Choosing the right domain name for your website

20 Feb, 2023

Choosing the right domain name for your website is an important step in the process of creating your online presence. A domain name is the address that people use to find your website, and it needs to be unique and memorable. It should also accurately reflect the content of your website and be easy to spell and remember.

In most cases, the ideal domain name should include your business name plus a relevant extension such as .com, .com.au or .au. Using your business name in your domain makes it easier for customers to remember. Additionally, it makes it simpler to find you through search engines, so potential customers can easily come across your website. By including your business name in the domain name, you are also protecting your brand from being taken by someone else and being used to represent something else entirely.

While your business name is in most cases the ideal domain, there are other factors to consider. Or your ideal name may not be available. In this blog post, I discuss all aspects that should be taken into account when choosing a domain name.

 

1. Keep it short

Shorter domain names are easy to remember and easy to type. Choose something that’s catchy yet accurately describes your business. Customers are more likely to find your business online especially as the majority of website visitors are now on mobile devices. A shorter domain name reduces the risk of auto correct and ensures it is visible on all browsers.

 

2. Keep it simple

You want to keep your domain name as simple as possible and avoid dashes or numbers in your name. Not only do they make your website harder to type in correctly, but also harder to pronounce. Compare spelling out mysmallbusiness.com.au and my – dash – small – dash – business .com.au. You get the point, right? Additionally, a domain with lots of dashes or numbers in it may be perceived as ‘spammy’ by some customers. Funny spellings (‘puns’) can also negatively impact your website. These might make it hard for people to find your site or be perceived as misspellings.

 

3. Choose the right extension

For small businesses that operate locally and want to be found by local customers I would always recommend a .com.au or .au extension. The main benefit of a .com.au extension is more visibility on searches within Australia. Your customers will also know straight away that you are an Australian business serving Australian customers. In some cases, a .com extension is more suitable, for example if your brand attracts international customers or you want to build an international brand.

Today there are also industry specific extensions, such as .design, .photography .cafe available.
Generally I recommend sticking to .com or .com.au but in some specific cases an industry specific extension may be advisable. If you do choose this option, you should consider that you allow for growth and avoid making your website and brand too specific. Here are some domain extensions listed on siteground (my preferred hosting provider): 

4. Research your preferred domain name

Besides making sure your ideal domain name is available, it is an important step to research it properly. Perform a search on Google as well as social media to confirm it isn’t currently used as a product or trading name by a different company. Another great tool to use before registering your domain name is the government website for Intellectual Property https://www.ipaustralia.gov.au/ .

It’s best to not only investigate the site’s availability, but also the domain’s history as this could affect your site’s search engine ranking. To research the domain history, you can use the Wayback Machine tool on https://archive.org/.

5. Use keywords if possible 

Using keywords in your domain can help with visibility. It’s much easier for your customers to find you online and can even help you gain a better Google ranking. When choosing keywords, however, avoid making your domain only about the keywords. Make sure that it still reads like a website name so that it’s easy to remember and relevant to your business.

In my case for example, I offer web design services for small businesses. This is what my prospective clients may use as a search phrase. That doesn’t mean I want my website domain to read ‘smallbusinesswebdesign.com.au’ or ‘webdesignforsmallbusinesses’. It doesn’t align with my business, my brand and personality.  

If you need inspiration for your site name you can use a domain name generator such as https://instantdomainsearch.com/ . You could also brainstorm with friends and family for ideas that could inspire you.

6. Protect your brand

Your domain name is a key part of your brand identity and you don’t want anyone to be able to use it without your permission. To protect your brand, consider applying for a trademark on your website name. A trademark is a sign that distinguishes your products or services from those of others and can help ensure that no one else is using your website name.

When registering for a trademark, consider using the words “website name” so that no one else can register the same domain as you. It’s also a good idea to purchase several similar domains just in case someone attempts to use them. This way, you’ll be sure to protect your brand from any potential infringement.

Once you’ve secured your trademark, you’ll have the legal protection necessary to defend your brand against any misuse of your website name. This can be invaluable in keeping your business secure and helping to maintain your brand identity.

 

Once you have decided on your domain name, it’s time to register it.

Your domain name registration is often included with your web hosting depending on the hosting company. If you’re considering hiring me for your website design, I will recommend the right hosting package for your unique business. Contact me and let’s do this together!

Meet Carina

I’m a Sydney-based Web Designer who loves helping small business owners build a beautiful, functional, and consistent online presence that will attract new customers.

What I do

I work best in collaborative relationships with passionate small business owners. Communication and transparency are my biggest priorities. 

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