Do a Google search for “gadgets.com” and you’ll find pages and pages of results for companies that manufacture, sell or review gadgets. So what if you’re in the business of making gadgets and want to sell them online? You’ll have to come up with a creative domain name, because all the best variations are already taken.

It’s a problem many businesses run into, as they attempt to launch their websites. But if that perfect domain name is already taken, you may still be able to come up with a solution. Here’s how:

Why you can’t always get what you want

Internet squatters snatch up appealing domain names and wait for someone to offer them money to buy the domain. Small business owners often lose out in this process – unable to afford the domain name they want and are forced to choose some variation that’s not ideal. That’s what happened to the now-owner of blanklabel.com – he initially couldn’t afford to pay $15,000 for the domain he wanted, going instead with the hyphenated blank-label.com. When he was able to eventually buy his preferred domain at a negotiated price, his Web traffic increased 25 percent.

As a general rule, the simpler your domain name, the better. Try to avoid hyphens, special characters and numbers – that just makes it harder for people to remember your domain name, and it can undermine your credibility, too.

Variations that can work

When you register your domain name, your registrar can provide guidance about how to choose the right name that will generate the most traffic for your website. If, for example, your gadget business is specific to a geographic area, you may be able to use your hometown as part of the name. You could also consider ending your domain name with “.biz,” or “.net,” but because many users expect sites to end in “.com,” they simply type the name of what they’re looking for, followed by “.com,” and thus could overlook your website if it ends in a different extension.

Rethinking your business name

If you named your company in honor of a family member, you may want to skip this section. For everyone else, here’s another possible solution, if you can’t get the domain name you want: Change your business name.

Changing your business name is a decision you should think about carefully. If you’ve already been around long enough that your community recognizes your name, it may not be the best idea to change it. And when you change your name, you’ll likely incur fees for new licenses and permits. However, you may find that those expenses would be considerably less than paying for a domain name that matches your current business name.

Choosing the wrong domain name can be bad for your business, so research all of your options before settling on your name. You want people to be able to find you online, so your domain name should be memorable, simple and tell people what products or services you sell.

Advertising, Business

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