Now that you've done all the research, come up with a marketing strategy, and have design in mind for your website, all that's left is to do a Domain round-up (search for the domain name you want) and pick a domain name. Although that sounds easy to do, it must be a name that everyone will remember and associate with your business. Adding to the challenge is the fact that as more and more businesses build websites, it has become increasingly difficult to find a clever URL that is not already taken. The bottom line is: it is still possible to get a great domain name - you just need to be creative! Here are some tips to help:

  • Use short, easy to remember keywords that describe your business. The website's name should reflect your company's name, describe the services and/or products provided, or describe what's sold. Keep the name as simple as possible, so customers can remember it. Typically the best names are usually the key words of the name of the company. For example, a pet store that calls itself Posh Pets would want the URL
  • If you are a US-based business, keep the name in English. For example, some people won't connect that you design and sell chairs with
  • Personalize your name by geography or come up with a synonym. If two companies are using the same name, try to differentiate your website from theirs. For example, might be located in Chicago, but yours is located in New York City. Try
  • Can't register it under ".com" - try the other extensions. Such as .biz, .net, .org. The extension at the end of your domain name is called a Top Level Domain (TLD). Although .com TLD's are always top of mind, others are gaining popularity and may offer more availability for the domain name you desire.
  • Try the secondary market to purchase pre-registered domains. As the supply of new (un-registered) domains decreases, there is a growing demand to purchase domains that have been already registered but are not in use - so don't abandon hope yet! You can search for available 'premium domains' at many domain registrars. But the caveat, once again, is price. Purchasing a pre-registered domain name can cost anywhere from $100 to over $1 million, depending on the quality of the name.
  • Don't use symbols. Your domain name needs to be at least two characters long, and can't contain symbols, such as $ # or @. For example, if your business provides tracking services for the stock market you're not allowed to use $
  • If your company name is taken, go to WhoIs to find out who has registered it - maybe they will sell the registration to you. You can find registered users of the domain you desire by searching the WhoIs database but beware - some domain name owners might ask a higher than expected premium for a highly desirable name.
  • Watch your expiration dates! A domain name isn't forever and needs to be renewed. Be careful not to accidentally allow your domain name to expire, and have it become available for registration by others. Add your expiration date to multiple calendars so that you don't forget to renew the very key to your online business - your domain name.