5 Major Startup Domain Name Mistakes to Avoid


Your startup is coming along well. Now, you must come up with a domain name. That should be easy, right? After all, a name is merely a name.


Many startups make disastrous mistakes when it comes to domain names for their businesses. Choosing a domain name takes time and a lot of thought and research.

Below are 5 domain name mistakes your startup needs to avoid:

They Don’t Think Carefully About the Name

While you want a domain name that captures the essence, personality and location of your business, be careful about being too unique. Here are some mistakes startups make when concerning the domain name themselves:

  • Choose a hard to spell or say domain name
  • Choose a domain name that includes hyphens, numbers or abbreviations
  • The domain name isn’t catchy, memorable or easy to remember
  • The domain doesn’t include a location or keywords
  • Choose a domain name that limits business growth by being too specific
  • The domain name doesn’t have any meaning

They Don’t Get Feedback on The Domain Name or Utilize Naming Resources

It is easy to come up with a domain name you like and which sounds good to you. Nevertheless, it is important to get feedback from others including trusted business colleagues, the general public and potential customers.

You may find that your perfect domain name may have negative connotations in another language or not sound pleasant when spoken aloud.

There are a number of sites that can help you brainstorm names, including:

  • VisualThesaurus.com: This resource gives visuals around your targeted keywords.
  • Shopify Business Name Generator: This resource generates business names and checks the availability of the corresponding business name at the same time.
  • NameMesh.com: This source generates business name ideas for startups.
  • Naminum.com: With this resource, domain names based on a theme are generated.
  • Domain Market: This resource has a wide storehouse of domain names that can be generated by business category or keyword.

They Don’t Register Their Own Domain Names

Many startup owners outsource their internet marketing, web design and development to outside agencies. While this is allowing the owner to focus on building his or her business, it can be a disaster should the working relationship between the agency and the startup get severed.

While web development may seem foreign to business owners, they should register the domain name themselves, and therefore become the sole owner of it. He or she should also have admin access to the startup’s web properties. This way when, or if, a contracted SEO company bails, the owner can retain the ownership and login credentials to the domain name and website.

They Let Their Domain Name Expire

Domain names have a finite lifespan. Most domain names have a lifespan between one and ten years before they expire. Business owners can purchase a domain and choose how long they want to own the specific domain. It is recommended to choose a longer ownership period. An expired domain name can be difficult to get back.

Sometimes, business can get busy and some startups forget to re-register their domain names. While there are multiple chances and additional time allotments given by domain name servers for domain owners to regain their expired domain names, many domain names expire.

Once a domain expires, it becomes available again for others to claim. If a domain name is popular, it will be bought quick and it will be near impossible for the old owner to get it back from the new owner. If unsuccessful, the former owner will have to select a new domain name and wait until the new owner decides to sell it.

To avoid this headache and possibly spending a fortune to re-acquire an expired domain name, it is best to not let it expire in the first place.

They Don’t Research The Domain Name Prior to Purchase

Just because your ideal domain name is available, doesn’t mean you’re good to go. There could be good reasons it is available. When you select a domain name, you’re going to be stuck with it until the end of your contract, which will likely be a couple years. Unsuccessful SEO, bad business and the inevitable need to re-brand and rename the business in the future are all possible outcomes of a domain name with a dark history.

Make sure to consider the following when researching the history of a domain name:

  • Check the domain name at www.whois.net
  • Check the domain name on social media channels
  • Conduct a trademark search on the domain name by visiting USPTO.gov.
  • Conduct a Secretary of State search on the domain to make sure the name isn’t similar to one that is already registered.

More information about researching the history of domain names as well as tips on how to make your research go quicker, check out this blog post.

Your domain name is nothing to take seriously. It represents your startup online. You need to be careful on which one you choose. Your startup will be off to a good start if you avoid these five major domain name mistakes that many entrepreneurs make.

For domain name ideas, check out the available premium and brandable domain names at Domain Market. Call us today with any questions.

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