One of the questions that regularly gets asked when I speak to clients, or when I give talks is about securing their business name on the web. Many people think of a fantastic business name that sounds great, or has personal meaning to them without considering their online personas.
One of the first things to do is to look to see what domain names are available. After all, you want to make sure that your website accurately reflects your business name.
“Well how do I do that?”
Well, it’s actually very straightforward. Firstly, check online using any of the different Domain Name Registrars that are around – 123 Reg, 1&1 are just two examples. On each you’ll be able to type in the names or keywords that you want to use and see what is available and what isn’t.
“There’s so many different suffixes, which should I use?”
Well, that’s entirely personal choice. If you held a gun to my head (and I hope you don’t) then I would secure the .co.uk address (presuming you are a UK business) and perhaps the .com. There are hundreds of Top Level Domains (TLDs) available and more being announced, so don’t fret about securing all of them as the chances are you will not use them…if you have the inkling to secure them all then feel free, but your money is better spent elsewhere!
“What if the ones I want are taken?”
Well, this depends on different factors – whether the domain is in use by another business, or perhaps if the domain has been bought by someone and they are keeping it simply to sell on at a higher price (we call these people Domain Squatters). If you can legally prove the copyright to your business name then you can go through proceedings to secure the domain name regardless of someone else owning it. If you don’t have the inkling for this or just don’t want the hassle then you can be a bit more creative…take this website for example is ice-media.co.uk…the hyphen makes it unique enough to stand apart.
“Ok, so what about Social Media platforms?”
This can be straightforward for some platforms and harder for others. If you find a Facebook page with your Trademarked/Copyrighted business name is already there and you want the unique ‘vanity’ URL, then you can fill in this form and submit it to Facebook to investigate.
If we are looking at Twitter, then you first need to determine if the Twitter handle you want is taken, but dormant (people may register the handle for simply squatting, or had started using it but gave up). You can easily find out how Twitter decides whether an account is dormant or not. Then, you can fill in an ‘Impersonation Claim’ via Twitter and see if you are able to claim the handle for yourself. There’s no guarantee, but it won’t hurt to try!
There are different ways for each account, you can find the info usually in their help section or by a quick Google search. If you’re still not sure, ask us and we’ll see what information we can find for you.
By following these simple steps you can go a long way to claiming your business identity online. It doesn’t end there, as different platforms pop up that you may want to claim but we all have to start somewhere!
Have you had any problems securing the name you want? Any success stories? let us know in the comments 🙂