If you’re running an online business, an error message telling you that the domain name unavailable is enough to ruin your day. You put in months of hard work in brand planning, knowing your audience, tailoring your value proposition and finally find that perfect brand name that captures the essence of your offering only to find out that your domain name has been registered. Honestly, a situation like this not just halt your progress, but can also make you redo everything you’ve done so far.
Domain name is something that you wouldn’t want to compromise on as it is pretty much the face of your brand online. But, it’s not just you who is chasing that easy to remember, customer friendly, SEO valuable domain name. Let me tell you what you can do if your domain name unavailable.
Buy it if you can:
Many people get so disheartened to see that their preferred domain name is unavailable taken that they just leave the registration website without even thinking of a way out. If your preferred domain name is already taken you can still buy it. Find out the domain owner’s contact details using Whois.com. If they’re public, you can reach out to them easily. If protected, do some research to find out the owner’s email and reach out. Note, this might cost you a fortune or the owner might turn down your offer. In such a case, you can probably go after the ones that come close but are no longer in use. They will be relatively cheaper to buy
If your preferred domain name is already taken, try prefixing a verb to generate one that isn’t. This way, you still get what you want with an added benefit of more recall capacity. People interact with your brand to ‘buy’, ‘do’, ‘get’, ‘try’ something, why not add this to your domain name itself is the first choice domain name unavailable.
Expansion can help:
I understand that you might want to keep your domain name the same as your brand name but minimal, easy to remember at the same time (especially if your brand name is more than a word). But, don’t worry if that one highlight word is already taken, use your complete brand name in your domain. The second word is just an extension of your brand name so people will still be able to relate your field with you.
However, if your brand name is just a single world, prefix or suffix it with the world that closely, but intuitively describes your industry to come up with a new domain name. For example, Vistara airlines uses www.airvistara.com instead of www.vistara.com
Consider a ccTLD:
TLD (Top-level domain) is the last segment of the domain name. Commonly, the ‘.com’ part of it. What I’m trying to say is that you don’t have to chase .com all the time. If your preferred domain name with your preferred TLD domain name unavailable, consider buying one with a different TLD. Country specific TLDs like ‘.in’ for India, ‘.au’ for Australia and so on are considered as authentic as .com. However, do some research before considering an alternate TLD. Some of them like .ru, .info, .click etc. are associated with spam and are banned in certain countries.
Use country name:
If the domain name with your brand name is already taken, you can create one that isn’t by adding your country / geography of operation to it. This way you don’t lose authenticity at all. However, it might give a message that you operate in that geography only. If that’s not the case, put some thought because using this alternative.
Consider using abbreviations:
If your brand name is long or explicitly speaks about what you do and promotes your digital marketing efforts, it is a good idea to experiment with abbreviations as they are easy to remember. See how Pricewaterhouse Coopers usese pwc, Merrill Lynch uses ml, World Wildlife Fund uses wwf? Use something catchy for your business as well if your domain name is taken.
Use a catchphrase:
Catchphrases are easy to remember. If your brand name domain name unavailable, consider using a slogan highlighting what you stand for in your URL. People tend to immediately link ‘Just Do It’ to Nike and the website www.justdoit.com directly takes you to Nike’s homepage. Come up with something catchy for your brand and plug it into your domain name
Set up domain monitoring:
If you are still eyeing the domain name that you so badly wanted and you aren’t willing to settle for anything other than that, keep an eagle’s eye on it to know about any changes in its registration status or its date of expiry. You might have to ‘snatch’ it somehow.
Realizing that your preferred domain name unavailable and there isn’t much that you can do about it can be a hard pill to swallow. But, the good news is that there’s always a workaround. You just need to get over that ‘.com’ mentality.