Many people struggle to find a domain name that not only resonates with their business but is also affordable for them to purchase. It can be a challenge to buy a domain name that will not only last the test of time but won’t break the bank. I am occasionally asked by friends and family to assist with their domain name needs, and I thought I would open the floor to see what readers think. I will share some of my thinking, too.
On one hand, I am a proponent of short or brand match .com domain names, both for investment purposes and development. A business with a long and unique name will have less trouble buying their brand match .com domain name. They might be a bit creative and use an alternative extension (like .Solutions if the brand is Something Solutions), but I think it could be somewhat confusing depending on the target audience, so getting that matching .com would be important.
For shorter brand names, I would recommend inquiring about the exact match .com domain name to get the price. If the brand matches the .com but the .com is not affordable, I would recommend trying to do an affordable lease to own, lease with option, or some other sort of future purchase option to be able to acquire the brand match .com domain name when possible. If the matching .com is simply way too expensive or not available (ie owned by a major bank), I would recommend reconsidering the brand if it has the potential to become very well known because the matching .com might get more expensive or not being able to acquire it could become a stumbling block.
If the person is set on the brand even without the matching .com, I would recommend either adding a word before the brand (like Get, Buy, See) or adding a word after the brand, like Online or Website. Depending on growth plans and the target audience, I do not have an issue with using an alternative extension, but I would strongly recommend that the business embrace the extension in their branding – both logo and other branding. They should also try to get the brand+extension .com domain name to avoid confusion.
I think it is important to recognize that a fledgling business may not be able to afford a valuable .com domain name and other options are viable. When offering advice, I try to recognize that my friend or family member may not need a super splashy (and expensive) domain name to successfully run their business. If they’re asking for help, it’s best to offer pros and cons about different options rather than tell them they need to spend six figures on a one word .com domain name or their business will fail.
One thing I make clear at the outset is that I am not a domain name consultant or branding expert. While I buy and sell domain names, I would never consider myself an expert at naming brands or choosing domain names for brands. There are many factors that go into choosing a domain name, and I try to offer insight from a domain name perspective.
How do you advise friends and family when it comes to domain names?