A website is one of the most important tools that a business owner can have. Not only does it allow you to curate the perfect first impression with your target audience, but you can setup a customer journey that maximises the generation of leads.
Almost equally important as having an awesome website is having an optimal domain name, since people will be influenced by what comes after your www almost as much as what’s on your actual site.
But before you rush in and purchase a domain name, there are a number of factors you should consider, to ensure you choose the perfect one!
Always choose your domain name in conjunction with your business name
The most important piece of advice for a business owner is to register their domain name at the same time as their business name. More specifically, you should NOT register a business name if you cannot get a suitable domain name to go along with it, based on the other considerations below.
Pick the right extension
If your website is based in Australia, choose a .com.au extension. Local customers are more likely to trust an AU domain because they require an ABN to register and this illustrate legitimacy. Furthermore, an AU domain clearly shows that your business operates in Australia.
If you have global aspirations (or are already operating in multiple countries), you may want to choose a .com, .net or .biz domain. Keep in mind, if the majority of your operations (and target market) are in Australia, it’s probably still worth going down the AU route.
Also note that brands can be judged on the type of AU extension. With over 2 million domains now registered in Australia, your perfect .com.au name might already be taken. And thus, it’s tempting to register the .net.au option. This can be bad for 2 reasons:
- Users generally see a .net.au domain as less important as a .com.au domain.
- Users typically type .com.au on the end of a domain and you will likely lose potential traffic to someone else’s existing domain
If you are based in Australia and the .com.au name you want isn’t available, rather than settling for the .net.au version, have a brainstorm about potential variations you may be able to use.
Ideal domain: sparkelectricians.com.au
Available domain: sparkelectricians.net.au
Brainstorm solution: sparkelectrical.com.au
Pick a domain that reflects your business
Having a domain name that mentions the core services you provide is a great way to easily convey to people what you do. Plus, it is also beneficial for SEO by having keywords in the domain.
Having generic keywords on their own may not be the best approach though, as they won’t stand out as unique and could get lost amongst the other players in the industry.
Something that combines the two is the best idea.
Avoid Using Long Domain Names
While it is great if you can communicate what your business does within the domain name, it should not be at the expense of a good length. A succinct domain name is incredibly important.
Why aren’t long domain names good?
- Harder for people to remember
- More effort to type your website into a browser
- Implications with business cards and other printed material
- Longer email addresses
Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you disagree!
Avoid Using Abbreviations
While large corporations may have success doing this, they also have a huge marketing budget to help with their brand awareness. So, unless you have a budget in the hundreds of thousands, avoid abbreviations and go for real words. Having real words can also help your search engine optimisation which can influence your Google rankings.
Trash The Dash
Since so many domain names are already taken, it can be tempting to simply separate the words you want with a dash. Trust me, don’t do this. Consumers subconsciously associate dashes with a lesser domain (if your brand was that great you would have the domain without the dash). And you will forever be reiterating to people there is a dash, whenever you are promoting your web address. It will get annoying…fast!
Like with the .net.au example, if the .com.au domain is taken, don’t settle for second best. Get back to brainstorming and come up with another awesome idea!
It can also help when brainstorming to write all the different names down, including ones you don’t like. Then play around with their ordering, variations of words and even break out the thesaurus to find similar words that might be a perfect fit.
Take your time and make sure you select a quality domain name that will help grow your brand and make your business successful.