Even if you do not plan to maintain or sell on a website. If you don’t already have your own domain, you should still consider grabbing your dot com domain name now.
Having your own domain looks and feels more professional and it increases your credibility. This also gives you the ability to set-up your own official, custom email address!
It is recommended that you choose a dot com because that is what the majority of people assume it will be, it is most professional, and you don’t want anyone else to have it. It’s not that you’re stingy, it’s that you want to avoid brand confusion. You don’t want to pour years of effort into a brand name and then not be able to get the domain later or worse, have someone ask you to change your name because they have the dot com, have had it for years, etc.
Before you run off to check availability of your domain name
Seriously though. Don’t just go randomly around putting your name out there to see if it’s available. Sometimes I check availability on Google Domains because I’m ready to purchase immediately, but if you’re “just shopping”, the school of thought is to use WhoIs. As I learned it; you have less of a chance that interest in the name that YOU want will suddenly cause it to become unavailable.
Tips for choosing a name:
Shorter is better. Preferably 15 characters or less.
Before purchasing, do a few quick searches …is it available on social media too? Hopefully you’re the one who has it.
Spell words correctly and try not to make up words or use words that are difficult to spell. While it can be clever to make things up, your customers may not be able to think of, or remember it.
Having your own domain can be as simple and inexpensive or as large and expensive as you like. You can typically use the name and re-direct it to your current shop. Unless your brand already has a reliable following, it is best not to plan to replace your marketplace shop like Etsy or Amazon, that already has traffic. While a great addition, having your own domain does not mean that people will simply be drawn to it.
A word about extensions …there are so many now, and so many of them are cool like “dot shop” and “dot fun”, the problem with these is that someone can still take your dot com. Also some sites might not recognize them as true web addresses. I had dot fun for a while and it was cool… but not really worth keeping active and I’ve had trouble using email from that domain as a log-in. Choose the one that suits you and your business and if you’re going to go for .somethingfun …consider getting the same .com!
Need to fine tune a domain name that suits your business? You can try LeanDomainSearch. This site can be pretty fun! While I found that the accuracy can be hit or miss, it can still help you brainstorm ideas with suggestions and even tell you if a name is too long for Twitter (in case that matters to you). There’s a name generator and sort by features. There are other sites that do similar things, but I didn’t feel overly confident with sharing them. If you use any of them, just remember, it’s just to do a little research and you’re ready to jump on the right name.
Google Domains – My favorite for domains that I am “collecting” and may or may not build on. It’s inexpensive ($12/yr), simple, and includes privacy protection.
GoDaddy – Their costs tend to add up, but this is where I host my domains, so I sometimes purchase from and/or renew GoDaddy domains. They’re also pretty reliable and helpful.