Tips on Finding the Right Domain for Your Start-up

While there are many ways to spot a great start-up business, one key indicator of success is shown by the careful selection of a domain name with great monetization potential.

The trick to the trade often encompasses some common characteristics. A great domain name has to be not only meaningful, but also short enough to be memorable. As we all know, great known names could potentially be worth millions down the road. For example, (sold at $35.6 million in 2010,) (sold at $11 million in 2001,) and (bought by Facebook for $8.5 million in 2010.) Of course, these domains are not valuable because they are short and memorable on their own, but the businesses that have been launched from these domains have made them immensely more valuable as well.

Finding domain names

Not Ready to Commit? No Problem

Start-ups may be risky, but purchasing a domain for your start-up doesn’t have to be. It shouldn’t have to cost you a fortune to buy, either. If you didn’t know already, there are actually options with companies that allow you to lease a domain.

What happens is you get into an agreement with the owner of the domain to lease it to you for a set amount of time, let’s just say a year for now, with the option to purchase the domain outright at the end of your lease if things go well. This means you don’t have to decide right away whether or not your start-up has to commit to this domain name in the long run and have time to build your business long enough to see if it thrives with the domain name. This is exactly what happened with

There is no point sugar-coating the fact that most start-ups indeed fail. But building your start-up on a great domain name is something like opening your store on a busy street where you know there’s going to be a consistent flow of customers—location is essential even on the internet.

By choosing to lease a domain name so that you can get what you want without breaking the bank, you’re able to reduce the risk of not seeing a return on your investment. This should mean a lot to start-ups considering the number of risks that already have to be taken in order to push for a launch.

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photo credit: Cathy Griffiths

Tips for Choosing a Great Domain Name

A great domain name can have customers make the snap judgement to shop with you over competitors. Making your domain name easy to search and access is making their shopping experience more efficient and making their lives easier. Think of it as opening your store in a lonely alley way, no matter how great your products and services are, no one is going to want to go out of their way to discover it initially. So here are some tips to finding the right domain for your start-up:

1. The domain name needs to match your business

This tip is pretty self-explanatory. But it is always important to emphasize what seems to be the obvious as well. Don’t trek off too far from what the main purpose or intentions of your start-up is. The point isn’t to make this a deep, meaningful thing that leaves the customer questioning why you ever named your domain something of no relevance to what you do. It also makes your start-up more memorable if customers are able to associate your name with your products and services.

2. Consider whether or not the domain is SEO friendly

What business wouldn’t like to come up at the top of Google’s domain name search results because their name is a commonly-searched term? Refrain from keywords that are rarely searched. While it may seem that there is less competition, the less people that can potentially find your domain name, the lesser the chances of you reaching more people. For many start-ups, especially eCommerce businesses, this means selecting a name that contains some keywords that are highly search engine optimized. Another tip to note is to refrain from using hyphens; those tend to be forgotten by more searchers.

3. Don’t overlook the pronunciation of your domain name

Your domain name might have a SEO-friendly keyword and looks great on screen but how does it sound when customers say it in real life? The last thing you want is for your customers to not be able to pronounce your company name. Most people tend to avoid using words that they are unsure how to say. Encourage customers to pass on some good vibes from your start-up by making your domain name easy to pass on in a game of telephone.