Have you been putting off setting up a web site because you think all of the good dot-coms have been taken? Wrong! There are many great domain names available. Here is how to find the one that is right for your business.
Actually, you should register more than one domain name. That does not mean that you must have multiple web sites. You can have all of the domain names point at your main site, or you may have different URLs point to different sections of your web site. It is easy to do with domain forwarding (available though any of the domain registrars).
Your business name may make a good URL. After all, many customers will simply enter your company name in their web browsers (perhaps followed by dot-com) when they are looking for you online. Which brings us to the next point:
Get a dot-com. Not dot-net or any of the other top-level domain names. People still think dot-com when they think of web sites. Anything else is likely to confuse them.
If your business name is difficult to spell, consider registering common misspellings, so that customers can find you even when they make mistakes.
Also register variations of your primary domain name. When I registered IdeaLady.com, I did not check to see if TheIdeaLady.com was also available. When I thought of it a couple of years later, it was taken. The good news? I was able to buy the domain recently. Once the transfer is complete, anyone who enters TheIdeaLady.com will be taken to IdeaLady.com. The bad news? Buying the domain name from a squatter cost several hundred dollars.
Register your own name. Owning your name on the web is important. If you have a common name and discover that someone else has already claimed the dot-com, consider registering your name with a title or middle initial.
Go beyond your company name. You can improve your standing in the search engines with a keyword-rich URL. What words will customers use to search for companies such as yours? For example, http://www.MicrowaveGlassTray.com/ takes you to the site of Martin Microwave, where they sell replacement parts for microwave ovens. I found it when I was looking for–-surprise!–-a replacement glass tray for my microwave.
You can register domain names at any one of thousands of registrars, including http://www.GreatDomainsHQ.com/. When you check a name and it is available, register it now. Do not wait. It may be gone a week, a day or an hour from now. Domain names are cheap. It is better to register a few names you end up not using than to miss out on one you really want.
Register your primary domain name for multiple years. And sign up for automatic renewals so you do not lose it. If you fail to renew your domain name, someone else can grab it and put up a competing site or worse.
Your URL is part of your identity. Choose a name that will make you easy to find online.