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Can a DOMAIN NAME be DIFFERENT than your LEGAL BUSINESS NAME?

While it’s not necessary for your domain name to match the legal name of your business, the domain you choose has to be the right name for your brand. And a domain name different than your legal business name is often a good idea.

Your domain name can be different than your legal business name. But, in most cases, the domain you choose for your business should align with your brand. 

Can my business name and website name be different?

Your domain name and website name can be different. The website name can be anything you want as long as it doesn’t infringe on the name of another business. A business name has to do with a legal entity, but a website name is more of a marketing decision.

It actually makes sense to have a website name different than your business name. Perhaps the business name isn’t descriptive of the product or service you offer. Also, there are times when a business has to pivot and they don’t change the name of the business. But, the business now, might offer a completely different service than before.

Does a domain name need to match your business name?

Your domain name and your business name don’t need to match. It’s your choice if you don’t want your domain name to match your business name.

One day your company might launch a new product, and you could register a domain name for the new product. Or, you could introduce a new service in a new location. So, you could register a domain name with your business name and the name of the city or country.

Does my LLC name have to be the same as my e-commerce website name?

Your LLC name or Limited Liability Company name doesn’t have to be the same name as your e-commerce website name. You can conduct e-commerce as an LLC without using the same name for your e-commerce website.

You should check with an attorney if you need to register for a DBA (Doing Business As) if you want to conduct e-commerce under a name other than the name of your LLC.

Do I need to include LLC in my domain name?

You don’t need to include LLC in your domain name. Actually, having LLC in your domain name can be confusing. Your customers don’t care if the business entity you choose for your business is LLC. They are using your domain name to interact with your website.

Should I put LLC in my domain name?

You shouldn’t put LLC in your domain name. Having LLC in your domain name could be confusing for your customers. Domains can be hard enough to remember even without adding acronyms like LLC to them. A domain name without LLC is simpler and easier for your customers to remember.

What to do if your business matching domain name is unavailable?

When you search for a domain name for your business, you might find it’s hard to find a matching domain name. So, what can you do if your business matching domain name is no longer available? According to recent data, today, more than 363 million domain names are registered worldwide.

With so many business domain names registered, it might seem impossible to get a matching domain name for your business. But, don’t worry, because I have some tips to help you find a great matching domain name even if you feel it’s impossible:

  • Don’t decide on a business name unless there is a matching domain name available – That’s right, as you work on naming your business, search for available domain names. And if you can’t find a domain name that matches or is at least very similar to the name of your business, find another name.
  • If there’s no matching .COM domain extension domain name available consider another domain extension. Although .COM is the most popular domain extension for businesses; you can choose from other popular domain extensions such as .CO, .BIZ, .NET, .INFO, and .US. It’s best to avoid new and trendy extensions that could quickly go out style like .coach, .design, .life, .fit, etc.
  • If you have named your business already, but the matching domain name isn’t available, add a relevant keyword to the business name.
  • You can experiment with name generators to help you brainstorm for possible domain names, even business names.
  • If a matching domain name is unavailable, tag on your location. This is a great tactic, especially if you serve one geographical location.

If you can’t find a matching domain name for your business, try a local domain name

Local markets benefit best from country-specific domains. It provides them with a relatively low investment, which in most instances, lead to good returns in terms of boosted traffic to the website while paving the way to new clients and orders.

Here are some excellent reasons why choosing a local matching domain can be the best for your business:

A matching domain name can boost your marketing

For instance, for Singaporean domain, the local domain sg will always be the first choice for people looking for suppliers of goods in their own country.

Improve your SEO with a matching domain name

Another critical reason to always get local domains to your local markets is because Google, as well as other search engines, will usually rank it higher than generic domains like .com, .net, etc.

Matching domain names provide clearer geo-targeted signal

Even if your site isn’t physically hosted in the same location as a country, having a local domain gives Google an excellent signal to show it in the right place in search results. It would add an additional boost if your site also uses a local server.

Additional benefits of using local domain names if matching domain names are unavailable for your business:

Enhanced security. More than just investments, country-specific domains are also a good defense against future intrusions and interests. Cybersquatting or the illegal registration of third-party domain names directed towards squeezing the owner for money is a significant concern. It’s a Multi-Billion Dollar industry!

While limiting the amount of country-specific domain names is a way of cutting costs, it can also prove to be short-sighted thinking which could impede future opportunities.

Good site architecture. It’s also much easier to have a clearer site architecture in a local language compared to playing with a .com and “stuffing it” with different languages. Standalone local sites are typically considered independent by Google and provided its own ranking. It will obviously rank for local keywords if in the local language.

People are drawn by local. Customers who are provided with a choice between a generic and a local domain are mostly attracted by local names. The local domain naturally plays in the mind of the user; “If this is a .sg domain and I live in Singapore, then they’re more likely to deliver.” This is a reasonable conclusion for most people.

Link attractiveness. A local domain also aids in link building programs. Other sites in the same country are typically more likely to link to your business if you have a local domain. It’s also true that they’ll be more interested in receiving links from you if you’re local because they’ll require local links as well. Many local directories prefer or sometimes only accept local domain names.

Another consideration and a strong incentive to acquire local domains is because you will need them for easier marketing. Letting someone else grab them may backfire as they can use them in their own future campaigns, sites or as landing pages. This will incur hefty costs to you as you repurchase the domains from your competitors or third parties or when you try filing domain disputes.

There you have it! Now you know why local domains are an excellent investment for your business can be. It’s time to get yourself a suitable domain or a specific domain extension applicable to you.

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George Meszaros is the editor and co-founder of Success Harbor where entrepreneurs learn about building successful companies. Success Harbor is dedicated to document the entrepreneurial journey through interviews, original research, and unique content. George Meszaros is also co-founder of Webene, a web design and digital marketing agency.

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