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Business creation: anticipating the needs of your online presence

Several operating system windows open on a black background, including an open file cabinet, a lock icon, a laptop computer with a coffee mug beside it, a bar and line graph, and a server stack

Are you planning to launch a new business? Your idea has been defined, your market study has validated its viability, your prior art search has helped you settle on your company’s name. Everything, then, seems ready. Except for one detail: have you anticipated the needs of your online presence?

That’s right. Once you’ve sent your registration papers, what do you do if the domain name you wanted to register has been taken by someone else? This is a complicated situation that can be expensive. Here we recap the essential considerations to review before you launch your business.

Consider your online identity from the very beginning of your business creation process

A domain name: the starting point for your online presence

Essentially, a domain name is the address of your website (e.g. www.example.com). It’s also how users will find you on the internet. Therefore, it’s the starting point for your online presence. On a technical level, a domain name links a human-readable name (your domain name) with a machine-readable address (a series of numbers known as an IP address).

But a domain name is also the basis of your business’s custom email addresses. When you register a domain name, you can create email addresses for each of your employees or partners (e.g. martin.dupont@example.com), as well as each one of your services (contact@example.com, marketing@example.com, finance@example.com, etc). Rather than creating your email addresses with your ISP (e.g. @hotmail.com) or with tech giants like Google or Microsoft Outlook, using your domain name to create professional, custom email addresses will enable you to:

  • give your site greater credibility and trustworthiness
  • maintain control over your email addresses
  • add/remove as many as you want

With a variable value between $10–$30 per year, this widely affordable asset plays a particularly strategic role in your online presence. That’s why it’s essential to give it enough thought, at least as much as your business name or logo.

Each domain name you buy at Gandi includes 2 email addresses with 3 GB of storage each for free, which will allow you to stand out with a custom, professional email address.

Think about your domain name before you create your business

And it’s precisely because of this strategic role that thinking about your domain name should even be something you consider before you create your business.

As a general rule, domain name registration is open to everyone. It’s possible that registries determine specific eligibility requirements, particularly when it comes to ccTLDs (that is, domain name endings, also called extensions, related to specific countries, like .fr for France). But the majority are open for anyone to register without restrictions.

That means that, your idea which seems perfect for your business project, may already have a domain name registered by someone else. That’s why it’s essential to think about your domain name before creating your business. What happens to your business project if you realize your domain name is not available only after you’ve submitted your business registration documents? Consider this your warning to think about your domain name early on in the process.

How do I choose a domain name when starting a business?

Choosing a domain name for your business’s online presence

Your domain name will probably be the first point of contact between you and potential customers. One of the golden rules of choosing an impactful domain name is that it is easy to remember. That’s why we recommend opting for a short and simple domain name, that’s easy to understand even when spoken out loud.

When creating a business, a domain name usually uses:

  • a brand name
  • the trade name of the business, or
  • corporate company name.

You should, then, ask yourself what the most appropriate name for your business to use for your domain name is. If you’re not sure, you can choose to register a domain name related to each of the above options. If, on the other hand, you have a clear idea of what to register, you should check the availability of the domain name. This may very well be a determining factor in your final choice.

Choose the domain ending, or “domain extension,” best suited to your area of business

Choosing a domain name includes choosing the domain ending, also called a domain extension. This is the part of the domain name that’s “after” the dot. Some of the most popular of these are .com and .net.

When you’re creating a business, you might be tempted, and rightly so, to choose one of the two we just mentioned:

  • .com is the most widely sold on the internet
  • .net is also known and used globally

However, these domain endings are so popular, availability of new domain names with these endings may be limited. If that’s the case, be aware that you can choose from among a large list of 800 domain endings, some of which are targeted to specific industries or areas of business:

These new domain endings offer many advantages:

  • they help internet users quickly identify your area of business,
  • they offer you more opportunities if the domain name you wanted was not available with the domain ending you initially chose
  • they contribute to improving your natural ranking in search engines

If you’re lost among all the choices open to you, we recommend trying our search tool, which suggests relevant domains to you. Starting with a domain name, our tool will suggest a list of available domain names, some of which you may not have even dreamed of, much less considered. It can also be a valuable help in finding an alternative if your original idea is not available.

Lastly, if you absolutely need a particular domain name, feel free to reference our article on what to do if your domain is already taken. You might have a few options more options left.

Business creation: an internet site that promotes your online presence

Of course, your website is the foundation of your online presence, the ultimate end of a domain name. A website consists of several different parts which can impact the price.

Registering your domain name

You probably know by now, the first step in creating your online presence is to register a domain name. By registering a domain name at Gandi, you’ll also get 2 free email addresses with 3 GB of storage space for your emails, and a free SSL certificate for the first year (to secure your website).

Once you’ve verified the availability of your domain name, registration only takes a few minutes:

You’re free to register your domain name for one or more years, up to 10 years. If you choose one year, you’ll need to renew your domain name, again for up to 10 years, after one year. To avoid headaches, we suggest turning on the automatic renewal option and avoid the stress.

Configure your custom, professional email addresses

Once you’ve registered your domain name, you can now configure your free, professional email addresses as you see fit. Here again, the process is easy and takes less than 5 minutes.

Choose the web hosting solution best suited to your website or online shop

Web hosting is essential for storing the data that you want to put online. When creating a business, if you don’t want to write code, we suggest you opt for a hosting solution coupled with the automatic installation of a Content Management System (CMS), which will allow you to easily create your website’s pages.

For a simple homepage, the best option is hosting for WordPress. WordPress is the most widely used CMS in the world for creating websites and enables you to very easily customize your website. Installing WordPress with Gandi hosting is completely automated: you just need to choose the best hosting pack size for your needs and your site will be ready in 10 minutes or less!

For an online sales site, the ideal option is hosting for Prestashop. Prestashop is the benchmark e-commerce CMS in the world. Gandi’s solution guarantees ease of installation, and total flexibility to meet the evolving needs of your online shop.

The Gandi Difference: your data are hosted in datacenters located in France and Luxembourg!

Install your SSL certificate

Today the HTTPS protocol is used more often than its non-secure version, HTTP. The little lock that displays in the address bar next to the website address, indicates that the site is safe and that you can trust it. It’s also become standard for search engines, who favor sites that use HTTPS in their results. It would be a shame for your business’s new website to lose search engine result page ranking when the SSL certificate required for using HTTPS is included in your Gandi domain name.

Whether you choose Gandi for your domain name or for your hosting, your SSL certificate will be free for the first year. This will enable you to secure your website and will act as a veritable guarantee of trust.

If you choose our WordPress web hosting option, the SSL certificate will be installed automatically.

If you choose our Prestashop hosting, you will have to install it yourself, following this guide:

Once you’ve completed each of these steps, you’ll be ready to launch your online presence. Be creative when you create each of your website’s pages or when you build your online shop, and may you be successful thanks to having mastered your online identity!

If you would like dedicated assistance, our team is available to help through our small and medium-sized business pack.