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At NameStormers, we get deep into the nuts and bolts of naming. After we brainstorm, we screen our name ideas to weed out candidates that are federally trademarked or are otherwise unavailable. Sometimes there are names that work great for you or your project, but the corresponding domain name and any logical alternatives are already taken. Whether that makes or breaks a name is up to you, but one thing is always true: if you love a name, you need to act fast to secure the domain.

How to Register a Domain Name 

Registering a domain is simple and can be done online through a domain name registrar or the web host you plan to use. You do not need to have formed a company or have even signed up for a web hosting service in order to purchase a domain.

When you purchase a domain name, it’s like renting a space on the internet. The domain actually belongs to the registrar, and you pay that entity to use it, renewing your lease yearly or biannually. If you don’t renew your domain name when it’s time (or opt in to auto-renewal), you could lose it. 

If the name you want is unavailable, the process looks a little different. You could adapt your name to fit what’s available, or you could offer to buy the domain by contacting the owner of the website currently using it. You can also look up the Whois database information on the domain name to see how long it’s been in use and when it will expire. A little patience can pay off! 

What Makes a Good Domain Name? 

Your domain can be anything you want it to be, but it makes sense from a marketing perspective to make it match your business or brand name. You may want to make a small change, such as adding your location to the end to appeal to local clientele. Generally, though, you should stick to the business name, which is why it’s important to check domain availability before you get too attached. 

Here are a few other factors that make a domain name a good fit for a business: 

  • Top-level domain status. Different domain suffixes have different meanings and connotations. Dotcom is used for commercial businesses, and it demonstrates authority and business savvy. When you see a .net or .us domain, you can assume that the dotcom was already taken by the time that business decided to stake their claim. If you’re a nonprofit or charity organization, .org is the appropriate option, and educational institutions typically use .edu.
  • Memorability. Your domain name needs to possess both visual and auditory appeal because your target will encounter it in different formats. It needs to be catchy and free of unnecessary punctuation or hard-to-pronounce words. 
  • Simplicity. Many one-word domain names are taken, and three-word domain names  verge on being too long and difficult to remember. Two words (or three brief words) is usually the sweet spot. Even if your domain name is not particularly short, make sure it’s uncomplicated. 

How Can Domain Availability Affect My Company Name?

The worst possible consequence of a bad domain name is preventing customers from finding your business or distinguishing it from another business. The last thing you want to do is confuse your target and thwart your own sales. Sometimes this happens because a business owner has fallen in love with a company name, doesn’t want to give it up despite the lack of viable domain availability, and settles for something that’s not quite right. 

On the other hand, a domain name that’s savvy, snappy, and easy to remember will make online marketing a breeze. Clearly, domain name availability is vital, which is why screening for availability is built into our seven-step process

Don’t buy a subpar company name from a soulless name generator — contact us today to start an exciting company naming process that’s tailored to your unique business.

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