Finding The Right Domain Name For Your Online Business

So you have an exciting idea for an online business. You have spoken to friends, family and contacts and they all agree it’s a great idea too! Next you set about writing down all the functional requirements the application needs before getting quotes from web developers and agencies. But wait, what is your company going to be called? Straight away you run into two issues in getting the Domain Name (.com /.ie) you want.

Firstly, if your company is orientated toward serving customers in Ireland you have to register the Company name with the CRO so that you can buy a .ie domain. If you set up the company as a sole-trader then you can have any name you like as long as it does not belong to a Limited company already. However, this does not guarantee that the domain name is available. You need to check for it on Blacknight, if it’s there I suggest buying it straight away and then submit the paperwork to the CRO. Blacknight will then give you two weeks to submit a copy of the Business Registration Certificate to prove your entitlement.

It might seem like typical bureaucracy, however it does prevent one thing from happening – cyber squatting! Yes you have heard the term and might have come across it when you tried to register your own name on Twitter, Gmail or Facebook at some point. The registration form tells you that the ‘username already in use’  - so you visit that profile out of curiosity only to find no-one is actively using it. Frustrating yes, but sadly they own it because they got there 1st and there’s nothing you can do.

Let’s say your business idea has a potentially global audience. Well this is great news and now you are going to need a .com domain name so customers can find you instinctively. This is where you can run into real problems as most reasonably sounding words have already been purchased. Why? Well you may find yourself saying the words ‘cyber squatters’ with distain, whereas many others would say they are Online Investors. And you can really see the appeal of owning a portfolio of .com domain names at just $12 per year, compared to an Apple share at $405 or a Bank of Ireland share at .16c. Sure how much are lottery tickets these days and have you ever won anything?

So now you are faced with the challenge of finding the right Domain Name for your business and where do you start? Firstly think about the core elements of what the business does and write them all down. Then during a night out with friends introduce the list and see who can come up ideas that play on the word… sound silly? How about this. I have an idea about a website that allows you to keep up to date with your friends and family. It’s like an online college yearbook with your photo and ‘real time’ status updates. But I’m not sure what to call it?

If this doesn’t work then your only option is to buy the Domain Name you want at auction and brace yourself! The more normal sounding the name, the more it’s going to cost you and I have seen unremarkable domain names go for $28,000. More recently Facebook paid $8.5m for as reported by CBS News. So now you like my first idea better? And here’s the funny thing, you are far more likely to find something that is catchy and still relates to your core business service. These companies had the exact same problem when starting out and if you think about the service they actually provide, the permutations are endless: Instagram, ShutterStock, Digg, NetFlix, Wikipedia and LetsLunch.

Fortunately, there are some clever tools out there to help you in your search and I would recommend these two in particular. Just enter your updated list of names from the night before to see what is available and buy, buy, buy. So what if you get carried away and spend $150 on 12 different domain names. You can market test them to select the best one for your business plus you are now an Online Investor of the other 11! But choose your business Domain Name wisely, because if you change your mind at a later date you are going to run into all sorts of technical difficulties in re-writing your indexed URLs on the Google and Yahoo/Bing search engines. Good hunting!

Try these services for finding that perfect Domain Name: Domize and Domainsbot


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