It’s my opinion that anyone who thinks there is a remote possibility that they will have a web presence “some day” they should involve a web developer early on to make sure they’ll be able to do what they want when that time comes – without forking out a lot of dough or having negative repercussions.
Establishing a Brand without looking online first
As web developers, we’ve all had clients that say they want their website to be named something they shouldn’t.
I’ve had clients get all their production, tooling, letterhead, stamps, fliers, posters, and just about everything you can think of already produced and then say “we want this website” only to learn that their domain name has been taken by someone else (often-times a competitor) who won’t let it go for any price. “That’s okay, we’ll just slap ‘my’ in front of it and people will find us.” Sure they will… or they’ll find your competitor… or the domain squatter than has links to several of your competitors.
Picking bad domain names
Some domain names are just bad. The brand-name might not have been bad, but put it in the context of the web, and an entirely different landscape is painted. We’ve all seen the lists for notoriously bad domain names out there, but I never thought I’d get my own clients asking for equally bad domain names.
A client may pick a domain without seeing what come up in search engines when words in that name are searched. Do you really want mothers of young children going to Google to look up swing sets based on your brand name, and being met with “alternate lifestyle choices and activities” or atypical examples of anatomy. Forever after they’ll associate your brand with what they saw in that search. In this case it was like setting up a daycare in the red-light district. Take these for example:
Using an available name
Another client had established a few storefronts, had print material in circulation, lighted box signs hung on the building, lighted pole signs in the ground, and wanted to offer a B2C e-commerce site with the same name. The domain name was available, but we kept getting hung up ordering the SSL certificate from VeriSign/Thawte. Why? The business running the store was a different name. That’s usually not a problem, you can file for a DBA (doing-business-as) certificate for just that purpose. Or, you can just get a business license in that name.
The problem? Another company in the state had a similar name, and they wouldn’t issue a DBA certificate, and without signoff from the State, the City wouldn’t issue a business license in that name either. Either one is needed to get an SSL Cert in that name. We ended up having to use the parent company’s name for the purposes of the SSL certificate, which isn’t what we wanted, and cost us an extra week+.
An ounce of prevention
Like the old adage says: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.