eCommerce Lifestyle
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Due Diligence When Registering Your Business Name

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Do this BEFORE registering a name for your next business.

As always, if you have any questions and suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment below. Don’t forget to share this with someone who needs to hear it.

What's Covered in This Episode:

  • Quick checks you could do when evaluating a domain name for your business
  • Identifying if a domain is flagged or blacklisted
  • Knowing what the website looked like at different points in time
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Transcript

What's up everybody, Anton Kraly here and welcome back to the eCommerce Lifestyle Podcast. So I wanted to record a quick episode today. At the time I'm recording this it's right after we wrapped up our coaching call. And if you don't know this, I have a company called Drop Ship Lifestyle. And that company has a program where we help people build stores from A to Z. And one of the things that I offer with that program is a monthly live call. They typically go for about three hours where members hop on, they can ask me anything and in real-time like on a webinar format, I share my screen, answer their questions and help them out.

So anyway, I was just hosting this call and one question, well, it wasn't really a question, it was a comment that came in that I felt really bad about because I never thought to put out any information that would help maybe counter it or stop it before it happened. And I think the reason I've never even talked about this before is because it's not something that is a recurring theme. In fact, I've never heard this from any other members of my coaching program at Drop Ship Lifestyle, which is where people typically are registering new business names and specifically buying new domain names for their stores.

Now this episode I'm think I'm just going to title it Due Diligence. And if you're familiar with due diligence, typically when people are talking about it, you're talking about the basically research that goes into auditing a business before you buy it. So that's the typical definition. Let's just say I was selling one of my stores and I put it up for sale. And you were interested in buying it. Well, you would sign what's known as an LOI, a letter of intent. And before you transferred funds to me and I transferred the business to you, you would have a period of time to do due diligence.

And during that time, you would be verifying things like our bookkeeping, our sales information, our profit margins, our ad accounts. And you would just be basically checking everything out just to make sure the way that in this scenario I represented the business was actually the truth. And then sale goes through, okay? So this is not what I'm talking about in this episode. I'm talking about more for the people that are buying that domain name and not buying all these assets that come with a business, but due diligence is important here and it doesn't take long.

So a couple of different ways this can work either way I'd recommend you do what I'm about to take you through. One way is you come up with a store name for your brand new store and you go on Namecheap or you're in the backend of Shopify, you type in a domain name, it's available, you buy it right through them for $8 a year or $12 a year, whatever it is. Good, you got your domain name. Other way is you find a domain name you want, it's either there's a store there already, or there's an old blog, or it's a parked domain meaning there's just a screen that says this is for sale and you end up buying it so either way.

Before you pay, whether it be the $12 a year or whatever it costs to buy a premium domain name, what you want to do is verify that that domain name actually doesn't have, I guess you could say baggage that comes along with it that doesn't have a bad reputation, that hasn't been involved with shady things in the past. Because what the member of Drop Ship Lifestyle mentioned on the coaching call is what she learned as she was working through and building restore and starting to sign up with Google services, she was actually not allowed to use them because of that domain.

Now she didn't do anything on that domain. She didn't mess it up. She didn't tarnish it. She got it and just started to build on it. But an owner in the past and who knows when, maybe it was six months ago, maybe it was six years ago had a bad reputation with Google. And not that person personally, I guess them too, but the domain name. And because of that, that domain was flagged. And this isn't, again, a very common thing, but it's something that doesn't take that long to research. So I just want to put this message out to the world, put it out to you as a listener of the eCommerce Lifestyle Podcast and give you a couple of quick checks you could do when you are evaluating a domain name for your business.

And I'll link to all of these in the podcast description as well, because I fully understand a lot of people listen to this as they're driving or working and running, whatever. So just check the description of this podcast, you'll get all the links. But the first site you can go to is called transparencyreport.google.com. And when you go there, you can type in any domain name and this will work better if something's actually currently there. But if something is there meaning it's not unregistered currently, but it can tell you if there's any flags, if there's anything problematic with it, and if it's flagged by Google.

Again, I don't know how far it goes back. So I shouldn't say that, but this is more about like a real-time thing. You type in the domain on transparencyreport.google.com and it'll show you if any flags pop up. So that's the first thing I would recommend checking. Now, the next thing that I would recommend checking is especially if you're buying an existing business or an existing site that has anything on it, just go to google.com and then type in site S-I-T-E: and whatever the domain name is .com. So site: your new domain.com and just press enter. And what that's going to do is pull up all of the pages in Google that are indexed from that website.

Now, if there's something there even if it's just a splash screen that says this domain is for sale and you type that into Google and it says zero results found, that's a problem. If that domain doesn't come up anywhere in Google organically, it means most likely very high probability that that domain has had problems in the past when it comes to maybe how they built links to the site, where they were penalized by Google and where their pages aren't getting indexed.

So where that could hurt you as the new owner is if you obviously want to build your store around it and get organic traffic. Because if that site is blacklisted by Google, yes, it's possible to get it back, but it would be a lot easier upfront to use a different domain name and not have to worry about that. So again, I'll post how to do that in the description of this podcast, but it's just site: your domain name.com. See if any pages from that site come up in the Google search index.

Now the next one, this one people don't really think about again, because it's not the most common thing, but it's worth testing and checking especially if you're putting all your time and energy into building a business around it. And that's to see if the domain name is blacklisted from different email service providers. So is it blacklisted from Microsoft email accounts or Yahoo or Gmail? And what can happen there is if the previous owner even if right now the site's just available for $12 a year. If somebody owned it a year ago or three years ago or five years ago and got that domain blacklisted from different email service providers, then you can sign up, build your new store and your emails might all go to spam or not get delivered because they might have tarnished that sending reputation.

So the way that you can check that, there's a bunch of different ways, but one tool that I like is called mxtoolbox.com. Mxtoolbox.com. Just go there, you type in your domain.com and it'll show you if that domain is blacklisted or flagged from any different email service providers. So again, if you're looking to buy something to build your business on and you see that it is, then don't buy it because it's a lot harder to fix. If it is your site and you're already up and running and you check anyway and you see you have problems, then yeah, work on getting them fixed. But again, if you can avoid it from early on, then don't buy one that has a bad reputation. And from there you can work on building it better and better and better, and obviously not destroying it.

Okay. One more final little thing I'll recommend and give to everybody that I recommend everybody do before they buy that new domain for their new store. And that is to go to a website called archive.org/web, archive.org/web. It will be linked up in the description, but when you go there you can just type in whatever domain name it is. And what you'll see is different screenshots over a period of time. So let's just say that domain name you're looking at now is available for $12 a year, or you can buy it for a hundred bucks either way, whatever, but there's nothing on that domain.

Well, if it was indexed by archive.org/web, you can click on a calendar in there and it'll show you what that website looked like at different points in time. So it's really cool. It's like a journey through time of what's been on there. And what's good about that as far as a due diligence perspective or standpoint, you can see is, was there a period of time where the website was literally something that was hacked and full of spam and popups? Or was it even a legitimate established business that did well and had a bunch of links going to it and had a bunch of good articles or products?

You can see that by going back on that website and looking over time. And if you see that over time it was some hacked website or a website that looked like it was phishing for e-mails, then that's going to be a problem. And then I guess I said that was the last one. I'll just give you one more final thing, but that is just take that domain again and whatever it is, your new domain. And when you go to google.com instead of searching for site: than the domain, just search for the domain and look to see if anybody's posted things about it in the past.

An example would be maybe you find a great domain for a new eCommerce store. It was available. Nobody owned it right now because someone let it expire. It's $12 a year, you buy it. And then you find out six months later that that actually used to be a store that had terrible customer service that has one star reviews everywhere. So something else you can check before you move forward. And again, I don't want to scare anybody and make everybody think it's impossible to find a good domain. Because literally since I've been helping people build eCommerce stores, since I started to Drop Ship Lifestyle in 2013, this was the first time that I ever heard anybody bring it up.

But obviously though it is something that could happen. So putting this message out there to you, to the world, to everybody running an eCommerce store, and hopefully it can save somebody just some extra work moving forward. So thank you everybody for listening. I appreciate you. And if you got value from this podcast, do me a favor and click the link in the description, that will take you to Apple Podcasts. And when you get there, if you're getting value, please leave a review. It means a lot. I read them all.

And for everybody listening that is brand new, that wants to build a store that wants some help, my advice is go to dropshipwebinar.com, D-R-O-P-S-H-I-P webinar.com for a free training from me. I will link that up in the description as well. So thanks again, I appreciate you and I will talk to you on Thursday for the next episode of the eCommerce Lifestyle Podcast.

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