Having a matching domain name used to be very simple and usual. As the number of Internet users and websites has increased, the availability of domains, that is domain names has decreased. Find out how important it is to have a matching domain name and what you can do if you have to go without it.

The preference

A general preference is for a business name to match the business’s domain name. If you are just setting up your business now, perhaps look into available domain names first and then decide on the business name. Alternatively, if it’s the early days for your business, tweak the name a little to match your domain.

Having this in mind, the optimal solution would be to have both names in the form of a single word of no more than seven characters.

Your favorite “.com” is taken?

For years now, .com was everyone’s preference. This is why it might be incredibly difficult to come up with a domain name which is available. How do you think your customers will come to you? If it is through search engines and referrals, you will be perfectly fine with a different reputable domain. The chances are that your users won’t even spot it. Feel free to use .co, .net, or .org. You can use one of the fresh TLDs such as .pizza, .jobs, .online etc. To those that notice the difference, they may even sound more interesting than the typical .com.

Fight for it

The domain name may be taken, but it does not necessarily mean it is being used. There are a lot of businesses who purchase similar domain names to eliminate competition. Also, there are even more of those who buy attractive or meaningful domain names in order to sell them at a higher price. Check if this is the case and bid to buy it off.

If you have already established your business and trademarked your business name, a domain name which is an exact match, may be in violation of your rights. If you have the means of proving that someone is, in fact, using your trademark for their personal gain, hire an expert IP Lawyer and take the current domain owner to court. Be prepared for financial and time costs this process may incur and only use it if you truly depend on the domain.

What does your audience know about you?

Think about the things your audience knows about you and what they remember you by. Do you have a trademark other than your domain name? If there is a phrase people can easily relate to you, that is a moto, you can use it as a domain name. For example, NIKE has used the phrase “Just do it” for years, and a lot of people think of the company when they hear it.

Are you a B2B or a B2C business?

If you market to customers, you probably depend on a domain name which is an exact match or very similar to your business name. Failing to be remembered or recognized on search engine results, could take your potential customers into the hands of your competition. On the other hand, if you are advertising services for other businesses, choosing a domain name which relates to what you do should not be an issue. Businesses looking for other businesses to deal with usually look for those within the niche and will be able to spot you.

Using keywords

If you need to look for an alternative domain name and you depend on the organic traffic, using well-targeted keywords in your domain may help you get additional traffic. A well-optimized and a reputable website will have no trouble ranking high in the search results even if their domain name is not an exact match to their business name. If you use analysis and select the right keyword or keywords for your domain, don’t mind the length, it will be good for SEO. This does not mean you should use too many keywords or use the ones which aren’t related. Make sure you are relative, so you do not get penalized by search engines.

Find an alternative

The domain name should be relative, memorable, and easy to spell. If your business name is taken, you can change the spelling a bit, or you can add something relevant to it, such as a trait or location. Adding location may even be a good thing if you rely on the local market. When it comes to changing the spelling, don’t come up with novel words too clever to have an easy way of spelling. You can use numbers but refrain from using hyphens. Change the word order if you have a long business name, but make sure it still makes sense. Keep branding in mind when looking for alternatives. Make sure that your brand can still be recognized within the domain name.

Your domain name does not have to be the same as your business name. You only depend on it if your business is strictly done online and the competition is great. In that case, you should look for alternatives to .com. Most of the visits to websites nowadays come from references and through search engines. Focus on building a reputable website and your potential customers will easily find you. Your business’s online and offline reputation depends on much more than simply the domain name.

David Koller is a passionate blogger and copywriter for Media Gurus, mainly interested in SEO and Digital Marketing.

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