How to choose a domain name
Every business needs a hub. If you're selling clothing, you might have a physical shop; if you're providing garden services, it may be your truck; or, if you're a writer, it could be your home office. The first step to establishing your online presence is purchasing your domain name. Your domain is your online address. It's your own digital real estate; your online business hub. It’s as much a location for your business as a brick and mortar store, your truck or your home office, only this destination is virtual.
Get a domain name that’s beneficial to your business
Many business owners rush into purchasing a domain without doing the research necessary to get the most benefit. There are a range of different factors to consider that may have an impact on customer experience and brand retention. To make sure your domain is optimised, take a look and consider the following.
Long domain names are difficult to remember. Give your customers the best chance to store your domain name in their memory for future use by keeping it sharp, snappy and relevant to your business offering. According to Moz, your domain name should be no more than 15 characters long. This not only keeps it memorable building better capacity for word-of-mouth advertising, it also helps with your SEO efforts. Search engine algorithms are geared to favour content that is user-friendly. Using that as a guide, the easier your domain name is to read and write, the better it is for SEO.
Numbers and symbols pose a problem when it comes to domain names. Not only do they make your domain more complex and difficult to remember, there is actually some stigma involved. Symbols, especially hyphens, are highly synonymous with spam. To retain your business’ online reputation, it’s best to stick to letters.
If your business name has a number in it, you may be best to purchase both the domain name with the number and the domain name that is written out in letters. For example, your business may be called 8 Seeds. In this case, it’s advised to register both the domain names, ‘8seeds’ and ‘eightseeds.’ Likewise, if your business name uses numbers in place of a word, like Gifts 4 You, you should register ‘gifts4you’, ‘giftsforyou’ and in this case to ensure you maximise traffic, possibly even ‘giftsfouryou’.
When you’re selecting a domain name, have a think about the other platforms on which you’ll be promoting your business. Social media has become a staple, particularly for small business, due to its cost-effectiveness and its wide reach. If you are planning on using social media, like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, to push your business, check to see that the domain name you’re interested in is also available as a ‘handle’ (username) on the social platforms you’re planning on using. Keeping your names consistent across multiple platforms isn’t just a good reflection on your brand, it makes it easier for your visitors to find you, giving you the potential to capture more online traffic.
In Australia, .com.au and .net.au domain extensions are reserved for businesses with an existing ABN. If you want to register either of these extensions, you must be a sole trader, registered business or company.
It’s also important to note that just because the domain name you want is available to register online, it doesn’t mean it isn’t protected by a trademark. Ensure your business doesn’t get hit with a fine for trademark infringement by checking on IP Australia you can be sure you won’t cost your business any more than the domain registration.
Register the logical domain extension for your business
Once you have started to narrow down your name options, it’s time to start thinking about the extensions you’re going to register. But first, let’s get a better understanding of what a domain extension actually is.
Understanding domain extensions
Domain extensions are the letters and symbols after the first dot in your domain. For netregistry.com.au, ‘netregistry’ is the domain name and ‘.com.au’ is the domain extension. There are countless domain extensions available to register and all begin with a dot. You could register . com, .com.au, .org or even .biz.
Just as there are things to consider when coming up with your domain name, here’s what you should consider when it comes to selecting domain extensions.
If you are a local business with no plans of global domination, you’d be best to stick to a local domain. You can register a domain at a national level (.com.au) or, if your business operates in Melbourne or Sydney, you can register a city-based domain (.melbourne or .sydney). This not only give you the novelty of a highly-localised domain extension, it may also help you appear in more local online searches.
If you are a local business now but have plans of upscaling to reach worldwide status, something more generic, like a .com or .net domain extension, may be best for your business. These domains are called TLDs, or Top-Level Domains and are generally snapped up pretty quickly. A TLD will best help your business to grow and expand onto the international market without the added headache of having to negotiate the purchase of a pre-registered domain down the track.
Finding a trustworthy domain provider is the first step to getting your domain registered. Ensure the registrar you choose is ICAAN accredited and provides you sufficient support. Netregistry provide cost-effective domain name registration with the ability to transfer without restriction at any time. Take a look to see if your domain name is available today.