One of the first things a new small business will need to consider when starting a website is which domain name to use. This is still a surprisingly overlooked area with those new to internet marketing. Most website owners have a misconception that their domain name must mirror their company name. There is no rule that says it has to be this way.
Business owners should be aware that not every company name is unique. The first thing you should do is start typing your company name into the Google search bar. The auto suggest will then start listing keywords related to your company name. If yours is a commonly used name you will see from the results lots of similar sounding business websites. Some may already own the domain name you wanted.
If this is the case then you may be tempted to register a similar domain that is free in another extension. If you do this then your domain will be competing with other similarly named websites. In this situation Google tends to suggest the most established one resulting in your website having an uphill struggle right from the start.
For example your business is called ‘Widgets Plumbing’
You search Google and find a site already out there called ‘widgetsplumbing.com’
Naturally being based in the UK you opt for the alternative ‘widgetsplumbinguk.co.uk’ which is available to register.
Unfortunately the existing .com has been around for such a long time Google almost looks upon it as a brand. Some time after your new website has been indexed whenever you try and search for it Google just keeps suggesting the .com.
So what do you do if a situation like this occurs?
First of all think long and hard about what the core area of your business is. Then consider which geographic area you work mostly in.
By doing this you may be able to register a domain name that both contains your service / product and the location you work in. Try and keep the domain short if you can as overlong ones are easily forgotten and don’t necessarily look good.
With that in mind your alternative domain would end up being something like ‘localplumberkent.co.uk’
Also consider registering the domain in other top level extensions such as .com or .net. This will help prevent someone else registering them later and causing similarity issues. It would also be a good idea to 301 redirect these to your main website address in case someone types in your domain name with the incorrect extension.
With that done you still want a domain name with your company name, or already have one being used on 80 boxes worth of office stationery. Not a problem at all, just 301 redirect them to your main domain name and clients will find your website.