When you consider launching a new brand, one of the first things you should think about is the domain name you’ll use. But, choosing that name isn’t as easy as it might seem at first. You’ll want something that’s easy for consumers to find, so avoid more than one dash in a URL. Similarly, consider spelling. It might be cute to intentionally misspell something to make your name a little more unique, but if it means consumers can’t find your brand, you’re going to miss out on a lot of business.
However, there are a lot of myths and half-truths surrounding the process. You may think you know everything about domain registration already, but have you considered all the facts? Here are the three biggest myths surrounding domain names:
1. Once I have a Domain Registered, it’s Mine Forever.
Sadly for unprepared website managers, domains have to be registered each year. Think of it as a subscription plan instead of a purchase. Some web hosts are better than others at reminding you when your allotted time is drawing to a close, so be sure you know when you need to re-register. You can also become involved in a trademark dispute, in which case, the court could order you to give up your domain name.
2. My Trademarks will give Me Access to My Preferred Domain Name.
Sorry, again—this isn’t true. Domain names can’t be trademarked, so it’s very much a first-come, first-named game. If your company name is already chosen, you can attempt to buy it from whoever holds the domain, but they have the right to refuse (or charge you exorbitant prices to hand it over). The one saving grace is that if your registration relapses, another company selling the same goods as you won’t be able to buy it. Unfortunately, if the name makes sense for another company in another industry and they’ve been using it for a while, they can snatch it up.
3. I need to have a .com Extension for My Company.
Sit back, take a deep breath. The days of needing a .com extension to avoid looking spammy and unprofessional are over. Your No. 1 focus should be on getting a domain name that makes sense for your company and your keywords. If that means you need to use a .org or a .net, it’s not the end of all things. Additionally, if your business is located in a specific country, using that country’s extension is a great way to advertise right in your URL that you’re local. The Internet’s getting a little crowded, so your customers are used to encountering different extensions.
When you first conceive of an entrepreneurial project, whether you mean for it to be a side job or your entire career, remember that the first step is the domain name. Get all of your facts straight before you jump in headfirst. Choose a domain name thoughtfully and with the right information, and you’ll be on the path to success.