Picking a domain name for your business can be difficult. With a lot of the best names already registered and an increasing amount domain name types available, where do you start? John Kelly from small business blog www.company.com.au gives his top four tips on picking the perfect domain name.
1. Choose your domain extension carefully
Domain extensions are the letters that appear at the end of a web address, such as com.au. They can denote everything from the type of organisation and location through to the websites industry.
Today there are over 100 top level domain extensions you can choose from, ranging from the original dot com to new Silicon Valley favourites .me and .ly.
Whilst the newer extensions have more names still available and can deliver some memorable addresses, such as invite.me, they are often not valued or understood by consumers outside of the tech industry.
Our advice is that if your customer base is Australian stick with .com.au. If you sell overseas or have plans to expand internationally use a .com domain. On the whole the other extensions should be avoided unless you can secure a premium name.
Whatever you choose remember nothing conveys a cheap fly by night operation than a .biz site.
2. Use your brand or descriptive names
You should use your brand name wherever possible, but there is no need to use your entire trading name. Keep the domain name short, memorable and easy to spell.
The other alternative is to use a domain name that describes your business such as SydneyFlorist.com.au.
Having keywords in your domain that users search for can help your site rank higher within Google, delivering a low cost source of traffic.
3. You can still get domains that have already been registered
In Australia there are over 2 million registered .com.au domain names. When you consider that only one third of the 1.5million Australian businesses have a website, it is not hard to work out that a small number of organisations are registering a large number of domains.
Some organisations will register domain names either in the hope of selling them on for a profit, or they will optimise the domain names to match search engine queries and make money off advertising when people visit a website that matches their search.
However many domain names are also registered and forgotten about.
You can often find out who owns a domain name by visiting www.whoismydomain.com.au and then contact the owners directly to negotiate a sale. Don’t be surprised if the seller asks for a high price, but there are bargains to be had if you are persistent.
4. ...but keep to your budget
Mark Twain once said, “Invest in land, they have stopped making it”. The same is partly true for premium domain names.
It is possible to register a new domain name for a few dollars, but single word domain names can sell for millions. You may find your perfect domain name, but it has a premium price to match its status.
Treat a domain name like any other business investment. Ask what return you can expect it to provide and set your budget accordingly. Then keep to it.
A good domain alone will not make your website a success, but it can help convey a professional image and help bring customers to your business.
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