The first step you have to take setting up your online business is to choose a name for your new enterprise. Online a memorable business name is very important as your customers should be able to locate your internet business quickly and easily. Internet retailers like Amazon are successful in part because they have a short and memorable business name.
Top Level Domain Names
Your domain name identifies your business on the Internet. All top level domain names like .com, .net, .co.uk etc. must all be unique. It is impossible to have two identical top level domain names attached to different businesses. As your domain name is an essential component of your new online business, it’s important to spend some time creating a memorable business name that you can register as your Internet domain name.
Be careful not to register a domain name that is very close or sounds similar to an existing online business. If you are thinking for instance of registering www.mike-row-soft.co.uk, think again. Microsoft will take a very dim view of this as it could potentially impact on their business. Litigation in these cases can be long and expensive, so try and come up with a completely unique name for your business that can be registered as a top level domain name. New top level domains are regularly created. You can keep up-to-date with the latest domain name developments on the ICANN website: www.icann.org.
How to Choose a Domain Name
Online business is now an established commercial channel. As a consequence of this creating a new business name that is also available as a top level domain name can be difficult. Bear the points below in mind when you are creating a name for your new online business:
- Keep it short. Long business names can not only be hard to remember, they can also become cumbersome when translated into a domain name. Many businesses use one or two words as their brand name. This is ideal as there is more chance that the domain name you want with the suffix you would like to register is still available.Business names can describe your enterprise, but this isn’t always necessary as a brand can be built around any name. Again Amazon is a good example as is Kodak or Hoover. Also, mixing characters and numbers can give you a memorable domain name. A good example is www.fish4.co.uk. You can check what .uk domain names are still available on the Nominet website: www.nominet.org.uk.
- Avoid hyphenation. Customers need to locate your online business quickly. Having hyphens in your domain name could mean that potential customers forget to use these even if they have remembered your business name correctly. Try and avoid hyphens if you can.
- Is your name legal? Business names whether they are online or not can have a trademark attached to them. It is important that you check that the name you want to use isn’t already registered as a trademark. The UK’s Intellectual Property Office can give you more guidance. Companies House can also tell you if a business with the same name has been registered with them.
Manage Your Domain Names
If you intend to register a large number of domain names, try and choose a registration company that has an easy to use online interface that enables you to see the status of your domains, and also allows you to activate any domain and perform email or domain name forwarding. Managing your own domains saves you a great deal of time and effort.
Domain Name Renewal
Your online business will need to register its name initially, but domain names have a set time limit. You need to periodically renew your domains – even the ones you are not using at the moment – to ensure you keep ownership. Your domain registration company should keep you informed about renewal dates, but put these in your diary just to make sure you don’t forget. You don’t want another business registering a similar domain name to yours because you forgot to renew the registration of a domain name.
Register All Top Level Domain Names
It is a good idea to not only register your business name with your chosen top level suffix such as .com, but to also register your business name with all of the other top level domain names as well. registering the .co.uk, .eu, .org, .info etc. protects your business from any confusion that could arise if another business registers the same domain name as yours, but with a different suffix, which they are entitled to do. The extra costs is well worth it to protect you online business from confusion in customers’ minds. New domains are set to enter the market in 2014…so grab a great domain extenstion such as: