ENTREPRENEURSHIP / SEP. 02, 2013
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How to Get the Right Domain Name

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You’ve finally bucked up the courage to take the leap from “employed” to “entrepreneur” status. This leap is not one to be taken lightly, and for those who are not 110% certain that this is the right move for them, don’t waste your time trying it out. The world of entrepreneurship is suited only to the strong willed, ferociously competitive, thick skinned and undeterred. If you lack these fundamental characteristics, you will find the road to entrepreneurial success far harder to come by.

Unfortunately, deciding to take on the challenge of entrepreneurship is just your first hurdle; there are many, many more to overcome!

One of the first hurdles you need to take on as a budding entrepreneur is that of securing your domain name. Whether you are set on a particular name or not, get it anyway! If you have 3 or 4 possibilities, buy them all. It might seem like an irrational expense now, but if you wait a few months before buying it, you are leaving yourself open to losing it altogether!  

Worst case scenario, you hunt for your domain name and realise someone has snatched it up. Don’t panic, there are ways around this problem…

#1 Change it

Let’s say your perfect domain name is www.momsrecipes.com but when you search for it, it’s taken. Hard luck. You now need to consider whether the name is really that important to you or would you consider changing it altogether? Search for synonyms, use a thesaurus, ask your friends … try every avenue possible to find another name to suit your business. If you find one, buy the domain straight away!

#2 Hyphenate the name

Ok, so you can’t think of a new name and frankly this is understandable. Once you are set on the perfect brand name it can be incredibly hard to differentiate away from it. Another alternative is to hyphenate the name. www.momsrecipes.com may be taken, but www.moms-recipes.com may not. Oftentimes, domain names that include long words or phrases are easier to remember when they use hyphens, so this could actually work in your favour.

If you are going to change the domain name slightly from one that is already taken, you could find that your customers end up confusing the two domains, resulting in loss of business and less site traffic. The best action to take is to find out how active the other website is, what they trade in and how much they advertise.

#3 The .com misconception

Everyone wants a .com domain name. But if .com is not available to you, you can simply change the suffix to one of many other viable alternatives, including .net, .biz, .info, .org etc. If your website is a service based site or one that brings information to its readers, then a .info suffix may work out better for your business branding!

#4 Own the trademark? Fight for your rights!

If you own the trademark for your brand name, then you automatically have the upper hand when it comes to pursuing your domain name. If someone else is already using it, you may find that the trademark law in your state gives you the right to prevent the domain name owner to continue trading under that domain name. Look up your rights as a trademark owner and find out if the law if on your side.

#5 Get bidding

None the above options appeal to you and you are starting to let panic set in. Fear not, because you have one last option available to you that doesn’t require you to change the name or suffix of your favourite domain name! You can contact the owner of the domain and offer to buy it off him. You can also look in online classifieds or make a bid on an auction website. GreatDomains.com is an online domain name broker which trades domains, so be sure to check this out too! Can’t find the contact details of the owner? Go to www.whois.net [302 from http://www.whois.net] and input the domain name to find out the owner’s details.

Essentially even if someone does take your perfectly thought out domain name, it is not the end of the world, there are alternatives.

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