Once you have chosen the product or service niche for your online business and further researched the availability and profit potential for those products, it is time to choose a name for your business and your online domain.
Pull out your notebook and start brainstorming again. The name you choose should be a definite reflection of the items or services you are selling. Repeat after me, “My business is about my products or services, it is not about me.” Your potential customers will be searching for your products or services, they will not be searching for you. Yes, you have to sell yourself as someone they can trust but this will be conveyed indirectly through the professionalism of your website and the excellent customer service you are going to provide.
Have you ever clicked on a website that has a picture of the owner on the home page along with their autobiography? What was your impression? I can tell you that nine times out of ten, a potential customer will click away from this page. They were not looking for you, they were looking for your product. Save the information about yourself for an “About Me” page on your website. The same goes for your business name – make it about your product or service.
Choose a Business Name That Is Unique and Relevant
Ideally your business name should include a keyword phrase that is relevant to your product or service. This will help your website rank better in the search engine results. Ditto this for your domain name. If my business is selling organic dog treats, I would name my business accordingly and try to get www.organicdogtreats.com as my domain name (the address of your website on the Internet).
Once you’ve selected a few business names, you will want to check to see if the corresponding domain name is available. To do this, go to http://www.networksolutions.com and perform a domain name search. Type in your preferred domain name, and uncheck the .net extension. You only want to select a domain name with the .com extension. The reason for this is that we are all trained to type in .com as our first choice when typing in a website address. You want to make it as easy as possible for your customers to be able to find you. Most customers will not think to try a .net or .biz extension when typing in your website address.
If your first choice is not available, look at the suggested domain names that the search will kick out for you. Maybe one of these will work. If not, use your imagination until you come up with a business name and domain name that are the same or very close. Your domain name could be a shorter version of your full business name. Steer clear of adding an “s” or “the” to an existing domain that is already taken. You want your name to be unique so you don’t accidentally send your potential customers to someone else’s website.
Now you will want to do an Internet search on your chosen business name. What results come up? Is there already an existing company with the same or very similar business name? If so, go back to the drawing board. Don’t skip this step! Again, you don’t want to send potential sales to someone else’s website.
You also need to register your business name with your state. This can be done through either your county clerk’s office or your state government. Not all states require you to register your DBA (Doing Business As). Check for your state’s requirements on the Small Business Administration’s website:
Once you’ve determined your business and domain name write it down. Do not purchase your domain name yet. Next we will look at choosing a web hosting company for your website and the process will be simpler if you purchase your domain name from the same company that will be hosting your website.