Any startup who has ever needed a website knows the horror story that unfolds when choosing the correct domain name for your startup. It’s an absolute tirade of trouble when your business name isn’t available as a ‘.com’ or ‘.net’ or whatever other address you may want to use.
This is only the tip of the iceberg however as ‘domain selling’ companies often have very different terms and conditions as well as an ever-changing stock of domains which can seemingly vary every few hours. And that’s before we even consider pricing – some domain names can cost upwards of £1000, and then there are the renewal fees, auctioning fees and all the rest to consider. If it all sounds confusing, don’t worry – you’re not alone in thinking that! That’s why we’ve put together this list of 5 important tips to stay sane and successful whilst domain name shopping.
1. Have a domain name in mind – but have a degree of flexibility.
If you have a brand, then stick to your guns! That’s the ‘.com’ you want right? Then go for it, but bear in mind, it may not be available right away, and in fact may not be up for sale at all. That’s when being somewhat flexible will help, Don’t go in too headstrong about a particular name. Keep your brand loose and open to change before committing to a domain name. This will save you time, energy and money in the long run, as well as allowing you to save yourself wasting time chasing your tail because you fixated on a name far too early and are too stubborn to make a change.
2. Take advice from as many people as you can, especially potential customers.
These are the people who will be shopping from you or using your service so you ought to find out what they think. Their input is always helpful (ok perhaps not always, but honest feedback is generally always a useful resource). Do not however rely solely on this. Many companies have regretted customer decisions on names and wound up either dishonouring commitments to customers or having to legally use a name they do not approve of.
3. Take some time to actually just think about everything you want from the domain name.
If you spend too much time on the chase and rush to grab something that you think you want, you can usually end up missing a trick and wasting a valuable opportunity. There’s nothing to be lost by taking a little bit of time to actually think about and narrow down everything you want and need from your domain name. Do you want it to be nostalgic? Easy to remember? Short? Long? Unique? Numbers? The list may go on, but in essence you need to make sure all of this is ironed out before you even go looking. You don’t want to invest in something only to realise you don’t want or need it.
4. Be mindful of your competitors.
This should go without saying, but keeping an eye on your competitors is always smart. You shouldn’t copy them per se, but if they have certain advantages, emulating certain things is ok. That being said, you don’t want a domain name that’s a variant of theirs. If their SEO is better, even if your company is superior, search engines will favour them over you. So make sure your domain name is different from your competitors - but communicates the same message. Roughly.
5. Have a creative group around to help.
You could be the next Dr. Seuss and J.K. Rowling all rolled into one, but there’s only so far one can be creative for an extended period of time without needing a break or a little help. Since you’ll have to be business creative for the foreseeable future, having a creative crowd to help you get started will definitely take the weight off. If you’re having trouble coming up with something, someone else just might have the stroke of genius you’re waiting for.
To all the startups looking for a domain name, don’t stress and take your time. From all of us here at Startacus – Good luck!