In part one of this article we explored the believe that many entrepreneur hold about giving their venture with a six-letter, two-syllable name. This article covers the downside of these names, as well as the true gold standard in naming.
Whether it’s a six-letter name or not, sometimes you’ll fall in love with a name that is already registered. This can alert you to impending trademark conflicts, but often times the name will still be viable from a legal standpoint. So what do you do?
Here are three common methods for getting around domain registration issues:
Tried and True
Consider adding a variation to the end of the URL. Some common examples include consulting.com, education.com, accounting.com, or firm.com.
These naming add-ons are commonly used in a variety of industries. They can be helpful because they allow you to use your catchy name while adding a descriptive element that immediately conveys the core value of your business to customers. While these domains aren’t right for everyone, they can be a great way to proceed. URLs like __lawfirm.com describe to prospects as well as search engine bots exactly what you do.
As an example, the Squadhelp community created the name “StoneEagle Advisors” (stoneeagleadvisors.com) for a business advisory company. While the URL Stoneeagle.com would likely have been pricey–if available at all–adding “advisors” to the end not only lowered the URL price but also provided customers with a clear description of what the company does.
A newer trend is an add-on to the front side of the domain. For example, many tech companies add “get” to the front of their URL – the most famous example of this URL style is Dropbox, who used the domain getdropbox.com when starting the company.
Another common front-end add-on is WorkWith, which both lowers the URL price and provides the additional benefit of including a call to action right in the URL. This structure is commonly used with lifestyle advisors, nutritionists, and other single-person businesses, and such as WorkWithKari.com.
You’ll also frequently see websites beginning with the word “my” – myboston.com, mycoffee.com, and myseo.com are all examples. Using this URL prefix helps personalize your company, and gives your customers a sense of ownership over your product or service.
“The” and “go” as well as industry specific add-ons like “app,” “wear,” “motors” are all excellent ways to use a great name when the base URL is not available or too expensive, because as the Co-founder of Basecamp Jason Fried says, “names are bigger than domains.”
Finally, you may consider branching out from the ubiquitous .com at the end of your URL. While there are now hundreds of URL endings, you’ll find that many companies in the same industry will choose to use the same URL ending. This standardization is an easy way to indicate to consumers what kind of company you are.
.org for non-profits and .edu for educational institutes have been a well use standard for many years now. Some URL endings that are gaining popularity include: .io for tech startups (or larger tech companies) and .co for small businesses and new startups. Using one of these different endings likely means you’ll encounter far less competition for your chosen name, and lower competition allows for more options and lower prices.
Which URL style is best for your startup?
As we said in part one of this article, the style of URL that you choose to use depends on your company, your products, and your goals. Businesses that operate in industries with standardized naming structures, such as marketing firms, consulting agencies, or business advisors, can benefit from including a descriptive ending to their name and URL.
If you found a short name that you love, but the domain is not available or is out of your price range, consider adding a prefix to your name, or trying out one of the less common URL endings. No matter which method you chose, remember that your URL doesn’t have to be permanent – it can shrink, pivot, or change as your company grows.