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YourChildCareCenter.com – Choosing & Registering Your Child Care’s Domain Name

In this post, we tell you how to choose a domain name and then register it. It is part of a series of articles to help you move your child care center’s management software into the cloud.

Picking and registering a domain name for your child care center is not as daunting as it seems.

Picking and registering a domain name for your child care center is not as daunting as it seems.

There are many reasons you might be thinking about getting a domain name or “URL” (e.g., www.yourchildcarecenter.com) for your child care center, daycare or preschool. Whether you are starting a new child care business, trying to grow your child care business or simply trying to make your school or center easier to find on Google, a domain name is an important key to your profile as a quality child care provider (see BumbleBee’s survey infographic on how parents find child care if you don’t think Google is important.)

There are a two reasons this is difficult and I assume many child care organizations, especially larger ones, sub-contract this task.

  1. Coming up with a domain name to match your business name is hard.
  2. Registering that domain name and connecting it to your business like your website, email, online applications, Google analytics account, is daunting.

Let’s try to break those issues apart and outline some practical steps to help you through each one.

Choosing a Domain Name

Domain Name Tools

Just like when picking a name for a baby, picking a domain name for your child care business is tricky and can be time consuming, but for different reasons. Firstly, there are two main places that you can while away the hours coming up with clever domain names:

  • godaddy.com – You may or may not be offended by their controversial public image but they generally have the lowest prices for services.
  • networksolutions.com (Our favorite domain name search tool) – Has higher prices but is a little easier and less cluttered than other sites with a easy-to-use search tool.

Note of Caution: you can find your self spending hours on these domain search tools getting sidetracked on what domains are available. Searching for domains is inexplicably addictive.

When choosing a domain name for your child care or daycare business, think about where you are starting. Generally, you will fall into either one of the following categories.
A. You have already named your child care organization:
If you have an existing child care name or “brand” like Best Child Care Academy and are well known in your area, you may not want to choose a clever new internet domain name. You may wish to simply register your school’s name.
B. You are naming and registering your child care center and your domain name at the same time
If that’s true, it’s possible that the domain name you would like is already taken. This was the case for BumbleBee Child Care Software. Obviously, bumblebee.com was already taken by the long standing Bumble Bee tuna company.

In either case, simply search for your name on a the domain name registrar, like Network Solutions, and see if it is available and with which extensions (e.g., .com, .org, .pro, .co, .biz). I still prefer .com names because I think people still gravitate to those when typing your name but there is no reason not to use .biz, .co or .us as many people will be finding you with a search engine.

This is what godaddy search results look like. For reference, this name was $35 for one year on Network Solutions and just $10 per year on GoDaddy

This is what godaddy search results look like. For reference, this name was $35 for one year on Network Solutions and just $10 per year on GoDaddy

A. You have already named your child care organization

If you do business as “Early Learning Academy” or “Harvard Preschool” you might find those are already taken by businesses nearby or outside of your area. In that case, you might want to consider incorporating keywords parents use when they search for child care. For example, using the names above, elachildcare.com or ela-child-care.com and cityofharvard-preschool.com or harvard-il-childcare. Having relevant keywords in the domain name is generally thought to help your search rankings and are some of the most common child care search terms on Google’s keyword tool.

Furthermore, if the name families use to refer to your center is taken “brightminds.com” trying adding words like your location or type of school as suffixes or prefixes: schoolofbrightminds.com, dcbrightminds.com, brightmindsmontessori. If you can avoid hyphenation that will make your URL easy to spell but that is not a deal breaker.

B. You are naming your child care center at the same time you pick the internet domain name.

If you are picking the name for your new child care or rebranding an existing one, things are slightly more difficult. This is simply because of the number of options available. Without a doubt, some child cares and daycares choose the name of their organization to be easy to find on a search engine like Google.

While you should consider the domain name when naming or re-naming your child care business, there are a number of other factors to consider like whether the name is being used in your geographic area or in the world at large. The last thing you want to do is have a legal fight over a trademarked name with costly legal bills and redoing the process. In that case, check with your state or national trademark office. Usually there is an online search to see if the name is available. Your local CCR&R’s can also help you likely help with this as well.

It’s also challenging to pick a name that is easy to spell, easy to remember and conveys something about your child care or school. My best tips to help you pick a name: you should test that name on your friends and family to see what they think. That way you can avoid a mistake of confusing potential families like “Boring Early Learning Center” in Boring, Oregon.

If you have done all of that then you should proceed to search online to see if you can find a relevant domain name for your new child care’s name (see above like networksolutions.com). Proceed as described above and find a domain name that fits your brand and is not easily confused with non-educational.

2. Registering your domain name

Once you have settled on a domain name, you will want to act quickly, but not too quickly. What I mean is, domain names come and go, but you should not feel pressured to register your domain name. As I mentioned before, I like to search on Network Solutions for new domain names, but I suggest purchasing the domain name at other places depending on what your plans are.

Here are a couple tips when you are ready to purchase your domain name.

For example, we have a blog series on how to setup your child care center on Google Apps, you can actually buy your domain name on Google site as part of your Google Apps registration this will save you from having to forward the domain name and verify it later, making setup easier (Google partners with companies like godaddy and network solutions to offer this service). Also, vendors like godaddy.com often offer lower prices on domain name registration and management. I would discourage your from buying your domain name as part of website hosting services and stick with one of the larger registration companies already mentioned.

Finally, here are some tips when you are paying for your shiny new child care center domain name:

  • It’s okay to skip registering the .co, .biz, .net, etc. versions of your domain name at the same time.
  • It’s okay to do a long term contract but you may want to register for 2 or 3 years is pretty affordable
  • Beware websites that offer free registration or other features, the could be used to
  • Additional privacy for your listing is okay but probably not worth it and you probably won’t see a lot of spam when you register your child care center domain name.
  • Forwarding and SSL is not necessary for your public dotcom website.
  • Look for promo codes for either of the two sites we mentioned.

Any questions? What was your experience registering your dotcom site? Did you do it yourself of did someone else do it for you?

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Jeff is the Director of Marketing and Co-founder of BumbleBee Childcare Software. He lives in Cambridge, MA, in the United States. You can hear more from Jeff on Twitter and Google +.

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