5 fatal errors when choosing a domain name

Written on 09 May, 2016 by Verity Meagher
Categories DomainsSmall BusinessTags domain namesonline businessonline marketingsmall business

With the rapid growth of online marketing, your domain name should be considered the foundation of your business's online presence. It's the first thing customers look at when they land on your site, and the closer it is to the name you use on all your social media platforms and marketing material, the easier you’ll be to find.

Small business owners with limited knowledge in online marketing tend to make a number of mistakes when choosing their domain.

These mistakes include:

1. Making it too long

Think of all the websites you trust. How many words are in their domains?

A domain name should not be longer than two words, or else you'll increase the chances of people misspelling or forgetting it, and landing on a competitor’s site instead.

Good examples of shorter domain names include:

  • BondiInsurance.com.au
  • SmithInsurance.com.au

Bad examples with too many words are:

  • SydneyBondiHomeInsurance.com.au
  • LocalHomeInsuranceSydney.com.au

Shopify say: "Be short, catchy and memorable! You should also make your name easy to pronounce and spell."

2. Not picking a business and domain name together

When starting a local bricks-and-mortar business, many business owners say "I'll think about the domain name later", only to find when it comes to picking a domain that their name is already taken.

This was often the case in the earlier days of the internet with established businesses who decided to build an online presence later on down the track. They simply had no choice and had to choose a domain that was different to their business name.

In 2016, using a domain that doesn't match your business name can be a red flag for people, as this is common practice with unethical businesses.

Tip: if your business's domain name is already taken, include a geographical location in your URL or purchase a gTLD for your location, for example:

  • YourResturantSYD.com
  • YourBar.sydney

3. Not researching similar domains

Misspellings are common online. As as result, you should research carefully which domains appear on search engines if someone misspells your name or uses .com instead of .com.au.

If they lead to inappropriate sites or direct competitors, you may receive a lot of complaints from customers or lose business to your competitors.

4. Settling for less

It's not uncommon to enter dozens of domain names into the search query only to find the .com and the .com.au options to be taken. Business owners quickly become frustrated that their primary domain names are not available and end up going with a less desirable prefix or choosing a domain name that isn’t closely-related enough to their business.

5. Copying a successful business

Arguably the worst thing you can do when choosing a domain name is to directly copy someone else’s. It will become very difficult to brand your business and you'll appear to be a knock-off of the business you copied.

With the rise of social media, users may even call you out for copying another business which will see you lose instant credibility and social proof.

Picking a domain name isn't as difficult as you think once you know what you shouldn't do. With a little bit of basic research and understanding of how people view a domain name, you'll have no problem securing your business the perfect name.

Find out more about Australia's most recognisable domain names