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Finding your Perfect Domain Name: When your .COM isn’t available

Samantha Lloyd on May 28, 2018
online brand domain

There are you, sitting at home, daydreaming of the next business you’d love to run, and inspiration hits – snap! – what’s the first thing you do? You run to your computer to Google whether or not your company name is taken (and possibly to see if that awesome business idea already exists). But then, the seemingly worse case scenario occurs: your go-to .COM domain is already owned by someone else. Your heart immediately sinks. Don’t lose your drive just yet! Many entrepreneurs face this challenge and there are solutions ahead.

So, what happens when you perform a domain search for your business name and it’s already taken? Sometimes you find out that, unfortunately, a good idea suffers from having multiple people interested in it, and your business name will need to adjust – or, if not possible, your domain name will. When you’re certain your business name can’t change, it’s time to find an alternative domain that’ll suit your brand. It’s important to remember that while you should work to protect your brand, others are protecting their brands, too. If your company name is already registered and in a similar industry, then you may need to consider changing your name. Don’t be discouraged when you find out that your business idea or company name already exists. A good idea breeds interest. Take pride in that, and remember that a little competition never hurt anyone!

A lot of new business owners make the decision to purchase a taken domain name that has the “Make an Offer” option. When you see that in search, it likely indicates that an individual already owns the domain name, but the domain may be available for sale. This happens with a lot of popular and common words, and when your company name is already set in stone, this is an issue you may face in your domain search. The best advice we can give is to browse your options. If your company name is a common word, then take time to think about what you need in a domain. While there is no harm reaching out to the domain owner to see if they are interested in selling, there are also other ways to snag a domain similar to the one you wanted.

If the domain owner does not wish to sell, you are not out of luck. Hover offers well over three hundred Top Level Domains (TLDs, or domain extensions). If you have an app on the iOS store and simply want a website link that redirects to the iTunes App Store, then snag a .APP domain name. If you have a cool tech company, what do you need a .COM for? There are .CO domains and .IO domains out there! Whatever type of industry your business is in, I guarantee you that Hover offers a domain extension suitable to you. Don’t get hung up on owning the .COM if you can’t convince the owner to sell. Once your company is a big earner, you can easily justify a higher bid that may encourage the seller to part ways with it. Until then, wait it out on an equally awesome extension.

To decide which extension is best suited for your company, be honest with yourself. What industry do you fall under? You may love the feel of .IO domains and it may happen that it’s on sale when you’re searching, but if you’re in a non-technical industry, that domain isn’t exactly a perfect fit. There are legal and regional restrictions on domains, as well as guidelines for how these domains are typically expected to be used. Fun fact: .IO actually stands for Indian Oceans, however the majority of people associate it with software or technology. A handmade soap company may struggle to have success with a .IO domain name, as everyone landing on that website has an expectation that it’s about a certain topic.

Another option is to purchase your Country Code TLD (ccTLD). Many countries have domains that are restricted to people living and/or operating a business within that country, meaning your ideal domain name is likely to be available. Make sure you follow the guidelines of the ccTLD, as some have language or content requirements.

Another option is to secure a domain name that is entirely related to your type of website. This has the SEO benefit of ranking for the word in that extension, and also helps inform those searching of what to expect from your website. For example, a blog that lives on a .BLOG domain is incredibly useful for informing your audience. If someone is searching for a fashion blog, and your domain is prettycrazyexcitingfashion.BLOG, you’re hitting two of the keywords in this popular search query and anyone searching knows that your website is definitely a blog, due to the extension. Use the extension as an opportunity to tell the story of your business and website.

When your ideal domain name isn’t available in .COM, don’t sweat it! If the domain owner isn’t willing to sell, you are still able to move forward. Have fun with your domain name and grow your brand proudly on it.