You’ve come up with a brilliant idea for a website or are just about to launch a new business. What should you do if the domain name you want is already taken? This is more common than you think – just look at all the websites in the world. This doesn’t even account for everything as there are also registered domain names that have no website at all. You still can’t use them though.
So, what should you do if your preferred domain name is gone? Here are some strategies you can try.
1. Change your Name
This might seem like a bit of a nuclear option, but often it is the best strategy. After all, there is no such thing as a perfect domain name. The name you thought of might be good, but the success of your website or business is unlikely to hinge on the quality of the domain name you choose.
You should, therefore, consider changing the name of your website. This doesn’t necessarily mean changing the name of your business, although you can do that too. For example, instead of TomJonesPlumbing.com you could use something like LocationPlumbers.com. This could become your new business name or simply the domain name of your website.
Also, remember that you could have legal issues if the .co.nz version of your domain name is already taken. This indicates there might be another business in New Zealand already trading under that name which could prevent you from using it.
2. Use an Abbreviation
Another option you have is to use an abbreviated version of your name. For example, instead of TomJonesPlumbing.com, you could use TJPlumbing.com. Try to avoid adding elements to the domain, however, such as hyphens. The simpler and shorter you can make the domain name, the better.
3. Check if You Can Buy the Domain
The domain name you want might be owned by someone no longer in business or by someone who registers domain names and then sells them on at higher prices. You will have to pay more than you would if you could register it directly, but not substantially more providing you are not in a competitive industry and/or looking for a sought-after name.
Remember, however, that making an approach to someone who buys and sells domain names will instantly put the price up. The best advice is to research the market as much as possible to see the prices that domain names sell for. You should also work out the domain name’s value to your business. This will tell you how much you’re willing to pay.
4. Domain Name Monitoring
Another option is to wait. If this is possible in your situation, you can use a domain name monitoring service to keep track of the name. If the person who owns it doesn’t renew, which can happen, you can buy it at the normal price.
5. Use a Different TLD
A TLD is the part of the domain name that comes after the dot. In New Zealand, the most common for businesses are .com and .co.nz, but they are not your only options. With the caveat mentioned above of the possibility of another Kiwi company already using the name, you might be able to get the name you want but with a different TLD. There are loads to choose from so you will probably find one that fits.
Whatever strategy you choose, always try to make your domain name as simple and easy to remember as possible.