Since we work with so many business owners who are building their own uncommon life, and since we talk so much about the power of business ownership, we wanted to write a series of articles about business organization—all the seemingly minute legal and financial details that need to be tended to so business can run smoothly and for the long haul.
One of those items on the business organization checklist is a web site domain name or URL. URL stands for Unified Resource Locator and is also commonly referred to as your web address.
What’s the big deal? You choose a name, hope it’s not taken, buy it, and boom—you’re a business on the interwebs! Technically, that is all it takes to get your domain name online, but making sure the name is right for your business is a little more nuanced than that.
If you are just starting a business, getting your website URL nailed down is important. It will be spoken by your sales team and other customer-facing employees when talking about and referring people to more information about your company. It’s how people will remember —or won’t— check you out online.
If you have been in business for a while, how close is your URL to the business entity? If it’s not a close match, a search for what is available could be time well spent.
Here are a few rules of thumb to consider when looking for the right URL:
- If possible, go for the .com – There are many domain extensions (like .org or .tv) but .com is easier for people to remember, and is the default extension people type into their browser. Zoom.us and other variants are gaining more traction, so if you need to pull an audible or a different domain extension to enhance your brand, then go off-script.
- Remember your brand – You want to make sure the name is as close to the name you use to market your business as possible. Earlier, we wrote about the process of registering your entity name. Part of that process should be making sure a domain name that is very close to the registered entity name is available. For brand recognition, make sure it’s easy to memorize and easy to pronounce.
- Buy the variations – Consider buying variations of the URL, even common misspellings of the URL to capture every potential web site visit. You can register multiple URLs that redirect to the one that most closely resembles your entity name.
Legal Things to Consider
Look at trademarking your brand name or domain name as soon as possible. And do a search with your secretary of state to make sure you are not infringing on someone else’s trademark with a URL you are choosing. A company like Business Rocket can help you with trademark registration for your domain name.
Where to Register
When registering a domain, be sure to read the fine print on costs and services. Some domain registrars have hidden fees that sneak up on you. Also, registration is different than hosting. Some registrars also offer hosting, while some do not.
- Domain.com – Techradar puts Domain.com at the top of their list. They provide good value for the money and have been in business for 2 decades. They have .com domains starting at $10 a year.
- Godaddy – Here’s a name you probably know. They are the biggest provider, but their pricing can be deceptive. For instance, there can be one price for a purchase of 2 years’ worth of registration, and another for just one year’s registration.
- Google Domains – This is the quick and easy way to get a domain name. But if you feel like Google has enough of a monopoly on your internet use, you do have other options.
Your domain name isn’t something to take lightly. It’s kind of a big deal. The right URL can help you position your business and engage potential customers with a simple, easy-to-remember name. Just make sure no one else has any rights to the domain, and get it trademarked ASAP.