The first two steps that you will need to take to get your business idea up and running on the Internet are to get a domain name and set up a website. But before you rush into it, it makes sense to do
some domain name research in order to find a domain name that is available and suitable for your business.
If your business is already established off-line, it would make sense to try and get a domain name that is the same as your business name. Of course, it is quite likely that somebody somewhere else in the world has already taken that domain name in one form or another. However, the domain name may be available in another form. For example, if your business name is “Smith Brackets”, the domain name, smithbrackets.com might be taken, but you might be able to get your domain name if you insert a hyphen, smith-brackets, or use your full name, eric-smith-brackets.com, or use an alternative domain ending such as .co.uk or .biz instead of .com and so on. Another alternative would be to use a more specific domain name such as metalbrackets.com, metal-brackets.com, smithmetalbrackets.com or eric-smith-metal-brackets.com.
However, if you are starting a new enterprise on the Internet, you will have several more options available to you before you choose a name for your business. This is where keyword research will come into its own. It makes sense to choose a name for your business which accurately explains what it is using keywords that people might type into search engines when they are searching for the kind of products or services that you offer. You can get a lot of good ideas by doing some research using the Google Adwords keyword tool: https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal.
Once you have got some ideas for domain names, check whether they are still available. You will be able to do this on the website of your chosen web hosting service as part of the setup process when you purchase a web hosting package. If your preferred domain name is available then you can simply go ahead and purchase it, either via your intended web hosting company, or through a separate domain hosting service, as you wish.
If your preferred domain name has already been taken, you might still be able to purchase it from the current owner. Before you do anything else, look up the domain name on the Internet to see if the domain name is up for sale via a domain broker or domain auction site. If you arrive at a fully functioning website, it might still be worth contacting the website owner to see if he or she would be interested in selling the domain name to you. To find out who owns the domain name go to whois.com and enter the domain name.
This of course raises the question, why would you want to buy a domain name when you can simply create a domain name that has never been used before and pay just a few dollars for it?
Actually, there are several good reasons why you might want to buy a domain name, beyond securing the exact, keyword enriched domain name that you require. For one thing, the previous owner may well have put in a lot of work attracting traffic to his or her website through online advertising.
Also, any work the previous website owner put into search engine optimisation will continue to bring benefits to your website through higher search engine ranking. So, if you take over the domain name and point it at your own website, you will be getting a flow of traffic from day one and this could represent a time-saving factor worth many hundreds of dollars to you as you will be building your website on top of somebody else’s marketing effort.