How to Find a Domain Name for Your Tech Startup
Tech startups come in various forms: From simple online stores and blogs to biotech companies battling the issues plaguing our world, all of them have one thing in common: They use the Internet to promote their work and products. Finding the right domain name for your tech company assists in building up your brand and reputation.
While local domain names work for local businesses, for tech companies often the need to communicate is much broader. Many tech companies choose to go for:
- “.com” - never a mistake for any type of project, but not always available.
- “.co” - as an alternative to already-registered “.com”-domains
- “.io” (input/output) or “.sh” (shell) as references to their tech nature.
With the startup domain search below you can check these domains as well as commonly used social media channels:
Do My Business Name and Domain Have to Match (exactly)?
It is not a must for them to match but it certainly helps. It pays off to follow the above mentioned Gold standard. If one hears about your business and tries to search online for its website, you would want them to land on your website without any hassle. Getting it wrong can confuse a potential customer or worse — they may end up on a competitor's website.
Should I Buy the “.com”-domain for My Startup?
For startups in the tech space, a dot-com domain can be worth quite a lot of money. Regularly, quality domain names matching the business name change hands for multi-million-dollar prices. Whether or not this is the right path for you depends mainly on your business and budget. While it also shows potential users that you are serious about your business, the time might be better spent building and promoting your products.
Can I Use a Trademarked Name as Part of My Domain Name?
If your domain name includes a trademarked name, then you are generally at risk of infringement. It's highly recommended avoiding this as it potentially hurts your business in the long run.
Instead of using brands, you can try to replace the words with more generic words — e.g. “car” instead of “BMW”. This way you keep yourself on the safe side as well as making it more future proof by being a little more generic.
Should I Buy Multiple Domain Extensions for My Company?
Owning more extensions does not necessarily increase traffic. It's not recommended purchasing several low-quality TLDs to “own” them all. People don't just type words with “.com” anymore in the address bar. Even if they do, modern browsers redirect them to their default search engine.
Only quality domains with actual traffic are worth the expense. If you get a chance on an often mistyped version of your business name it might make sense. In this case, grab the opportunity and redirect the new domain to your page. For these redirects use 301-redirects on exact matching paths.
What If My Domain Name Is Already Taken?
If you domain name isn't available anymore because someone registered there are a few options. If the domain name is taken you can try the following:
See if an abbreviation works
An abbreviated version may not be the perfect way to go, but it can be effective in certain cases. Such an alternative is particularly useful when most of the general names are already registered. If something like “JackAndJaneStore.com” is not available, then you can try “JJstore.com” or “JackJaneStore.com”.
Try a Catchphrase
If abbreviation doesn't work, then you can go for a domain name that contains a catchphrase or slogan. “HealthFirst.com” is an example for this approach.
For a local business, the phrase should consist of the location name to make it SEO-friendly, like “HealthFirstChicago.com”. Focus and take your time to go through the options and choose wisely. As mentioned above, if you limit your name too much you might limit your potential market.
Check if it is for Sale
Make sure you visit the domain to see if it shows a “for sale” page. This is more common than you might expect.
Alternatively, you can visit domain trading platforms such as Sedo and Flippa to find out if your desired domain is listed there. When you search on Startup Name Check, it usually shows you if a domain is for sale in the results.
If you don't find your dream name listed for sale you still don't have to give up. You can always contact the owner and see if it is for sale. A website like whois.sc can help you trace the owner. If the “privacy mode” is switched off, whois provides the needed information to reach out. Hunter might help as well to find a contact email address if whois is hiding the information. Contact the domain owner via email to check out the possibility of a purchase.
You should be closer to finding the right domain name for your business by now. If you still have any questions, please don't hesitate to get in touch.
If you are still running your project under a "code-name" or simply are unsure about your business name, you might find this guide to identifying a great business name useful. Afterwards it's highly recommended to check if your name is actually available.