Four pitfalls to avoid if your ideal domain has been taken
So, you’ve finally found the ideal name for your business and you feel like a creative mastermind after months of waiting for that lightbulb moment. It’s a name which perfectly represents what your business offers, but a quick Google search confirms someone else has already purchased the domain. With 351.8 million domain names already registered, it can be difficult to get the one you want.
But what do you do? Do you abandon the brand name you had your heart set on, or do you try to modify it by adding extra dashes and words or by choosing a different domain extension? It’s tempting to do the latter, but not all of these solutions actually work. Here are four pitfalls to avoid when your domain name has been taken:
Don’t sacrifice brand by adding extra words to your name
Unless it makes complete sense for your business to do so, adding extra words can complicate things for customers. It has the potential for your business name to lose its meaning and lessen its impact. For instance, Apple is much easier to remember than Apple Computers, which is what the company originally started life as. The brand Apple now refers to a much wider range of products than computers.
By adding extra words to your name, you’ll likely have to contend with the owner of the existing business. For example, if you desired the name ‘masterflorist’ but it was already taken, you might opt for ‘themasterflorist’ as a similar variation. But by doing this you’ve automatically put yourself in competition with another business. This original company will likely be more visible than you online and customers will likely get confused between the two, not to mention potential trademarking issues.
However, if you are a local business targeting one area, you may benefit from adding your location to your name. This only works if you don’t plan to expand your business outside of its current trading area. Adding your location may help increase sales within your local community as those searching for a service in that specific area are more likely to see your website.
Don’t use an acronym for your domain
Deciding to use an acronym to shorten a business name can work, but it’s a huge risk for new startups. To succeed, your brand messaging needs to be excellent from the get-go. If your acronym is ambiguous, customers will not understand who you are and what you have to offer.
It takes time for a business to reach a point where an acronym is effective, in terms of its global reach and marketing budget. For example, makeup brand MAC, which stands for Make-up Art Cosmetics, works efficiently as an acronym because the brand is well-established and most people immediately know what the company does when its mentioned. However, this can take years of marketing and branding work, making it difficult for any new business to execute this efficiently.
Avoid generic name generators
Sometimes coming up with a new name entirely is the best course of action, but Eureka moments don’t come along often. If you’re going to rethink your brand name, avoid using a generic business name generator. Although these can sometimes work, generators often string together a series of words that don’t make sense, giving you a name that might not fit your brand. To combat this, our business name generator uses your own parameters to find a list of names that are closely linked to your business and industry. Each name has been carefully curated with appropriate branding. The most important thing is that each name is available to buy immediately with a matching .com domain.
Don’t choose irrelevant extensions
If the .com version of your brand name is taken, it’s likely that the owner has also secured the relevant localised extensions, such as .co.uk in the UK. In these scenarios, it can be tempting to explore other options – there are more than 250 different extensions to choose from, so at least one of these is likely to be available for your brand name. Some domain extensions are tailored to a given industry, such as .tech and .design, so these may work if your business fits the bill.
However, Google and other major search engines tend to give more authority to websites with a .com domain. And it’s not just in terms of SEO where a .com domain carries more weight. A user is much more likely to click a .com website than a .biz one, as the latter can appear unfamiliar and therefore less trustworthy. We always recommend using a .com domain where possible.