Buying a domain name for your business is a parallel task that should be part of branding and business registration. The registered business name should be the same or at least extremely close as the name on the website.  So, the domain choice is not just an afterthought; it is supposed to be a core agenda. Before you make that decision, here are some things you will need to check:

The TLD extension

For most people, almost every domain ends with a dot com extension. In fact, a study conducted on TLD extensions suggested that most people view sites not having the dot com TLD are not genuine. If someone found two websites with similar names but with different TLDs, the dot com version is seen as an official one. Others are seen as imitations, but you can always check the authenticity of the website.  However, there are other extensions that go well with certain niche markets and areas. for example, nonprofits and general organizations do well with a dot org domain. Educational websites go well with dot ac and dot Edu.

Before you buy a domain, you must ensure whether a dot-com version of the website is owned by someone else. If it has been taken, you had a better look for a different name. Work with this extension first before trying to look for other extensions. Sometimes the extensions do not matter that much if you know your SEO and value proposition well.

A domain name that can act as a brand

If you want to work for a niche market, choosing a domain name that captures the keywords that you want to dominate can help you rank faster. Though the keyword product description is very difficult to win on the search engine results pages, a website that has some modest SEO work will end up on page one if it has something such as as the domain.

However, such a domain name is not brandable and is unlikely to gain mainstream attention. If you are looking for viral brand growth, you will need something short and catchy as your brand name. Think of names such as IKEA, Apple, Moz, eBay, etc. Such short names are easy to brand. If you want to target a small group of customers, you are better off using the long-tail keyword approach.

Do your patent research

Well, buying a domain name that already has a patent will expose you to numerous legal roadblocks in the future. You could lose the domain in the process. If the dot com option is not available, probably someone already owns it. They are probably branding it. If you buy a dot net or org extension for the same, you will practically be doing the work for the person.

The beauty of it is that patents are usually available online, and you can check them just to be sure. You can also use social media to check name availability. You will not be able to use social media effectively without accounts that have your website name. If social media usernames are not there, you should reconsider the name.

Buying A Domain

If you don’t want to invest too much effort, you can always choose an expired domain name. According to, domain names acquired through such methods can rank easily because they already have valuable backlinks. Expired domains also have an online history, domain authority, and social equity, which are valuable when it comes to ranking keywords.

The uniqueness of the domain

Is there a site with a similar website? Is there a brand name that you believe uses a similar domain as the one you are thinking of? If the answer is yes on all or one occasion, you are trending on the wrong path. Some businesses do not see the need to buy major extensions of their brand name. For example, it was possible to buy a Google TLD just the other day. Doing so will give the website some level of success, but lawsuits will bankrupt it. Try to be unique from the word go. Don’t try to be clever. You are creating a business that you want to outlast you. You are not an opportunist hoping to sell the domain back to the owner for a profit.

Reconsider numbers and hyphen usage

A number or hyphen makes this chaotic every time. SEO experts believe that hyphens help machines read the domain name much easier. However, the confusion can lead to embarrassing situations, especially when it involves more than one hyphen in the domain name. You should avoid such TLDs. Numbers, too, can bring confusion. For example, O and 0 are often confused.

Choosing a domain name is a strategic decision for a company. It must be done in a way that supports the business’ objectives. If branding is a priority, picking a short name under a dot com extension is ideal. If winning a niche-machine is the goal, keyword-rich domains work best.

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Vineet Maheshwari is a passionate blogger and relationship oriented digital marketing consultant with over 10 years of experience in SEO, PPC management, web analytics, domain investing, affiliate marketing and digital strategy. He has helped high tech brands connect with customers in an engaging manner, thereby ensuring that high quality leads are generated over time.