industry. For example, if your business is a nonprofit then you’ll be more likely to pick a dot-org extension to accompany the nonprofit and its mission. Aim for obtaining a dot-com extension when possible. If you are unable to get this extension, a trendy dot-co or dot-us may be your second-best bet.
Snap Up Matching Social Media Handles
You’ve carefully considered every aspect of the business name, and domain name, and conducted a name search for availability. Your URL extension is ready to go. All that’s left is getting your social media handles!
Social media handles for sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram should match your business and domain names as much as possible. However, sometimes this consistency is not always possible. If you find you are in a situation where you are unable to obtain matching social media handles, adjust the spelling of the handles slightly. Use the word “the” before your name to distinguish it from other accounts. Or, you may use an underscore before or after the name to keep a low character count. Subtle variations like these are perfectly fine for social media accounts. Just be sure to update your website and anywhere else you may link to your social media presence accordingly so customers know where to find and follow you.
Remember to purchase the proper domain name (your name search should allow you to determine whether or not this is also available) that matches your trademark. You will also need to reserve the proper social media handles for your business. If some of these are not available under your new trademark, it’s okay to make a few subtle variations, such as using the word “the” or an underscore, for the brand’s social media accounts.
Need additional help with your trademark or small business? Our team of professionals are ready to help! Reach out to MyCorporation with any questions or call us at 1-877-692-6772.