Have a great idea for an online business? Have an offline business you want to establish online as well? There are some common mistakes you should know about first.
Businesses generally have few truly defining factors that separate them. One of those factors is the domain/business name they use. Potential clients and customers see the business name before anything else. Positive reaction to your domain can help steer them your way. A quality name can thus greatly contribute to your online success.
Already have the domain name for your online business? This list of mistakes may include issues you encountered when buying your domain. It’s never too late to restart with a more solid brand. You can even use the opportunity to create some additional buzz!
Here are the 14 mistakes you should avoid when buying your domains:
1. Taking the domain/business name decision lightly
Don’t just buy the first domain that looks good. Many people do this only to seriously regret it later. Make sure you treat the domain/business name as a serious decision.
2. Thinking small instead of big
Starting out small doesn’t mean you will remain small. Cornering yourself into a niche or locale can limit your potential. Thinking big from the start can expand your world of opportunity.
3. Thinking “good enough” instead of best
You have the potential to lead your industry with your domain. A one-time cost provides ongoing marketing benefit for your business.
4. Not pursuing your ideal name if it is taken
Did you come up with an idea for a domain name only to find out someone registered it before you? Even if the domain is in use, the owner may still be interested in selling it for an affordable amount. You can try to initiate contact with the owner yourself or use a service like ours to help you acquire it.
5. Not considering alternative options if your ideal name is taken
Don’t get discouraged if your ideal domain is unattainable. There are plenty of fish in the sea to choose from. You may be surprised at other domains out there for you. You might find a better domain than your original choice!
6. Not researching potential trademark conflicts before buying the domain
Getting a domain name conflicting with a trademark can cause major issues. The domain can be taken away through a legal process called UDRP. Additionally, you can also be sued and face massive damages! To check for trademarks in the US, visit the USPTO TESS trademark search.
7. Buying something other than a .com for your primary business domain
In most cases, this will cheapen your brand and make it second-rate. One exception is .org, which non-profit organizations should use. Also, if your company only does business within one country, it can make sense for you to get a domain in the ccTLD for your country. Examples are .co.uk, .de and .ca. Additionally, certain trends may sometimes indicate viable options in particular areas. Short .ly domains for instance have been trendy recently for social media usage. Exceptions aside, a tiny percentage succeed in non-.com extensions vs. those that fail.
8. Getting a domain that doesn’t match your business name, industry, product or service
There is an underlying mistake that can cause this mistake to happen: Naming your company before you check the domain for it. It is best to get the domain name BEFORE naming your business to avoid this. You business name and domain not matching up can cause confusion for visitors.
9. Targeting weak keywords for SEO due to lack of keyword research
It can be nice to make it to #1 in the search engines. If it’s for a term no one looks up however, it’s worthless! Perform keyword research to find valuable terms before planning your SEO.
10. Using a domain/business name that would not be well-received by your market
This can be especially bad if your competition are long-established brands. An example of this was the startup search engine Cuil. Self-described as the “Google killer”, they never gained traction with users. Their awkward-sounding name clearly seemed subpar to Google and Yahoo. To avoid this, get solid unbiased opinions of the name before using it.
11. Using a domain/business name that is difficult to spell, type, or say aloud
Doing this can really hamper your ability to get word-of-mouth. A “difficult” name makes it hard to tell a friend about the site. A hard-to-spell domain allows traffic to be lost to typos and misspellings. Make sure to secure common typos and misspellings of any such difficult name. For example, before settling on Domainate.com for our company name, we made sure to secure both Domain8.com and DomainEight.com as well.
12. Not checking alternate/foreign meanings of your newfound domain/business name
Your brand name should convey a certain image of your business. Sometimes, alternate or foreign meanings of your name can conflict with that image. An innocent-looking made-up brand may mean “idiot” in another language. Knowing that may definitely change your opinion of it as a brand!
13. Not getting catchy/memorable domains to use for special promotions
The mindset behind domains for promotions is different than for business names. The domains should be common or catchy phrases that stick in people’s minds. Getting something boring and/or without meaning can hurt a promotion. Getting unbiased opinions of the domain first can help you avoid this mistake.
14. Not getting a domain name or establishing an online presence at all
The internet has created massive successes for many offline businesses. Having a website on a quality domain showcases your business to the world. The biggest mistake you can make is ignoring the internet in today’s business realm.
Avoiding these mistakes is the key to getting a strong business name. You’ll seem more professional, elite and exciting to your potential clientele. It is worth the time, effort and money to make the right domain decisions. It improves the life of your business and you would never regret it.