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Tips for Choosing Your Domain Name

28 January 2017

In a chicken/egg scenario, when you set up a business, do you start with a domain name or a business name?

These days, the two go hand in hand and it is best not to set your heart on any name until you have checked to see whether the domain name is available and if there are trademarks or copyrights already in motion.

Ideally, you want your name to be a unique identifier. Therefore, while you may like a name which is already taken, a second or third brainstorming session might just turn up the perfect alternative to sum up your business.

What is a Domain Name?

Domain Name System (DNS) is the naming system which is given to various personal or business web pages. It is important to understand at the outset that you can never own a domain name. Registration of a particular domain name allows you to reserve a name for use within your business for a specific period, usually for two years, within Australia. The domain will continue to be registered in your name as long as you renew it. Unfortunately, there is no way you can purchase a domain name forever.

Thankfully, registering a suitable domain name is not an expensive process.

Choosing your Domain Name

1. Make it easy to type

If you cannot type it without error, then it just may be too confusing. Watch out for double letters and things which can cause a mistype. Avoid slang wherever possible as it can cheapen your brand, not to mention, make it more difficult for your clients to find you.

2. Keep it short

“Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” may be catchy but no one wants to spend all day keying in the letters. Shorter words also mean less chance of making a spelling mistake. Limit yourself to a few words to make it easier for those seeking your services.

3. Ensure it is memorable

Something fun, a play on words perhaps? Have a brainstorming session and see what names you can come up with. Something a little out of the ordinary may just stay in people’s memories a while longer.

4. Try using keywords to represent your specific field.

Remember when people look for you via a search engine, they are generally typing keywords such as virtual assistant, designer, writer, etc. So add that to your domain name to ensure that you are at the top of the pile. If you are a local business, then it may make sense to add your specific location into the name as well.

Don’t forget that your final choice of domain name can either impede or boost your search results ranking. Try to choose something that is relevant to your particular business to increase the number of visitors to your site.

5. Avoid numbers, symbols and hyphens.

This can make a URL extremely messy especially when communicating it to someone verbally. Stick with words and you cannot go wrong.

6. Protect your brand.

It may well pay off to register misspelt versions of your domain name. This will stop competitors taking advantage of your brand and building similar websites to cash in on your customers.

Check out this short informative video by Denise O’Berry on her 4-point test. In this video, Denise also emphasises that it is okay if your domain name does not 100% match your business name. Watch it to learn more.

What Domain Extension do I need: .au or .com or both?

Choose the most relevant one for your business; for the most part that will be .com or The .com is the most popular however the is relevant to Australian-based businesses.

It is recommended that you consider registering additional variants of your intended Uniform Resource Locator (URL) such as .net, .org, .info, or .me to protect your investment and your brand. There is nothing worse than setting up your business and website only to find down the track that someone has copied your name overseas and is leveraging off your hard work.

Remember, you don’t need to build a separate website for every domain. If you do have two or three registered, then you just need to forward any extra domains to your primary domain of choice.

Here’s one last word of advice.

Once you find the domain name/s you like, it is best that you act quickly. There is nothing worse than going to register your domain name after you have your business set up, only to find that it is no longer available. Be the early bird on this one if possible.

There are literally millions of domain names out there; it is just a case of finding one that will fit you like a glove. If you have a domain name in mind and would like to check if it is available and subsequently register it, visit