Birthing your online business’ brand into existence can be quite the daunting task but so rewarding once you find a name that perfect. Especially now when there are millions of online businesses emerging every month— with the overhead cost of operating a business online that much cheaper than a brick and mortar business. While this task may be tough it is one of the most important things you will do while planning your business, branding and marketing strategy for the long haul.
Therefore, this shouldn’t be taken lightly nor should it be a throwaway task. Selecting the brand name that will characterize your business online is a top priority and what’s more, is that the future success of your business is dependent on the domain name you choose to represent your brand.
But sometimes you can find that another business already had the idea you came up with. What do you do then when you’ve carefully chosen your brandable name for your business? While coming up with a really catchy name is half the battle, knowing if it is already in use and what to do if it is can be hard to navigate if you don’t know-how.
No worries, we are here to help you make the right choice for your business and brand’s visibility online, and what to do if it’s already in use. In this article, we will outline tips and strategies for creating your domain name, a quick how-to on registering it and how to find the domain owner of a website.
Let’s get started.
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5 Characteristics of a Great Domain Name
Before brainstorming the domain name that will represent your brand, you need to keep the 5 characteristics in mind to ensure a perfectly crafted and ‘brandable’ name.
1. It should be Unique:
Well this may be the hardest feat to accomplish but it is not impossible. Your domain name is best if exclusive to your brand’s image, voice and should stand out within your business’ industry niche.
2. Make it Meaningful:
Building your brand should speak to your product and service. Make the name mean something to your business and its mandate.
3. Be Memorable:
What’s the point if no one remembers your website’s name. You don’t want to be forgettable. You want to create a branded domain name that is forever etched in the memory of your audience and customer base. Therefore, be memorable, it enhances and guarantees success in your business.
4. Keep it Short:
Think of all the major on and offline brands like Google, Yahoo, Nike, and Samsung. They kept their name short and sweet. This increases the memorable factor. Aim for a domain name of 10-15 characters or less. This also makes it easier to type!
5. Make it Easy to Type:
If your business name was said out loud would people be able to spell it? When considering your domain name make sure the spelling phonetic i.e. when someone says it it’s easily written.
Now the best thing you can do is brainstorm a list of domain names/business names to choose from. You want to keep the above things in mind while doing this. It is imperative that your brandable business name uniquely showcases your brand, is meaningful and lends to your brand voice, is memorable for your target demographic, is short enough so less than 16 characters and is easy to type.
Sometimes you can run into issues once you’ve picked the perfect domain name and realize someone already thought of your idea. Never fear, what you’ll do next is look up the owner of the domain. Here’s a quick and easy way of doing that. Here’s how you can check who owns a domain name and why it’s important.
How Ownership Information of a Domain Name
You may think finding the owner of the domain name is a difficult task but it in fact is not. The information is readily available if you know where to look, like most things on the internet.
To find out the owner of a particular domain name, i.e. the one you’ve brainstormed and found is already in use, you will need to visit the website WHOIS. This is the domain directory where all domains are listed. This domain search website answers the essential question: who owns this domain name or IP address?
Whenever a person registers a new domain name, they have to provide relevant contact information and a name of the person that owns the domain which is added to the WHOIS database.
To complete a domain search, simply navigate the site: https://whois.icann.org/en, and enter the domain name you’d like information on.
As long as the domain owner isn’t using a proxy server or opted for a domain privacy service to shield their information, then you’ll be given relevant contact information.
Typically, you’ll receive the following information:
- Where they registered their domain (including country and registrar)
- The owner’s email address and phone number
- The domain expiration date
- When the domain was registered (the date)
- IP address information as well—not necessary for what you need.
By using the WHOIS database domain search tool you’ll be able to see when a domain is about to expire. This can help you time your bid if it’s one you really want, so you can reach out with an offer right before the domain is set to expire, or needs to be renewed. Upping your chance of getting the domain you want.
You Found the Domain Owner, Now What?
If you’re still interested in a particular domain, make an offer for it. Here you’ll have a few different options that you can explore. Firstly, make contact by reaching out to the owner via email. Express your interest in buying the domain name either before or after it expires.
Secondly, you can use a domain name broker who will handle the negotiation and transfer process for you. Some registrars will handle the entire negotiation and purchase process on your behalf for a fee. You can also contact your hosting provider to ask if they offer a domain transfer service.
In instances where the domain owner’s information has been hidden with domain privacy, go to the website and use their contact form to get in touch.
Taking the time to find the right domain for your business is a crucial step to your launch. It’s imperative that your domain name speaks to your brand’s focus and overall awareness. Take the time to brain stop a list of names that meet the 5-point criteria of a great domain name.
If you find that the domain name you’ve chosen is already in use never fear. We hope we’ve educated you on how to use the WHOIS search feature to find the owner of the domain and query them for a possible purchase of your desired domain name.
With hundreds of thousands of potential domain names still available, and a myriad of top-level domains to choose from you’re bound to find the right domain for your needs.