At first glance it seems like having a domain name that matches your business name is ideal.
On the one hand, an exact-match domain name for your business can make it easier to direct people to your website, add authority to the site and company and even draw in more web traffic.
It is so popular to match a domain name to a business name that some startups have even registered a domain before choosing the business name so that they can avoid disappointment if the domain name they want is unavailable.
On the other hand, however, finding an exact match for a business name is becoming harder and more expensive, due to more and more people registering domain names and the cost of premium domain names getting higher all the time.
But US business naming and branding company NameStormers is one of many companies that says the dot-com element should be one of the last things you worry about.
“A good way to think about dot-coms is that they are like license plates,” the NameStormers blog says.
“Even if someone else has the exact spelling you want, you can often tweak a letter or two and come up with something just as good or occasionally even better that is a registrable URL.”
NameStormers gave an example of a fitness equipment client that wanted to launch a new treadmill. The name Forefront was suggested but, predictably, the domain name was not available.
“So, we suggested 4Front as an alternative where the “4” tied in to four new features, put the name at the top of the alphabetical list and perhaps, most importantly, was an available dot-com,” NameStormers says.
“What was going to be a losing battle turned into an important victory with just a fairly simple strategy change.”
Another option is to register a domain name that relates to what your business does, or to a catchphrase associated with the company.
If, for instance, your business was a photography company called Snap and your branding was centred on the phrase “get focused”, you could register GetFocused.com as your domain name. The name is simple, easy to remember and still aligns with the businesses core themes and values.
Many smaller businesses use this domain name option when they cannot buy an exact match option. Chicago-based Famous Hair salon, for example, uses the domain name “GetTheLook.com”.
There is a wide range of other solutions that businesses branding experts and online resources have suggested but if you are determined to get an exact match, then it could be worth seeking further advice.
A domain name broker, for example, could help you strike up a deal with the owner of the domain name that you want.
Australian business law specialists Aspect Legal have also noted that recent changes in the domain name industry could help.
“Domain name allocation rules have recently changed, and in the national and international arena, you may now be eligible to obtain a domain name matching your own trademark (registered, or in the process of a registration application) even if it is not your registered business name or company name.”
It makes sense to have a domain name which complements your business name but that does not mean they have to be exactly the same. So instead of focusing completely on the domain name, with these different options in mind you can place emphasis on choosing a domain that is right for your business – not just its name.