Getting a domain name can be overwhelming if you are not conversant on how it is done. With a lot of hosting companies trying to sell their services, it is easy to get confused and make mistakes that can disrupt your business. The following do’s and don’ts will help in securing your company’s domain name.
Including Locations or Keywords
For businesses that are geographical in nature, putting your geographical region in the domain name helps in driving the right traffic to your website. But this should only be done if your business is only meant for that location. There has to be an evaluation of the tradeoffs between geo-targeting and branding. While geo-targeting exploits a location for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) purposes, a domain name that uses keywords expresses a strong brand that has much greater market value.
When a painter based in Hoboken, New Jersey needed a website for his business, a search optimization specialist suggested that he used “Hoboken” and “painter” in the domain name. Any web search for a painter within that geographic region will always put his website at the top of the search. Whatever it is your company does, inserting the most important keywords of your industry is advisable. But trying the best of both can have while having the desired effect can lead to a very long domain name which might seem undesirable.
Register as the Administrator of the Domain Name
One mistake business owners make is failing to ensure that their domain names are registered in their name. It is of utmost importance that you as the business owner are the registered owner and administrative contact for that domain name. If you do not own it, you cannot always have access to it and this can lead to a lot of issues.
The most common is when a dismissed or disgruntled employee has registered the domain in their name. It becomes difficult to gain access to the domain if the employee is no longer with the organization and in some circumstances, it could be sold to a rival company just to spite the previous employer. Recovering from this situation can be really tricky as various proofs might be required in order to regain access to that domain name or you might end up spending a lot to buy it back.
Renewal of your Domain Name
Most websites are built and updated overtime and this takes a lot of hard work. While the website might not disappear overnight, it could get cancelled after a while when it’s not renewed. Although you might be contacted when it’s almost up for renewal, it is safer to look into it and take action yourself.
If your registrar does not get a reply from you before the renewal deadline, they can send a delete order to the domain name merchant to avoid been billed for that name. The domain name then will go back into the public domain system. Losing your domain name will mean losing contact with clients, which will ultimately lead to a loss in revenue. A solution to this situation is to buy the name for a longer period of time, like 10 years.
Do not use Abbreviations, Dashes or Numbers
It’s better to come up with a catchy name that is quite memorable than using dashes, abbreviations, or numbers in a domain name. Names with abbreviations or numbers look unprofessional and are hard to remember. If having a long domain name might be hard to remember, using an abbreviation only makes it worse, rather look for a different name that suites your company brand.
Using dashes to differentiate your domain name from an already existing domain name is risky as visitors might not remember to put it the dash, which could lead to lesser traffic.
Purchasing Extensions other than .com
When registering a .com domain name, registrars can sometimes offer other extensions such as .net, .info, .co and so on at a cheaper price or a different economical package altogether. For startups and small businesses, purchasing these extra extensions is not necessary as the real value is in the .com extension.
For larger businesses, or in the case of registering a trademark or patent, buying other extensions of your domain name becomes important as competitors and investors might be looking to acquire them and sell them off at an inflated price or just keep them altogether.
Proper Research before Buying a Domain
“Buying domain names that are closely related to trademark products or companies can introduce legal troubles,” says Brendan Wilde, marketing manager at Umbrellar Offsite Backup. “You could get a lawsuit for using a domain that might infringe on the trademarks of another product or company. After which you might be forced to close down the site and register a new one thereby losing traffic and starting all over again.”
Consulting a lawyer can help in investigating the possibilities of obtaining that domain. There are also online sites that provide a list of registered domains and possible legal actions that can arise from their purchase. They can also inform you about expired domains and the issues that are associated with that domain name. For example if the domain name you just purchased has violated some Google terms and has been banned by Google, the domain name might not be useful. Having prior knowledge of the Google ban would have stopped you from buying it.
When performing the research, you have to consider if the domain is for sale, how much they are going for, if it’s being used actively and how much similar domains have been sold for recently. This can be achieved by checking popular domain marketplaces, inputting the domain name in a web browser to view the landing page. If it is empty then it’s not in use, seeing a company website or blog means it is in use. Once you have been able to locate the domain owner, you should employ a third party negotiator to help with the purchase.