Which comes first: the domain or the brand?

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Some debates are difficult to settle. Like, “Which came first: the chicken or the egg?” There’s a similar question Which comes first: the domain or the brand?. When naming your company, do you look for available domains in order to decide on the brand, or do you generate name ideas and then see which domains are available?

The answer depends on your situation.

Which comes first: the domain or the brand

Domain first

You should start by finding available domains if a web presence will be important to your business.

Domain names are essential to your brand if there’s any online component to your business. This is particularly true if your business is predominantly online, such as an e-commerce store or a blog.

In these cases, you need to find a domain that exactly matches your brand, so it’s wise to start your naming process by reviewing available domains.

There are two types of “available” domains. First are those that no one has registered yet. These are inexpensive and easy to register. Second are domains that someone else registered but might be for sale. These are available but at a price.

In the latter case, you’ll want to set a budget. Most domain names that someone else has already registered sell for between $1,000-$5,000. The best domains sell for much, much more.

So if your domain name is critical to your business, set a budget and then search for domains within that budget to find your new brand name.

chicken considering business names

Name first

You should start by focusing on the brand name first without regard to available domain names if the online component of your business or the brand is small.

For example, perhaps you have one main brand and sell products with their own sub-brands. Your new brand’s domain might not be important if the product is sold through your main website or through channel partners. In fact, you might not even need a domain for your new brand.

You should also go with the name first if you’re open to using something other than .COM or the other major domain extensions. Good one and two-word domains are available, just not that often in the most popular extensions. 

If you’re in the wedding business, you’re going to have a lot easier time finding a good domain that ends in .WEDDING (17,000 registered domains) than in .COM (150 million+ domains already registered).

You can also register domains in generic extensions that aren’t nearly as picked over, such as .ZONE (30,000 registered), .LINK (165,000 registered) or .PAGE (250,000 registered).

Most brick-and-mortar businesses should focus on the brand more than the domain. Sure, you need to think about if you’ll ever sell products online. But restaurants, as an example, should probably focus on picking the best name even if the matching domain isn’t available in .COM. You can always create a domain like (Name)Restaurant.com or EatAt(Name).com. Or select a name that ends in .RESTAURANT.

Pick your name

Whether you decide to focus on choosing the brand first or the domain first, Namecheap has you covered when you’re ready to get online. Search for an available domain or buy an already registered domain on the Namecheap Marketplace.

Source: Namecheap

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