The Internet is no longer the mystery it was less than twenty years ago. Today, everyone from entrepreneurs to evangelical churches knows the importance of protecting their business or organization by registering a domain name. A domain name is simply their “address” on the Internet. For example, if Suzy owns a bakery named Suzy’s Sweets her domain name may be suzyssweets.com.
But more and more businesses are starting to realize that owning one domain name may not be sufficient. In our example, Suzy may be surprised to find that there is a suzysweets.com or susyssweet.com. These sites may take traffic intended for her to another site. Compounding the problem is that Suzy probably uses her domain name (or url) for her email. So her email may be firstname.lastname@example.org, not to mention everywhere she uses all the marketing material she uses for her name (business cards, letterhead, invoices, etc).
A simple solution to this problem is to register more than one domain name for your organization. In the past, this was an expensive proposition as everybody was racing to get a web presence. Today, there is still a demand, but there’s also greater supply. But how do you conduct a domain name check. Here are some tips to help ensure that you can maximize your investment in a domain name.
Think About How Your Domain Name Could be Confused
If you use a numeral in your address, consider also buying the domain name that spells out the number. This way, if a well-intentioned search types “four” instead of “4”, the traffic will still be redirected to your site. A good everyday example is espn.com. When you type in espn.com, the domain name that will appear is espn.go.com. It doesn’t matter that you didn’t type in espn.go.com; you’re still taken to ESPN’s web site.
Visit Sites That Perform Domain Name Checks
There’s been a practice in the industry for many years known as cybersquatting. Simply put, a cybersquatter will purchase a domain name for the express purpose of selling it for a profit. This can sometimes cost thousands of dollars. By taking a few minutes to visit a reputable site, such as ours, you can save yourself a lot of time and expense by finding out if your domain name is available.
If for some reason, your domain name is owned by someone else. It does not necessarily mean that you’ll have to find something else. It just means you may have to negotiate for it. Most of these cybersquatters will be willing to sell you the name for a reasonable price. And don’t be afraid to walk away. The less desperate you seem, the better position you’ll be in.
Consider Buying Other Extensions
If you’re a commercial organization (i.e. a .com) consider also purchasing your domain name as a .org or even a .gov if you think there’s any chance of it being confused.
In our digital world, your domain name is often the first point of contact between you and your target. Taking a few steps to ensure your domain name is protected will help ensure you maximize the effectiveness of your domain name.