How To Choose a Domain and Business Name

Every time you pick up your cell phone as a consumer, you have a ridiculous amount of data sent your way, including from businesses that hope what they are selling will entice you to the point of making a purchase.

Grabbing your attention is the primary key that unlocks the doors of potential opportunities of engagement, leads and sales with customers.

Even if you look at the last five years and the increase in online exposure, there is a lot to consider with a new business start-up regarding choosing the right domain and business name.

So let’s get to some common questions to help you through the process of finding, searching and registering both the business and domain name. If you consider the times if an iconic brand, such as Mcdonald’s Restaurant was launched today using this business name, how successful would it have been? McDonald’s is ultra generic in this highly competitive market, and the word restaurant only tells you the industry without anything specific. Alternatively, another huge brand in the same industry, “Taco Bell” really provides such clarity in its business and domain name where we as consumers understand exactly what this business sells and rings a bell for us to go and get it.

What Is A Domain Name?

A domain name is the web address for your start-up. If someone is looking for your business on the net, the words you provide for the domain will be looked up. The domain is the IP address, which consists of a long list of impossible numbers to remember converted into words that allow easy access and easy to remember the connection to your business.

How To Find The Perfect Name And Tips For Choosing Your Domain

Finding a perfect domain name to use factors in a combination of a number of items including:

Should The Business And Domain Name Be The Same?

Yes, yes and yes! This is about building awareness of your business brand. If your business and domain name are different, there is an automatic disconnect with customers that puts distance between your business and revenues. It’s that simple. If either the business name or domain name is not available, move on to find a new name that is available to both.

Should The Business Name Provide Words Related To My Business?

Absolutely, descriptive keywords in your company name and domain name become self-promoting for SEO or search engine optimization. If you select general words, it becomes harder for search engines to understand what your business does and therefore it is easier for your business to get lost in a sea of unutilized names. When Google and other search engines crawl your registered business name, they hunt for keywords just the same as they do in your website’s content. Having a name that pushes forward with what you do is always a top priority in choosing the perfect domain name.

Industry specific keywords quickly tell search engines and potential clients what you do. For example if you are looking for new tires for your car which of these two sites would you choose to click: Tom’s Garage Hamilton or Tire Kings GTA? I bet everyone reading this chooses the secondary one, as the business name is specific to what people are looking for. Of course, the search engines will push forward business names that provide exactly what someone wants.

How Long Should The Domain Or Business Name Be?

Keeping in mind what I just wrote above, the best option is keep the name short. Don’t get bogged down with listing a number of services or products, focus on what you do and where you believe the volume for your startup is and get the domain and business name to match that focus. If you can, try to keep the name to two or three strong words and that’s it.

Where Do I Start In Finding A Name?

There are several things to think about when naming the startup. The one item that I have already conveyed is to focus and find the one defining item that will bring customers to your door, whether physically or virtually.

Be Specific

As an example, you are opening a restaurant focused on a lunch menu mostly deli with sandwiches, soups, desserts, and drinks. What do you focus on with these key elements to what your business is? If you believe your focus is to sell deli sandwiches, that is the first key identifier for your business and what else do you want to convey? Is it quick, scrumptious, unique? Try to think of words that speak to others something enticing about what you are offering. Deli Favourite, well that is okay, but the keyword favourite is not very appealing. Delish Deli, now this conveys that you are going to have something delicious and if you are looking for a deli, this is a place to try.

Location or Geography

Another item to consider when choosing your domain is if your business is geographically bound. Many businesses on the net can serve people worldwide, but a large portion of companies are specific to a particular geographical location such as body shops, restaurants, plumbers, handypersons, landscaping and the list goes on. Why not use this to your advantage? If your business is designated to serve a specific community, highlight this in your business name. Cabbagetown Plumbers, as an example. Anyone in this area will choose a company that services where they live, eat and breathe.

Convey Mood For Your Business

Most of us are driven emotionally to some degree when making a purchase so why not use words that bring the emotion out in your potential client. When it comes to the boring things we all have to do such as oil changes, tire purchases, or dry cleaning services, do you ever notice that these businesses use words to emphasize service speed, using words like fast oil changes, quick tire change, speedy laundry. These descriptive words are used for the simple reason that no one wants to wait to have any of these items completed. When it comes to a more personal service, keywords such as pampered, care, mom, spa, soothing and love are used more commonly. These keywords invoke an emotion of being taken care of. Can you imagine a business name called “Speedy Nails” or “Soothing Oil Change”. You get my point.

Dictionary Versus Coined Words

If you can use dictionary words, it’s the best scenario for your business. You will also want to ensure that the name is easy to pronounce and understand. If you change a well-understood dictionary word to spin it into a made-up word, you have to work much harder to get this brand name in people’s minds and more specifically, memory. Quik Tires versus Quick Tires may seem like a small difference, but how many people will use the dictionary word trying to find your business and will the made-up word take them to you. It is a gamble to do this and you will have to work harder, but if you are able to get it across to people and have it stick, it may be effective, it will just cost you more to get there.

What Should I Stay Away From?

Try to stay away from punctuation and numbers in the business name and domain names. Susan’s Gourmet is difficult when it comes to the domain name, as is a name like Pristine-Windows. Punctuation only confuses people, so why do it? AVOID HYPHENS.

Always Choose A Name That People Will Remember

A great way to test the potential name of your business is to say it to someone and five minutes later ask them if they remember it. This will quickly tell you if you have a winner. Test it with several people. In general, if the name easily rolls off the tongue, is easy to spell and easy to type, more likely than not, it will be remembered. Find the easiest name to remember with the biggest punch for your brandable domain.

What Is A TLD?

TLD stands for top level domain. It is the ending of your domain choice name and provides an extension to your business name that provides additional details about your business to anyone searching your website. The top level domains typically are related to the country code where the business resides. For example .ca is Canada, .au is Australia, .com is The United States, etc.

Domain Registration Essential Tips, The Do’s And Don’ts

Before you check to see if the business name is available you want to consider a few other things, such as the top level domains including .ca .com .org. .net .biz and so on. If you are in Canada, the .ca is an absolute. When it comes to domain registration .ca tells every person and every search engine that your business is in Canada. If you are in Canada, whether you are dealing with a local community or international community, you will want the .ca. The .com extension is the second-highest choice. This is the country code for the United States and whether your business is going to seek international clients or not, having the .com gives you higher authority and protects your brand name at the same time. These are called top-level domains. There are ever-expanding available second tier TLDs, but these are not as significant.

Common Misspellings Of Domain

You may also wish to purchase or look at purchasing the domain names that are a variation of your domain and business spelling. As an example, if your business name is Toronto Plumbers, you may also want to obtain the domain registrations for Tronto Plumber or Toronto Plumers for spelling errors made by potential clients, so you can grab this connection as well.

Check For Spammer Domains

It is wise to check for expired domains to ensure any history related to the domain choice before completing the actual domain registration. Some domains are used by spammers who eventually are penalized because of their activity and will dump the domain back into being available for other individuals. You can check if history exists for your domain choice name at waybackmachine. This is a simple tool to ensure the domain has never been in circulation prior to your purchase.

Playing Defense To Protect Your Brandable Domain

There are a few things to consider with this. Firstly, some people make it their business to gobble up domain names close to active newly registered domains to then push for you to purchase closely related domains to yours for a significant price increase. Secondly, competitors may obtain closely named domains to pull business away from your site to something closely related to your business. This may not be something that you need to do right away for your start-up but it certainly is significant as your business begins to grow and your domain authority becomes stronger.

Our business actually had a competitor register an almost exact same domain name. We contacted CIRA (the Canadian Internet Registration Authority) to assist us, as there are parameters set up where when you register a domain, your intention is never to infringe on another domain name, especially within your industry. We ended up having to litigate over this matter and it took months to conclude where the competitor had to transfer the domain to us.

How Many Years Should I Register The Domain For?

Each year provides additional fees for your business to absorb and the only benefit is that you won’t be coming up for renewal of the domain as quickly. Outside of this, there is no benefit to registering for a longer year term on your domain. It’s cheap to start with one year and, if the domain is effective for your business, you can choose a longer timeframe down the road.

Tools To Help Find The Perfect Domain Name

There are tools available, such as squadhelp, that offer domain name generator assistance.

Now Comes The Fun Part Of Seeing If Your Business Name Is Available!

Selecting a business name can be compared to selecting a child or pets name. You really want the name you have determined to be the one, to be available.

There is the rare opportunity and availability to simultaneously check the domain and business name together in one place. If you are starting a business in Canada, it is vital to search the NUANS database to determine whether the selected business name to either register or incorporate is available. At the same time, you have access to search the domain registry to confirm that the domain name is available as well. This provides clients with the best opportunity to know and secure both vital components to the business choices together. If either are not available, then neither are completed and you can provide a new name at no additional cost.

Ontario Business Central strives to provide the best possible service and care to our clients. We are the #1 incorporators and registrants across Canada, and we are one of the only companies in our industry where you can both search and register the business and domain name simultaneously.  We offer advanced features with your domain registration with us including the domain name for 1 year, contract privacy protection where we provide a non-disclosure under who.is, free SSL certificate and domain lock to protect from unauthorized domain transfer.

You can start your business by registering a business or completing an Incorporation and at the same time, search and register your domain within the same request.

Start an online business easily with us.  Choose from registering a Sole Proprietorship, General Partnership or Incorporation within Canada and select domain search at the same time. It’s that simple. The business and domain name both need to be available and if either is not, you can provide a new business/domain name at no additional cost. If you aren’t too sure of the differences between these types of registrations, we have written a great blog explaining “What is the Difference Between Registering a Business and Incorporating?”.

Ontario Business Central has assisted 210,000+ individuals with the first step of starting their business.  With both the business and domain registration simultaneously, you are well on your way whether you are getting your business online. When you choose the perfect domain and business name together, the best opportunity exists whether your start-up is an ecommerce business, brick and mortar storefront or something in between. Having a great start before getting your WordPress site built or obtaining your social media handles has never been easier.

If you have any questions along the way, our helpful agents are just a phone call or email away, from Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm.

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Ontario Business Central Inc. is not a law firm and cannot provide a legal opinion or advice. This information is to assist you in understanding the requirements of registration within the chosen jurisdiction. When you have legal or accounting questions, we recommended that you speak to a qualified professional.