My 3 Big Mistakes with Domain Names for My Businesses
If you are just starting out your online presence, one of the first things on your to-do list is to find a domain name. This is a fun part for me – exploring different names and finding what is available. I bought my first domain name over 10 years ago but I made three big mistakes with domain names for my businesses. Take a moment to learn from my mistakes, because they are BIG ones that you don’t want to make!
Mistake #1: Purchase all the available names.
I made a HUGE mistake when I chose YourTherapySource.com. After finding what I thought was the perfect name (which it isn’t but more on that later), I purchased the .com ending only to save money. I didn’t know if the business would go anywhere so I didn’t want to spend too much of my $500 budget to get it started. Turns out that was a HORRIBLE idea. Another company purchased the .net ending after me, therefore, there were two Your Therapy Source websites. Thankfully, after my company started to do well, years later the other website changed their web address but that was true luck.
I never made that mistake again. For the other two domain names I own, I purchased the traditional web addresses to avoid the risk.
Mistake #2: Shorter is better.
Learn from my mistakes – shorter is better. YourTherapySource is a MOUTHFUL! It makes email addresses super long and people never know is it Therapy Source? My Therapy Source? You Therapy Source? Again, I have been lucky since all of those searches now put me at the top of Google search anyway but it didn’t always do that.
GrowingPlay and Blauthors are much shorter, easier for email addresses and quicker to type.
Mistake #3: Don’t let a good domain name expire.
Early on I had two domain names related to Your Therapy Source. Originally, my idea for the website was something else, and when I started to specialize in school based therapy, I had a small website going with the domain name schoolbasedtherapy.com. This was years ago, when Microsoft let you have domain names and websites for free. I would occasionally post information on the website but never stayed up with it. At one point, I did get an email saying if I didn’t start paying, it would expire. Well, it fell to the bottom of the email list and it expired…
Two lessons learned here:
- If you have a good domain name related to your website, make sure to stay on top of the registration for it.
- If you change the focus of your website early on and the domain name doesn’t match, you may want to rebrand sooner rather than later (or never in my case). In hindsight, I should have changed YourTherapySource to SchoolBasedTherapy early on for better branding purposes.
10 Things TO DO RIGHT With Domain Names
When you are first choosing your domain name, registering it and finding a hosting solution, it can feel like an overwhelming process. Here are 10 things to DO RIGHT with domain names and avoid my mistakes:
- Create a list of potential domain names that end in .com. Choose names that are all professional and support my business vision, brand, and mission. Make sure they are easy to remember, easy to spell, and unique.
- Identify a preferred domain registrar service.
- Register my domain(s) including my primary domain name and relevant and supporting domain names. For example, business.com, business.biz, business.net.
- Double check to make sure my contact information is correct with my domain registrar.
- Set domains to auto-renew. This step prevents you from missing a notification email and accidentally losing my domain name.
- Choose to register my domain as private or public.
- Verify your information in the Whois database.
- Choose a website host that meets your requirements including web space, bandwidth, price, support, daily automatic backups, SSL, etc.
- Set up your business email addresses with my website host.
- Choose a template, hire a designer, and/or put up a placeholder page so visitors will find information rather than a blank page.
Now you are off to a much better start that I was! Complete the 10 steps and you’re ready to start creating content for your website and driving traffic.
Resource for Running a Successful Online Business
Running a Successful Online Business – 12 Checklists to Help You on the Path to Success digital download includes 120 actionable steps to take your business to the next level all in one easy to access format. This resource includes the 10 steps about domain names in checklist format.