You’ve done the grunt work of planning out your business plan, coming up with a branding strategy and the identity you want to share with the world. What’s more is you’ve taken special care in choosing the perfect domain that represents your brand’s identity. Brilliant! Now you’re ready to purchase your domain with your ‘brandable’ catchy name but the moment you type it in the name is already taken. What do you do?
Don’t panic. Yes, this is an insurmountable setback but it isn’t the end of the world. There is a way to circumvent this and still bring your brand’s identity to life through a very catchy and memorable domain name.
This article is going to help you get your creative juices flowing once again and head back to the drawing board when something like this happens.
Let’s dive in.
The domain name you choose can make or break your business. This is the first impression your prospective customers will have of your business’ identity, what your brand is about and what products and services you will offer. This is not something you can just throw together it takes careful thought. And while you may have spent a lot of time gruelling over what your domain name was going to be in the first instance, luck would have it that someone beat you to the bunch.
This just means you need to put your thinking cap back on and rearrange your domain name strategy. Your domain name is your digital fingerprint. It is the identity card that will follow your brand and company everywhere so it needs to be concise, memorable and always on the tip of your audience lips.
Try these few tips to help you remix the domain name you already came up with:
You want to help your website rank high with search engines and represent not only your brand but the products or services you intend to offer. So, search for popular keywords within your industry or effective keywords that pertain to your products or services. Write a list of the highest-ranking keywords. Use Ahrefs, SERPS, Google Correlate, or any other keyword search tool to help you compile a list. Choose the best keyword with the highest ranking that best describes the category of your business, its products, the services or a combination of all.
Be sure that the domain name you choose is also available across Social Media platforms. Remember this is your brand’s identity and therefore your domain name is going to be what is synonymous with your business and that includes your Social Media platforms and their following. We cannot stress the need for continuity with your domain and Social Media handles.
You’ve already experienced disappointment once with brainstorming a great domain name only to find that someone beat you to the punch. So this time create a list with alternative options that are equally fantastic at communicating your brand’s identity. You can even mix and match names that are on the list but the main point is to be prepared with a few backup names.
The main thing you want to do as a business started out is to have your brand’s identity imprinted in the minds of your customers. Do this by keeping your domain name simple, concise, and easy to remember. For example, think of companies like Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Starbucks; all of these companies kept it simple and are memorable. Follow that train of thought when creating your list of possible domain names.
If you’re still having trouble do check out our post on crafting the perfect domain name. In addition, you can use a tool like Domain Scope to help you generate a domain name, see domains that have expired and look at trends emerging within Domains.
Even though your awesome domain is already taken, there are still a few avenues you can take to get the domain name you dreamed up. If your heart is absolutely set on your original choice then here’s what you can do.
This is where that craftiness and creativity comes in. Sure your original idea was taken before you had the chance but you can always use an abbreviated version of your original name. This can still be effective in showing off your business’ identity. For example, let’s say your last name is Lightbourne and you’ve decided to open an online storefront of your bakery Bourne Sweet, but surprisingly bournesweet.com is taken. Simply shorten it to bsweet.com or bsbakery.com, the latter may make you even more popular.
Another crafty tactic is to add a word in front or behind your original domain name either after you abbreviated it or without the shortened version. Though you want to keep your domain name as short as possible. Again, if we use the example of Bourne Sweet Bakery, you can change the domain to bournebakery.com or bsweetonline.com. Play with various words and see what fits. Just remember to keep it simple, easy and memorable.
You can get super creative and turn your domain name into a catchphrase. This is a great way to brand your business and create a lasting impression on your audience. Your catchphrase can go viral as a result and help drive traffic to your website that converts. Keeping with our Bourne Sweet Bakery example, you can turn it into a catchphrase bsweetalways.com or bournedeliciouslysweet.com. You can even use an SEO keyword in the phrase to denote location bsweetbaltimore.com.
.Com is one of the most recognizable and popular TLD Extensions on the internet. As a result, most domain names with .com extensions are already taken. Therefore, you may just have to think outside of the .com box and go beyond it.
There are amazing new generic TLD extensions on the market that speak to the type of business you are running. Extensions like .app for Application Developers, or .shop and .store for new e-commerce businesses. While .com is more widely known, other generic TLDs are becoming more widely used including gTLDs like (.site, .net, .xyz, and .biz).
If you find that your desired domain is taken within the .com TLD extension, you can use the tactics above while opting for a new TLD. Yes, we know .com is the most widely used but more and more websites are using other trusted TLD Extensions.
If your business is going to be local, then consider using country specific domain extensions like .eu, .uk, .ie and so on. This lets your audience know that you are locally based and open for business.
Back to our example. Let’s say your original idea bournesweet.com was taken. Instead of going back to the beginning and brainstorming all over again you can simply choose a different TLD Extension bournsweet.shop or bsweet.net.
Alternate TLDs and gTLDs are a great way to show off your brand and be effective at propelling your business forward online.
If all else fails and you’re still set on using the original domain name you came up with and it’s already taken there is a way. You can try to purchase the domain name from the owner. This can get costly as some domains may be in high demand.
Once you have the contact information of the owner you can negotiate and discuss the costs. The pricing may be a bit higher than expected to allow them to make an offer and see what you can negotiate.
The choices you make for your business identity is crucial to your success. As your domain is the first impression your customers will have of your brand it is imperative that you are meticulous when crafting it. Spend as much time as possible in creating a name that is memorable and worthy of showcasing your brand.