Setting up an online business is an exciting process. That is, of course, before the overwhelm sets in. Whether it's kickstarting your new side business as your 2023 new year’s resolution or just expanding an existing offline business online, it all starts with the same thing - securing your brand name on the Internet.
If your chosen brand name is available at first go, give yourself a pat on the back because you’re already one of the lucky few. Because given the fact that the Internet has been fully functional for at least a solid three decades, chances are that most short, memorable, relevant, and catchy domain names are already taken.
So, where do you go from there? Lucky for you, this isn’t the end of the line. It couldn’t be because you just got started.
Here are 4 tips to creatively overcome domain name availability:
1. Check if the current owner is willing to sell the domain you want.
It’s simple - you'll never know unless you ask for something. Just because your domain name is taken already doesn’t mean it’s in use. Domain names have become a lucrative business for many people, some buying up thousands of them to sell to a bidder later.
A simple way to check if your domain name is still available is by running a Whois search. This search will likely give you the website's owner's name and contact information. This is your best shot if you’re set on your brand name and are not willing to budge. It might be slightly heavier on the pocket, but it’ll get the job done.
A bigger problem arises when the person on the other end is indeed using the domain name and is running a business on it already. One might argue that this itself is a big red flag because you’re already competing for audience share with someone even before your site is live. But luckily, we still have a few options up our sleeve.
2. Choose a more relevant domain extension.
Today, there are over 1.14 billion websites in the world. Thankfully, in 2012, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) realized that the traditional domain extensions were soon becoming saturated and authorized new domain extensions. These new domain extensions give new business owners the opportunity to own short, memorable, and brandable domain names. Some of these extensions are even more relevant to businesses.
For instance, an e-commerce company would be better off using a .Store, while someone in the tech industry could greatly benefit from a .Tech domain extension. For more generic options, there are .Online and .Site which are perfect for any business that’s ‘online’ or any site on the Internet.
3. Tweak your domain name.
Here’s where your creativity will truly shine. The key is keeping the essence of your first-choice domain name, even though it may be changed a bit. It’s prudent to remember that tweaking the domain name should not change its meaning.
Here are a few tips to tweak your domain name:
A) Add an article.
While Zuckerberg may have dropped the ‘the’ from Facebook, adding an article to your domain name may give you a shot at your first choice domain name. It’s not just new website owners that have tried this; theverge.com is a widely popular site on the Internet.
B) Consider adjectives.
Although this can sometimes make it challenging to stick to an existing brand name, adjectives before or after the business name can be the next best solution after trying to buy your name, choosing an alternate domain extension, and adding an article to your name. For example, niftycrafts.online is an excellent option for those looking to start a craft skillshare or blog online.
C) Avoid changing the spelling or readability.
While tweaking your domain name, keep voice search and user behavior in mind. While Fixrr.com may sound like a good alternative to Fixer.com, the chances of search engines showing the former over the latter are slim if someone were to use voice search.
Instead, add a local word to it, like nycfixer.online. Going more specific regarding what you offer could also help, e.g., homefixer.site.
So while your choice of a domain name might be taken on one domain extension, there’s a good chance that you’ll find it on a new domain extension.
4. Fight for your domain name.
All said and done, if you are an existing business owner with a trademark on a particular name used by someone else, you may have a legal option to claim the domain name. It usually applies if someone uses the name to sell or offer something similar to what you offer. They’d also have had to have started their business after you. If you have enough reason to believe that your trademark has been infringed on, get in touch with a lawyer or your legal team because you might be able to fight for what’s (hopefully) rightly yours.
The message “that domain name is taken” doesn’t have to be the end of the line in your domain name search. Between trying to buy the domain name, choosing an alternate domain extension, tweaking your domain name, and fighting for what’s yours, you have a wealth of options to choose from.
If you’re currently in the predicament of choosing your brand name, we’re certain you’ll find one that’ll give you all the bragging rights here at Dynadot.