In the past, we’ve spoken about how to make your domain name work better for your business, but here is some further information to consider before even registering a domain for your website.
Does the Domain Reflect my Brand?
Obviously, since your company name is the first thing that someone comes into contact with and will be what potential clients or customers remember, your name and the brand image that you build around that name matters significantly. Your domain, then, should reflect this name and branding as much as possible. Whether this means going with a unique New Top Level Domain (nTLD), or going with a country specific domain. It’s important to consider exactly what kind of image you want your domain to portray.
What is the Domain History?
When you think that you have found a domain name that you feel perfectly represents your brand, aside from checking that it is available, you need to check into the history of the domain. This can be done in a few different steps. First, you should use a WHOIS domain lookup tool like this, which will tell you if the domain is available, and if not, then who owns it. You can then manually follow the steps to figure out the history of the domain. Type the domain into search engines like Google and Bing in order to see what comes up. If nothing comes up, this can be a bad sign that the domain didn’t perform well in the past and could actually have infractions against it that has it banned.
In order to see if it has a bad history and possible bans, you can type the name of the domain into the search engine without the .com ending and see if any comments were written about it (whether positive or negative). What can also be useful is using archive.org to see what the site used to look like. If it looks like a spam site, then it is safe to assume it probably has infractions against it. If on the other hand it looks good and hasn’t had problems in the above steps, then you can likely go ahead with registering it.
These questions are simple, but vital. You could save a lot of hassle by asking: “How does this domain reflect my brand?” and “How has this domain performed in the past and what is the history?” The first will help you avoid the tedious process of changing your domain down the road, and the second will help you avoid buying a bad domain with infractions and penalties that are a nightmare to try to clean up.