7 min read

How to Choose and Register a Domain Name


Eleana Stylianou
Content Writer
Contributor
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Do you want to help your website and, ultimately, your business grow and become successful? The most important thing you should be aware of before you start building your website or even updating an existing one is to pick and register the right name.

If you want your business to flourish, your domain name should be easy so that users remember and find it easily, as well as suggesting the nature of your service or product. Remember that your domain name can be used as a strong trademark so that your competitors won’t be able to use a similar domain or even business name and also avoid any legal conflicts with other businesses having the same trademark.

Are you ready to build your website and grow your business? Here is a quick and easy guide on how to choose and register the best domain name for all your business endeavours.

Choosing a Domain Name

Even though people like to think otherwise, the best domain names are actually the simplest ones that are memorable, short, clever and easy to pronounce and spell. But, you should also be aware that sometimes such a web-friendly name might have several competitors with similar names and products. Therefore, it’s very important to obtain the right trademark protection scheme for the domain you choose.

Can You Get Trademark Protection?

If you decide on a domain name that is straightforward and describes your service or product perfectly, you need to be aware that it will be harder to protect as a trademark; this will not be the case if you choose a very clever and distinctive domain name. For example, some great and catchy domains such as drugs.com, tea.com and business.com are not entitled to much trademark protection as they aren’t unique names. Instead, these domain names identify entire groups of products or services. Also, other domain names which use surnames (like cornish.com) or geographic identifiers (like nyc.com) won’t be eligible for trademark protection, either.

Balance Competing Concerns to Find the Best Name

Even though there will be inadequate trademark protection on ordinary domain names, they can also be very powerful because of the way internet is used and how users search to find the information they need. Users will search for simple words and click on catchy domains to find what they are looking for.

You should take the time and carefully consider what is more important to you; choosing a clever domain name and protecting it under trademark law or finding a simple and catchy domain that will not be very easy to protect as a trademark. But, the problem with using a unique name such as amazon.com or ebay.com is that to be successful with these names requires extensive marketing efforts and research.

To grab the attention and trust of customers with a domain that has nothing to do with your underlying services can be challenging and not as easy to find on the web- at least initially.

A good idea would be to introduce a balancing strategy in choosing the best name for your company. You can do that by deciding on a domain name that suggests your product or service but still remains relatively unique such as askjeeves.com or medscape.com. Similar domain ideas are distinctive, protectable by trademark law and easy enough to remember so that consumers can associate your services with this domain name and coin it like Google or eBay did.

Another great strategy is to use two domain names for your products or services. You can use one unique and distinctive domain name such as keets.com and another general and broader one such as drugs.com and both domain names will represent the same site and business. This way, your customers can find the first generic domain, and once they try visiting this site they will be redirected to your unique name which can be easily protected by trademark law. This way you will kill two birds with one stone.

Domain Name Assignment Agreement

This Agreement is made between the Purchaser and the Seller. This is used when a Seller agrees to sell, transfer and assign a domain name and a Purchaser agrees to purchase.

Finding a Name That Hasn’t Been Taken

This can be one of the toughest tasks of the whole process; most names, especially the best ones, have been snatched up already. It can be really frustrating when you already have your business registered and that same name is not available online. For example, if your business is called Tasty Drinks and the domain name TastyDrinks.com is already owned by someone else. So, what do you do in this case? Well, you either have to use a different domain name to satisfy your website needs, change your entire business’s name or follow other options for getting the domain you want and suits your business.

The best way to find out whether your desired domain name is available or taken is to use this search engine: www.networksolutions.com and see if your business name is still up for grabs. All you need to do is type the name you want, pick one extension (it doesn’t always have to be a .com extension) and click on “Search”. The website will let you know whether that name is available or not. In case your desired name is unavailable, the website will offer you some other names, similar to your choice which are currently available.

However, your domain name can be at risk if it conflicts (on legal grounds) with other identical/or similar commercial trademarks that already exist on the internet. Therefore, if you want to avoid this risk and protect yourself and your business, it would be better to do a trademark search beforehand.

Registering Your Domain Name

After choosing a domain name that is both catchy and legally safe, you need to go online and register your little “diamond” with a legit domain name registrar. An example of this is www.register.com, or you can also do some price comparison before buying a domain. You can do this at www.internic.net/alpha.html where you will find all the approved domain name registries.

Apart from registering the domain name related to your business, you might also want to register the names of your services and products or any other related affiliations with your business name, to increase your chances of getting found on the internet. Just think of this example: if your specialization is designing and selling fashionable jeans and your domain name is fashionjeansta.com you might also want to register jeans.com so that people who will be looking for fashionable jeans and click on “jeans” also land on your site.

Another very good idea would be to register common misspellings of your original domain or of other names that represent the nature of your services or products like “fashionablejins.com” “fashionable clothes” “fashion jeans” etc. But, you need to be careful because it isn’t legal to register a domain name just because you want to block someone else who has a legitimate right to use it. You don’t want to cause any legal conflicts just because of some silly competition for your domain name.

Registration of a Domain Name Agreement

This Agreement is concluded between the Registrant and the Client. The Registrant agrees to perform domain name search and registration services for the Client.

Applying for Trademark Protection

As soon as you settle on a domain name and register it in the right places, the last - yet one of the most important - things you need to do is apply for trademark protection with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) if you are in the USA or through your country’s Patent and Trademark Office.

Even though it is not necessary to register your business and domain as your trademark with the Patent and Trademark Office if you want to establish the rights to this domain name, in so doing you will benefit from other things as well. Registering your trademark gives you the power to enforce your rights on anyone else who tries to use this name for their own benefit; to market similar products or services, as well as stop others from registering the same name with the Patent and Trademark Office before you do.

If you don’t register your trademark, and someone else does then it will be very difficult to enforce any rights to the name; they might even try to use the name if you have done everything else correctly. Therefore, it is better to be safe than sorry and register your business and domain name as your own trademark even though you might not be legally required to do so.

Follow this guide if you want to help your website and business grow and eventually achieve all your business goals. Professional websites such as Starting Business can help you in the process of choosing the best domain for your website, as well as applying for trademark protection.

Have you ever registered a domain name for your business before? Share your experience in the comments section below...

Eleana Stylianou Content Writer
Business and employment specialist
Business and employment specialist

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