code blockWebsites were once an optional marketing tool used by small businesses and large corporations alike. However, websites have grown to become an essential hub of all information regarding your business. Consumers expect you to have a website and the absence of one could severely hinder your credibility. The best time to choose a domain name for a website is during the name selection process for your business. What do you do if your business is already up and running and your perfect domain name is taken? There are several ways to go about handling this problem.
Here is a list of things you can do when your ideal domain name is taken:
Same Name, Different Extension
As the .com extension is the most popular in the United States, it probably means that only the .com of your desired URL is taken. This leaves available a wide range of other lesser used extensions such as .net or .biz. Because people do look at a URL’s extension to assume and determine validity, it is important to not rush off and find any extension that is available. An extension that is too spammy or random such as .buzz or .joy will put off users from visiting your site. However, a new practice is using an extension that is related to your field or niche. Extensions like .tv and .shop can be a good idea as they are memorable and describe your what your business is about.
Make Slight Changes
In most instances, there are several ways to slightly alter your domain name that will barely lower its impact. For instance, you can try to add a verb to your domain name. Verbs such as try and get are popular choices. The mobile phone application, Pocket, uses the domain name getpocket.
Another method to changing your domain name is to extend it using words that are relevant to your business. Tesla, for example, didn’t own the Tesla\.com domain until 2016. So, they used the domain name TeslaMotors.com. This is an effective approach because it sounds natural and flows with the intent of the business. If you’re thinking about extending your domain in this way, be sure not to use random words that hold no weight in regard to your business. If done right, you may find that extending your business domain will yield a name that is even better than your initial idea.
Lastly, do not be afraid to experiment with abbreviations. There are many instances where you may be able to abbreviate one or two words in your domain that won’t even hinder your searchability or SEO. For example, if you wanted your domain name to be LosAngelesPlumbers.com, you may find that changing the name to LAPlumbers.com won’t make much of a difference and is even easier for your customers to remember.
Brainstorm a New Domain
When your domain name is already taken, there is always the option to choose an entirely new name that is very different than your initial idea. If your initial domain name is being used by a large corporation, it may be difficult to receive maximum traffic to your website if you go with a name that is too similar to theirs. Try shifting away from the standard business-name-as-domain-name model. Instead, you could choose a domain that uses keywords that are related to your niche. Examples include utilizing your city in a domain like HoustonFlooring.com or using a slogan like FlooringDoneRight.com.
Try to Buy It from The Owner
Though generally to be used as a last resort, this is an option that many people overlook. Whether or not you should pursue this option is dependent on how the domain is currently being used. If the domain directs you a to a business website, it is unlikely that you will be able to purchase it from the owner. However, if the domain directs you to page full of place holders and ads, the domain is worth pursing because it is most likely up for sale.
Sometimes the contact information of the owner is located somewhere on the site page. All you would have to do is contact the owner inquiring about the domain and make an offer. If you can’t find the owner’s contact information, you may have to go through a domain brokerage that will be able to contact the owner for you. Make sure you consider how much the domain name is worth to your business because some owners will charge an extremely high price just because they can.
Wait for Domain Registration to Expire
If a domain is already being used for a website, there is no use in waiting for it to expire because the owner will most likely renew it. However, if the domain directs you to a parked or inactive site, you may be able to purchase it right before it expires. The WHOIS database lists all registered domains and can be used to find all the expiration dates. You can attempt to purchase the domain yourself or you can use one of many domain backordering services to automate the process of swooping in and attempting to acquire the domain right before the expiration date.
Choosing the perfect domain name is already challenging enough but can be even more difficult once you find out the name you want is already being used. Choosing an entirely new and awesome domain name is usually the easiest and best solution but, in some situations, it may be worth it to consider the other options listed. For more information about how to build your website to attract new customers and stay connected with current customers, use our Element of a Website guide.