Domain name selection often comes before an email address and definitely before a web site. “A domain name is an identification label that defines a realm of administrative autonomy, authority, or control in the Internet. Domain names are also hostnames that identify Internet Protocol (IP) resources such as web sites.” 1 Examples of domain names include: Microsoft.com, USA.gov, RedCross.org, etc.
“Domain names are often referred to simply as domains and domain name registrants are frequently referred to as domain owners, although domain name registration with a registrar does not confer any legal ownership of the domain name, only an exclusive right of use.” 1 Examples of domain name registrants are: netsol.com (network solutions), register.com, and godaddy.com.
I suggest choosing the domain name first to secure it, and then selecting an email provider and address. My reasons are simple: 1) If your business will have a website, reserve the name before someone else; 2) A business can operate with email and telephone for communication with customers while a website is built; 3) Domain names launch the branding and marketing process; 4) If social networking tools are in the future, reserve those names as well. I personally chose SteppingStonesStudios as a domain name before I selected an email address. It will take me a while to build a website; while waiting, I hand out business cards with my email address and telephone number.
Domain names are not expensive: SteppingStoneStudios costs me $29.15 a year for business registration and includes privacy settings. With privacy, no one can look up my address or other information I don’t want them to see. Consider this a cost of doing business. Email is free through Gmail (Google) and free blogs – Homepreneurs is one – are available through many sources. Further, Twitter and Facebook accounts are free, for the present, and may be part of your branding and marketing campaigns. A basic public relations campaign costs me less than $30 per year. Get free business cards through Vistaprint and you are in business!
Most – if not all – businesses have an email address for communication. One nice feature of email accounts is many are free. Accounts may be registered through Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, Juno and others for no charge. A little advertising may be present – hosts have overhead – but this is not horrible nor intrusive. However, if one wishes to present a strictly professional image, use an email address from a website host or another paid service.
About name choice: When selecting a domain and/or email address for a business, consider wording carefully. Try to reflect the nature of the business in the name. For instance, hompreneurs’ email is email@example.com. Homepreneurs is a combination of home and entrepreneur, of course. My startup photography business is SteppingStoneStudios@gmail.com . Stepping Stone was chosen because I consider this as one of my best photographs and the name was available. Studios sounds bigger and professional and the name is generic enough that if I expand to other crafts, I can use the same name.
Many names are owned: Stepping Stone was my third or forth choice. Seagull, Salt Creek, Blue Heron (other pictures) were already in use. Be patient and creative when trying to find names; sometimes a ‘-‘ or ‘s’ or phonetic spelling can work quite nicely. Consider alliteration; the pleasing sound of invokes positive emotions.
By Dion D Shaw
Dion Shaw is the founder and owner of Homepreneurs.