The goal (not to mention, the logic) is really simple: you want people to be able to type in your business name and land on your website. This was no problem back in the day – but business owners of today face a bigger challenge. With over 220 million domain names already registered, it is now quite difficult to secure a dot-com domain name that matches your new business name to a T.
How important is it to match your company name with your domain name? While matching one’s business name to the corresponding domain name was, once upon a time, believed to be essential, this notion is not as relevant in these modern times. It’s been established that a good domain name is short – seven characters long or fewer, ideally. The next important element is that it also needs to be available for registration. If the goal of your website is to gain leads and search traffic, then keywords are what’s essentially more than an exact match. On the other hand, if the goal of your website is to simply have a web presence for the convenience of your customers who are already familiar with your business, then a domain name that matches closely with your company name could be more effective.
If your business model is heavily-rooted to the worldwide web, then an exact-match domain name should be your prime target. Companies like Netflix, Spotify, Yelp, and yes, Google have people automatically “defaulting” to their company name when typing on the web browser bar. Also, an exact-match domain name helps you get found by search engines, instead of losing your potential customer/s to someone else.
But if your business is mainly transacted offline, then you have more leeway should an exact-match domain name is not available to you. Many “brick-and-mortar” businesses (such as restaurants, hotels, gyms, etc.) include their geographic location in their domain names. You may want to consider yourcompanynameSF.com if you’re in San Francisco or yourcompanynameOH.com if you’re in Cleveland. You get the idea. Doing so likewise helps to increase your search engine visibility as many people typically search for retail outlets, hotels, and the like by location.
When formulating a branded domain name, the number one question you need to ask yourself is this: what works best for your customers? What would uniquely capture your business’ identity and will stay top-of-mind among your target audience? Fine, go with a long or short domain name so long as it’s memorable, relevant, easy to spell, professional, and unique.
Do I Need to Include LLC in My Domain Name?
First things first, a limited liability company (LLC) is a business type that combines elements of a partnership, sole proprietorship, and a corporation. This ensures that the owner/s of the company is/are not personally liable for the company’s debts or liabilities.
If your business is registered as an LLC, you might think of adding the acronym to your domain name. You can do so, yes, BUT a problem may arise should your business structure change down the road. In other words, say you started out as an LLC and so you registered yourbusinessLLC.com. But what if you need or decide to change the legal structure? Your registered domain name will no longer match your business structure, thus requiring you to re-register a matching name anew. And what if the version of your business name without the “LLC” is unavailable? Therefore, it’s more practical to skip the LLC.
Also, the “LLC” in a domain name may be inadvertently left out (or forgotten), landing your potential visitors onto the wrong website.
So, please, make it easy for yourself and your potential customers and just drop the business structure from your domain name. If the goal is to just distinguish yourself from a similar business, secure a keyword-rich domain name instead.
What is the Easiest Way to Check if my Business Name is Available as a Domain?
The first place you want to start to find your domain’s availability is with our FREE Naming Generator.
It will allow you to quickly search the availability of your name. If it’s available it will allow you to quickly secure the domain at the best possible price from some of the biggest companies in the industry. If it isn’t available it will give you a lot of closely related naming ideas that are available.
The old manual way to see if your preferred domain name is available is to search it out. In your web browser, type in www.yourbusinessname.com. Try checking your business name dot-com, dot-org, dot-net, etc. on the end to see if any business entity comes up or if there is a similar business out there that could be in competition with your brand.
If no functioning website is associated to that domain name you want, you’ll see one of these two things. Either you see an error page, or you see content on the page that offers to sell you the domain name. Please do not get tempted by such an offer to purchase the domain name. These kinds of offers usually mean that the domain name is already registered to another business or entity. It may be available for sale by that business or entity, but the parked post will likely charge you more (think: middle man).
If you get an error page, you know that the domain name is available. Once you’ve determined that is no active website for your preferred domain name, what you will want to do next is check the WhoIs record for the domain name. WhoIs is a record of domain names and provides the history of a particular domain name. Here, you can see if that domain name has ever been registered to another company or individual and when. If the WhoIs record shows that the domain name is currently registered to someone else, this means the domain name is not available (even if there is no active website associated with it).
The domain name for your business’ website is an integral part of your branding. A domain name that is highly relevant to your business is instrumental in your customers’ ability to find you. The whoIs will offer you the option to purchase the domain name if it’s available, but a word of advice: this is not usually the best option. A good domain name registrar will provide more services than simply registering your choice of the domain name. After checking WhoIs, a good place to turn next is NamingGenerator.com, a free online domain name generator tool, that will not only help you come up with available domain name ideas for your business but will give you great domain name registrar recommendations, plus access to great web hosting deals.
Let me just reiterate that even if your business name appears to be available upon an online search, somewhere out there a competitor could be in the process of completing its unregistered business name. Act fast. Start here.
How do I Get Other Domain Ideas if My Company Name is Taken?
If your business name is already taken as a domain name, do not fret. There are workarounds. Take GlaxoSmithKline, for example. GlaxoSmithKline is a giant in the pharmaceutical industry, named as GSK.com online. Not that they had any competition in name ever, but hear the story of their strategy out. There was a time GSK wanted to promote vaccine use, particularly for whooping cough. GSK created an entirely new website and with the domain name BigBadCough.com. While BigBadCough.com is longer than the 7-character ideal, it is both memorable and concise. The website’s domain name clearly communicates the type of content that is being discussed on the said website.
Another way to approach the unavailable domain name pickle is to add location information, as earlier described. MomsBaking.com could be MomsBakingVA.com. The geographic signifier can filter customers, ensuring they land on the right website, in the right location.
If your business name is unavailable to register as a domain name, all is not lost. A good online domain name generator tool offers free domain name suggestions, using your own ideas and your keywords, and will likewise offer good leads on domain registrars and web hosting services.
Does Your Logo Have to Match Your Business Name?
Technically speaking, a logo is really a graphic representation and so it may be hard to match it to the written word. A business logo is effective IF it evokes the sense of the brand. Like how the swoosh does not have a single text on it, yet it is very much recognizable as Nike. Even wordmarks, such as the cursive style of the Coca-Cola brand. It is so richly stylized that it acts as a logo – it is distinctly Coca-Cola’s.
You’ll want your logo to stand out as different in the minds of your customers. Your logo should imprint on people’s minds; the more effortlessly, the better. A well-chosen business name and logo are both instrumental in helping you to stand out among your competition.
We go back to NamingGenerator.com again. For this is not just a free online domain name generator tool that likewise offers recommendations for domain name registrars and web hosting providers. You can also get a free custom logo design when you use their FREE domain name generator and opt to use one of their hosting partners to register the domain you decide on. NamingGenerator.com is pretty much your one-stop-shop in the journey to building you the best website ever.
We would emphasize that a domain name that matches your company or business name is appropriate when your website is essentially an online presence for your business. However, when marketing a certain brand, product, or service, a domain name that is short, catchy, and memorable would do the job more effectively. The perfect domain name for brand awareness can be the name of the brand, a keyword that describes your product or service, or a word abbreviation with no direct translation. Truly, there are several factors to consider when naming your business. While it may pose as a roadblock, you should not really let the availability of a dot-com domain name be a deal-breaker of sorts. If you were able to come up with a business or company name that works for you on many levels, there’s surely a way to find a domain name that will serve you just as effectively.