How to Choose a Good Domain Name for Your Business
So you’re starting a new business, you’ve got a business name and now you’re about to register a domain name for it. Before you get your credit card out, here are a few considerations to keep in mind.
What is a domain name?
In simple terms, a domain name is the address for your website, e.g. www.yourcompany.com.au. A domain name represents an Internet Protocol (IP) resource, which is made up of a string of numbers. As words are easier for humans to remember than numeric strings, domain names are a practical way to navigate the internet. After all, who wants to remember a string like 195.32.421.23 when you could simply type in a domain name instead?
Regulation of domain names in Australia
While it is becoming increasingly difficult to register .com domain names as most of the good names are already taken, Australian businesses are more likely to get the name they prefer. The reason is that registrations for the local .com.au domain names are much more heavily regulated than .com registrations, and businesses actually have to provide an ABN and show that their desired domain name relates to their business. This prevents “cybersquatters” from registering random names in the hope of then selling them on.
5 things to keep in mind when choosing your domain name:
- Make it as short as possible
- Make it easy to remember and easy to spell
- Your main domain name should reflect your business or product name, though you may want to shorten it if it is too long
- Avoid hyphens and numbers
- If appropriate, use keywords relevant to your industry in your domain name (it helps with search engine optimisation)
Do I need more than 1 domain name?
I used to work for a domain name registration company managing domain name portfolios for Fortune 500 companies with up to 100,000 domain names representing all their business and product names, trademarks and misspellings of those names in every possible domain name extension for every country around the world. Protecting their trademarks and brand names is a high priority for these companies, but for most SMBs this is an unnecessary expense.
As an Australian business, the main domain name you are most likely to need is a domain that reflects your company or product and ends in .com.au. However, some people do type in .com, and to direct these people to the right location, you should consider registering your domain name with the .com ending as well, so your main domain name would be www.yourcompany.com.au, but the www.yourcompany.com domain name would also redirect to your .com.au domain.
Of course, if you do business internationally you should consider registering domain names with the extension (or ending) of the countries you are targeting, e.g. .co.uk for the UK or .de for Germany.
In addition, you may want to consider some misspellings or variations of your name. If you can’t avoid having a domain name that is tricky to spell, it might be a good idea to also register the misspelled name in the .com.au ending.
As mentioned above, large corporations invest serious amounts of money to protect their intellectual property and many of them use advanced monitoring software to keep tabs on domain name registrations containing their brand or trademark names.
The responsibility for managing these large domain name portfolios usually lies with their legal department who won’t hesitate to take you to court if you infringe on their rights.
Stay away from any domain names containing someone else’s trademarks or brand names. If you resell another company’s products, you should get that company’s permission before registering a domain name containing their product name.
Check the availability of your domain name with your chosen registrar, such as Netregistry. You will also need to set up hosting for your website. We offer a range of web hosting options and can help you choose the right package for your needs.
If you need help with your website, web hosting or domain name, get in touch for a free website consultation.