You have your idea, you’ve got your product that you’re going to sell, or your product that you’re going to blog about or the service you’re going to provide. Now what is involved in choosig your business name and what do you need to do to bring it to life online?
First you need to check the business name is available. If you’re wanting to buy an Australian domain (com.au) you will need a business name that is related to the domain name you wish to buy. Of course you might not want the com.au, your business might have an international audience and you might want an international domain (.com, .net etc). In that case there are no restrictions, anyone can buy a .com domain. It’s first in, best dressed.
And this is generally where it gets tricky right away.
All the good domain names are gone.
It’s true. Or almost true. So, you’re going to have to make some tough decisions.
Some businesses spend small fortunes on acquiring the perfect domain name, some use hyphens or odd spellings, some use completely made up words and hope the branding sticks. Lots of options…if you have the budget.
I do not have the budget, and therefore those options. So I have to make some compromises.
To explain all this most simply, let me run you through my thinking when I was setting up my awareness bracelet business. After many days of ‘Uhhhhmmmmm-ing’ I decided on ‘Awareables’ as the name of my business.
It ties in ‘awareness’ with something wearable – bracelets. It allows me to expand to other jewellery and even clothing, hats, anything really. So, the name will grow with the business. I immediately became emotionally attached to it and knew it was ‘the name’.
Of course, the .com was taken, but parked. So I did a “who is” to find out who owned it. And made a note of when it would expire. Next year. It was updated last year and they paid for two years. They want that domain for something, maybe just as part of a portfolio of domain names. People make good money buying up domain names and selling them to people who ‘need’ them. I am on a disability pension so I can’t pay much for a domain name.
There is an argument that a good domain name is so important that its worth paying hundreds, even thousands for, and maybe it is if you have those thousands to spend. But for me, it’s not even an option. I am very attached to the name, I believe in it and changing the name of the business is not an option for me. So I need to be a little more creative and lower my expectations on the domain name.
I checked the alternatives. The .co was available and the .net was available. Which is the better one to buy? At around $30 each per year, I bought both, and given that I am located in Australia, I bought the Australian com.au as well. If the .com ever becomes available, I will buy that too.
I decided on the .co as my main domain and I will redirect all the other domains to that one. Personally, I think the .co is the next best thing to the .com. Others prefer the .net. I’ll explain my reasoning in another post.
If the business is looking like it’s going to make money, I’ll buy up similar domains as well, but for now, that’s enough.
Next – email account to hang all the social media off of.
When I start a business, I create a Gmail account and keep it separate from all my personal stuff. Should the day come that I sell the business, I sell everything, email, website, social media, and none of it is attached to any of my personal accounts. Very handy. Effective way to set things up, even if you never sell the business. It just makes sense to keep everything separate.
So off to Gmail to create ‘email@example.com’. And bummer. It’s taken. No big deal really though, it will be a private email. So I created ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’. Serves the same purpose, I just should remember it. Simple and done.
Next – Facebook. Create a page. The name was available, so that was easy.
On to Instagram. I had already checked and the name wasn’t available. Even worse, the page that exists is empty, abandoned, but it IS about awareness jewellery. So, someone has had exactly the same idea as me, and chosen the same name and used to own the domain name and then abandoned the Instagram (and looks like the entire business) for some reason.
Hmmmm. There is a risk they’ll will be major confusion, that people will find their page and think it’s me. They’ll find an empty page and wander away. But very few people will actually be searching on Instagram for me. Most will come from my webpage to my instagram account. No confusion. And there is no chance that they will be a competitor, because I own that domain now. But their page will rank higher than mine in the search, initially. But over time as I post content, mine will rank higher.
And Instagram is cool – you can use periods in the name. So, the name ‘awareables.co’ WAS available and it’s a perfect match to my domain. So I went with that…its the next best thing and I don’t think it will be a big problem. Instagram sorted. And linked to my Facebook account for cross posting.
Twitter. Oooops. Haven’t done that yet. Mental note – set up twitter account.
I should set up a Pinterest page. Jewellery is visual and a gimme for Pinterest to drive traffic. But I’m not a big Pinterest user, and I need to do some research. I also don’t have a great stock range yet, so it can wait. I’ll learn about Pinterest, and set it up as I learn more. And blog about it as I go.
So that’s basically it…your online presence and your social media, ready to go.
I use HostGator for hosting, because they’re cheap. They set up a holding page whey you set up your domain to a hosting package. I have added a name, and description and some metadata for google to find, so the site will be indexed. I’m still waiting on too many other things, there’s no need to set up the website yet. So that’s as far as I will go for now.
I do need to set up google analytics to track my traffic. That’s important. If I hadn’t just poured a glass of red I might do that now, but it can wait until tomorrow.
And next week I will set up WordPress, pick a theme, install woocommerce and show you all how easy it is to set up a website, even if you have no idea.