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The top 8 strategies to choosing the perfect domain name for your business...

Posted on 2 April 2007

With the meteoric rise of Internet use in the past 5 years, the importance of a "good" domain name has also increased. Domain names such as www.websitestandards.com, for example, have become an essential component in the marketing arsenal of every business, and as such deserve more than just a passing consideration.

Think about how long you pondered over the perfect business name - your business' domain name is just as important (if not more so). And while, your company name may be the obvious choice - it pays to consider other available options, especially as so many prospects and clients will refer to your business' website, prior to making a purchase or for further information, at some point.

So even if you already have the best website AND the best product or service, if people don't know your web address or can't find you quickly - your site is like having a billboard in a desert, a waste of time.  That same advice can also be applied if your website needs an upgrade or overhaul - it is still important that your site is found.

Below we've included some useful strategies for choosing a "good" domain name, and why your business may benefit from having multiple domain names pointing to your website:

  1. Consider your target market. Ask yourself the following questions:
    • How will they find your website?  Would it be from memory, guessing, search engines, yellow pages?  could they misspell it?
    • Are there common words that your target market may type in for your business,?
    • What domain suffix (.com; .com.au; .co.uk) would they assume your business will have?

      These are the questions you need to ask yourself before you decide to register your domain names.
  2. Protect your business:  Purchasing variations on your main domain name and your future countries of trade, domains are important.  There are companies who trade in popular domain names and waiting could mean that you either miss out when another company has the same idea as you (which means it's unavailable), or have to purchase the domain from another company at a highly inflated price.
  3. Are you being too clever? While cute, overly clever domain names are usually just that. Names like: jewelery4u.com' will only work if your on and offline branding is very strong.   Instead stick to the obvious, make it memorable and ensure that all your marketing supports the domain.
  4. Is it too long? Remember the key with domain names is ease of use, so if your business name is long, consider purchasing a shorter, easier to remember version (as well as the long version) for your site and email use. A domain name such as 'www.jonesautoelectricalandairconditioning.com' for example, is too long for everyday use whilst also likely to be misspelled by your customers and prospects. Instead purchase something like  'www.jonesautoelec.com' as well
  5. Is there a generic term that customers know your product/service by? This is a great way to generate new leads for your business. By owning the domain name for the generic term, your business becomes known as the expert or "source" for information about your product or service. Remember, purchasing multiple domain names is an inexpensive way to cover your bases and get the results you want from your website. 
  6. Have you considered a hyphenated domain name?  Hyphenated domain names such as 'www.Maritime-Stainless.com.au' are easily found by some search engines which may increase your search engine ranking. However, before you rush out to purchase - they are also hard for people to remember, and are often misspelled in viral marketing. This means that your site may miss out on the word of mouth advertising that often happens when people talk about sites that they've used, enjoyed or find useful.
     
  7. When to register your domain name?  Most businesses will register their base domain at start-up. Your domain may be registered for use in email addresses, even if you don't have a website at this stage. If you don't have your domain as part of your email address, we strongly advise that you do so immediately. It's a fact that a company with their business name in their email address adds more credibility than one with an ISP address e.g. maritime@bigpond.com.au

    Along those lines, it is our recommendation that you purchase your main domain name and any associated variations NOW (if not sooner.) There are companies who trade in popular domain names and waiting could mean that you either miss out when another company has the same idea as you (which means it's unavailable), or have to purchase the domain from another company at a highly inflated price. 
  8. Adding Plurals or other Add-ons. When selecting your domain name, be careful with ending it in a 's' (plural) as it is commonly left off.  If you use 'the' or 'my' make sure the complete name is strong in your branding and your brand is strong with the additional words/letters clearly visible. This applies to both your on and offline branding.

Getting your domain names... a simple process...

Ok, so you've decided on your domain names... how do you go about purchasing them.

Firstly, a tip for the start-ups. If you're starting a new business either offline, or online it is highly recommended that you:

  1. Check out your name availability online prior to registering your business name, as both offline business names and online domain names are highly sort after and in strong demand.
  2. If you are making up a business name:  Brainstorm names that clearly identify your business to your target market. Consider adding two words together (and keep the words short) to increase your likelihood of your chosen business name/domain being available. Don't be too clever with the words, make it easy to spell and use the key words that your target market uses search for your type of industry/product/service.

What information will I need to purchase a domain name? To purchase most domains you only need to supply an email address, and a physical address.  However, if you want a '.com.au' address (or similar) you will need to supply your ABN number as, by Australian law, the domain you are purchasing must relate to your registered business.

Where can I purchase a domain name?  You've got a few options here; either do it yourself or outsourcing. You can get your web developer or ISP (Internet Service Provider) to purchase your domain name for you, or chose one of the suppliers online.  Please note: if you do decide to do it yourself online, make sure the company you choose are reputable.

 
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