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Challenge 1: Starting Line

Are you up for the challenge? Give your small business a custom domain and share your achievement using #SmallBizGames.


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Our Small Business Advisor and challenge coach, @Anita C, has written a great article with some of her tips for choosing a domain name. Check it out here!


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Meet your coaches for the first challenge of the Small Biz Games. Google Small Business Advisors @Anita C and @Deborah S are here to help you get on the right track. Have a question? Ask away!


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Put your skills to the test by completing all of our #SmallBizGames challenges:

  1. Starting Line Challenge
  2. Ready-Set-Go Challenge
  3. Warm-Up Challenge 
  4. Target Practice Challenge
  5. Crowd Pleaser Challenge
  6. Going Pro Challenge
  7. Stats Challenge
  8. Judge's Score Challenge
  9. Marketing Heavyweight Challenge
  10. Strong Finish Challenge

Anita C Google Small Business Advisor
August 2016

Hi everyone!  How can we help? If you have a domain name question I will give you a straight answer.  I'm not a professional domainer, just someone who has bought and used a lot of domain names.  - Anita


PS, I will check in every 30 minutes throughout the day.  If I don't respond instantly, I will be back. 

MikeJohnston Top Contributor
August 2016

What are the big considerations when choosing a domain name for a business? Should the company name be in it? How long should it be? Should you put keywords like the names of products or services in it?

Anita C Google Small Business Advisor
August 2016

Mike, great questions.  


(1) Get your company name as your domain. That's the first step - always. That's a given.  


(2) Keep it as short as you can.  However, for a company name don't worry too much about the length. It's more about matching your name.  That said, If you have a long multi-word company name, abbreviate in a way that is intuitive to the public for your domain.  The Acme French Fries Company could become: acmefrenchfries.com.


(3) If you would like, you could also get a conversational or common word domain that matches what your company does. Example: truffleoilfries.com. This should be in addition to getting your company name as your domain.  


Oh, and gone are the days when it was a common SEO procedure to get long hyphenated domains based on keywords in order to rank for those keywords.  It doesn't hurt to have some words in the URL for SEO purposes, but a long keyword-stuffed URL isn't a magic bullet, either. So in my opnion, it's better to go with something that the public will remember or search on, like the truffleoilfries.com example I mentioned.  If it helps you with your marketing, it's valuable. 


(4) If you have distinct product names, definitely consider domains for those product names.  (Same with services.)  Some people will go to their browsers and plug in the name of a product thinking it is the URL, so it doesn't hurt to have those as extra domain names.  Point those product-specific URLs to the product page on your website. For instance, if I go to my browser and enter GoogleDrive.com it redirects to my Google Drive.  If I enter ZohoCRM.com, it redirects to the CRM section of the main Zoho website. There are tons of examples like that out there.








BrandonSchaefer Google Small Business Advisor
August 2016

@Anita C - what are your feelings on the domains like .io and .me that are becoming more popular? Do you still think it's best to just try and get the .com domain?

Deborah S Google Small Business Advisor
August 2016

When considering a domain name (whether .com or another TLD), it is also a great idea to consider whether the trademark is already in use by another third party.  While domain name use does not necessarily equate to trademark use, it can often be used interchangeably by consumers.  Hence, it is wise to consider the entire intellectual property portfolio when purchasing a domain name. 

Ellen C
August 2016

I let my domain name and website expire. What is the cheapest or even free way to get it back? I was not using it.

Deborah S Google Small Business Advisor
August 2016

@Ellen C - Did you look at a domain name site to try to re-purchase it?  Is it still available?  Usually the cost is quite minimal to purchase a domain name that is available.  If someone else has purchased it, then it could be  bit more complicated.  Feel free to reach out if you have any other questions.

Tomas L
August 2016

I already have my domain and google places up and working, what are the next steps?

Deborah S Google Small Business Advisor
August 2016

@Tomas L - What type of business do you have?  Your next step might be establishing a bit of a marketing strategy.  Consider identifying keywords and potentially spending a bit on marketing (SEM) and organic development of content (SEO) so that you can become more present on search engines, etc.  Are you an online-only enterprise? 



BrandonSchaefer Google Small Business Advisor
August 2016

@Deborah S - your 'intellectual property' advice is right on. Big corporate companies pay a ton of money to attorneys to make sure they protect their name and interests, and if you try and hijack or use a company name or trademarked word in your URL of choice, you'll definitely be hearing from them. They take that very seriously.