A few tips for choosing a domain name for your business

If you are an SMB, or a startup and in need of a domain name for your company/product/service:

Start smart.

Don’t spend thousands on a domain name in any extension (.com or non .com) unless it is absolutely mission-critical to whatever metric you must achieve by x date, and you have the resources to support such purchases or purchases of various traffic-building names.

So for example, if you are a startup supplying security systems to hotels, you might think hotelsecurity.com or hotelsecuritysystems.com would be good names to have. Only thing is that both names are taken by someone else.

While you might be able to negotiate the purchase of the names from the current registrants, it’s possible they might ask hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of dollars for such names.

Budget accordingly

You have to make the calculation and decide if the seller’s price fits with your objectives. In most cases, I’d say spending $500 to $2,500 for a .com name that is already taken may be worth it.

If hotel security is going to be your business for years to come then spending that kind of money ($500 to $2,500) should be a no-brainer vs. all of your other marketing and selling expenses. It says exactly what you do and just about everyone around the world knows exactly what a .com name is and does for your business. (Note: I picked “hotelsecurity” randomly out of my head when writing this article. I have no interest or investment in such names.)

Get smart on new domain extensions.

Understand what the smorgasbord of new domain extensions can do to help you drive more traffic to your website and their potential limitations in the near to medium term.

I checked (when writing these article) and hotelsecurity.systems can be purchased at one registrar right now for less than $25. Hotel security.equipment, hotelsecurity.training, hotelsecurity.contractors are all available for less than $40 each at one registrar.

With all the new extensions available there has never been a cheaper or better time to hand-register names in multiple extensions that could help drive more traffic to your business! On the other hand end-user consumer awareness remains rather low, so keep your expectations in check if you plan on using such names as primary identity and traffic builders.

New domain extensions certainly represent an opportunity, but don’t neglect to obtain the matching .com if you can afford it and it meets with your business objectives.

You don’t want to be in a situation where you purchased a non-com for $25 and base your entire business on such, and then a competitor comes along and buys that .com equivalent (that you passed on) for $2,000 and blows you out of the digital sky simply because at this juncture .com continues with the most mindshare of any domain extension in most places around the world.

Understand your market and domain extensions that naturally address that market.

What if you are planning on selling such systems in China? Don’t forget to consider registering names in domain extensions that can be meaningful to the local netizens. Beyond .com, you should consider .cn (the Chinese national extension) and fully Chinese language extensions such as .在线 (Dot Chinese Online) and .中文网 (Dot Chinese Website). I just checked and 酒店安防系统 (“hotelsecuritysystems”) was available in both extensions for less than $40 each. Makes sense to me to address a population with a web address that speaks the same language.

In summary, .com is not the only choice anymore in naming for an SMB or startup but is still worthy of consideration in addition to securing good names in the new domain extensions.

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