First Things First: Finding and Registering Your Website Domain

    By | Small Business

    You just started your first business. You take every opportunity to chat about it with family, friends and even strangers. You carry around a little notebook to jot down ideas for products, and fall asleep thinking about process improvements. Your excitement makes you feel like you are ready to conquer the world.

    Enjoying the entrepreneurial high  is a good thing. But don’t let it distract you from the some of the essential tasks in building your business, such as finding and registering your website domain name.

    This oversight is more common than you might think. A fledgling business leader comes up with a brand name, a logo and a rough business model. Then they go online to purchase their domain name only to see my-super-cool-business.com is taken.

    What’s one to do?

    Luckily, there are options.

    Use a Domain Search Tool

    The first thing you’ll want to do is find out if the domain name you crave is available. Now, you could take the time to type in every permutation of your brand name into the address bar. But who has time for that?

    A much better solution is to use a domain search tool. Just type your coveted domain name into the search bar and the tool will do the rest. You can see if your domain is available, if there are any applicable variations and how much the domain costs.

    If you are ready to decide, just make your selections and hit checkout. You’ll be charged either monthly or annually—according to the provider’s terms of service.

    Think Outside the Box

    If you find the domain name you want is already taken, try tweaking it a bit. Instead of my-super-cool-business.com, you could opt for my-super-cool-company.com or my-ultra-cool-business.com.

    Another idea is to add the industry in which you work. For instance, if you run a music magazine you could shift your domain request from latin-music-monthly.com to latin-music-magazine.com with very little effort. The same thing can be said for personal branding. Your-Real-Name.com might be taken, but Real-Name-Reality.com might be available and preferential.

    Don’t be afraid to get creative. You might find a domain name that works for your organization better than just the brand name.

    Purchase the Domain Name from the Owner

    If you absolutely must have my-super-cool-business.com, there are a few options:

    • Find out who owns the domain either by contacting the site owner or using a service to help you.
    • Make an offer to buy the domain name, giving the owner some background about your operation. People might part with a domain name for a reasonable price when they understand you’re just starting up a small business.
    • If the owner is unwilling to sell you the domain, don’t give up, camp out! Domain names expire, especially when the owner neglects to pay their dues. If this is the case, you can often snag your domain name, or buy it at auction.

    Finding and registering your website domain name this way is more expensive and time consuming. Your best course of action is a domain search tool when time and money are issues.

    For more great tips on marketing your brand or building a small business website, visit Yahoo Small Business today!

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