Domain Names – All You Need to Know

Registering the right domain names for your business is crucial to ensure you have a powerful online presence right from the beginning.

Don’t just rush and register the first name that comes to mind or that is available.   You want to make sure your domain name will be appropriate for your business long term.

Naturally much depends on the type of business that you have and what your plans are for the future.

For example if you are starting an online store selling baby clothing, but plan to sell other products such as toys, books, linen, cots and furniture, register something like babyuniverse.com, rather than babyclothing.com

Similarly, if you are a photographer, don’t limit yourself by registering theweddingphotographer.com if you are also planning to do family photography, portraits etc.

Do I really need a domain name to have a website?

The answer is yes … and no.

If you are setting up a personal blog or a hobby website, then you can simply sign up for an account with a company such as Wix or WordPress and get a website address from them, however it would look something like this:

username.wixsite.com/siteaddress,

which is fine if it’s a blog or a site only your family and friends will see.

However, if you are running a business, in order to be taken seriously you do need a domain name.

Let me explain more about domain names

What is a domain name?

The purpose of a domain name is similar to that of a street address or telephone number. The domain name directs customers to you on the Internet.

The domain by itself is not your email or web address. The domain does form the base from which these addresses are derived.

For example:
Company Name:  Websites 4 Small Business
Domain Name: web4business.com.au
Web Address:  www.web4business.com.au
Email Address: info@web4business.com.au

What happens if I don’t register a domain name?

You may find the following problems:

1. If you decide to change your Webhosting company or if that company goes out of business, you will lose your website address.

In some cases your website can be transferred to a new hosting company, but your address will change. And that means re-printing stationery and re-doing all your advertising, notifying all your customers etc.

2. Website addresses that contain information other than your company name are long and hard to remember and do not appear professional.

Compare these two and see which one you are more likely to remember

JamesBrown.wixsite.com/JBCleaning OR
www.JBCleaning.com.au

So it is a good idea to register a domain name, even if it is just to protect yourself for the future.

Say for example, your business name is JB Cleaning and you decide not to register your domain name for now.

Along comes Joe Bloggs who opens his own cleaning business and registers JBCleaning.com.au domain name.

After a year you decide you want to have your own domain name, but since Joe Bloggs already owns it, you won’t be able to register it. Not to mention your customers who know your business as JB Cleaning may visit his website, thinking it’s your web address and instead hire Joe Bloggs Cleaning.

What domain name should I register?

A domain name normally consists of 2 parts – your company name and the organisation type/region.

For example with the domain web4business.com.au – web4business is the company name or a name derived from it.

The .com.au indicates that Websites 4 Small Business is a commercial organisation in Australia.

.com.au – Commercial Organisations in Australia
.net.au – For network infrastructure and Internet Service Providers in Australia
.gov.au- Australian government and semi-government departments
.org.au – For clubs and various forms of affiliation groups in Australia
.edu.au – Australian educational institutions
.asn.au – Australian associations
.com – Commercial organisations in the United States
.net – For network infrastructure and Internet Service Providers in the United States
.gov – US government and semi-government departments
.edu – Educational institutions in the United States

Recently there have been other domain name extensions which have been released including:

.page
.app
.travel
.agency
.me
.reviews
.social

And many others.

However, I would strongly recommend you stick with what people are used to – .com.au if you are a business in Australia or .com if you have a global business.

For a complete list of available extensions, check out.

https://www.name.com/domains

Choosing a domain name

Domain name allocation is governed by a set of rules to ensure that no misuse of domain names occurs.   This is slightly different in each country.

In Australia, domain names must be unique within .com.au and should not contravene anyone else’s right to the use of the name.

Domain names must be at least two characters long and contain only alphanumeric characters or dashes.

Traditionally, Australian commercial domain names could not be common English dictionary words (e.g. lawyer.com.au or phone.com.au) or place names (e.g. Sydney.com.au). However, this system has greatly changed over the past few years

The domain name that you request must closely resemble your existing registered company or business name or must be related to your products or services.

For example a company named Acme Oils Pty Ltd could register one of the following domain names – acme.com.au, acmeoils.com.au, ao.com.au,

Or if you are a business coach and you trade under your name, you could register  JennyJones.com.au or businesscoachingsydney.com.au, provided they are not already taken.

When you register your business domain name, the registering authority requires an ACN (for companies) or an ABN (for sole traders).

Once the domain name is registered through a national body, webhost’s servers must then be set up to identify the domain name as a unique address, and to propagate it through the rest of the internet to ensure it can be accessed all over the world.

If you are an Australian business and the majority of your clients are local, I would recommend registering .com.au domain name.

How many domain names should I register?

This is a tough question to answer.

The answer is you only need one domain name to be able to run your website.

However, many companies register multiple domain names to protect their brand.

If you are trading in several countries, you may wish to register the same domain name for each country, but with that country’s extension.

Say you are a business coach and you have clients in all the English speaking countries.  You can register:

JennyJonesCoaching.com (US / Global)
JennyJonesCoaching.ca (Canada)
JennyJonesCoaching.co.uk (United Kingdom)
JennyJonesCoaching.com.au (Australia)

Also if you have a number of products or trademarks, you may wish to register the domain names to ensure no one else can register them.  This is particularly useful for companies with well known products.

For example, Johnson & Johnson has registered band-aid.com.au as it owns the trademark.  They have not only registered the domain name, but also created a whole website around that brand.

If however, you are registering dozens of domain names, thinking that it will help you with search engine ranking, then don’t waste your money.

I have seen business owners register domain names such as:

JBCleaning.com.au
JBCleaning.net.au
JBCleaner.com.au
JBCleaner.com
JamesBrownCleaning.com.au
JBrownCleaning.com.au
JamesBCleaning.com.au
JBWindowCleaning.com.au
JBOfficeCleaning.com.au

Having lots of domain names and pointing them to your website is NOT going to rank you well in Google.  Google looks at over 200 different elements in order to rank your website, so simply having lots of domain names is not going to make any difference.

Domain name checklist

Different countries have different requirements so check with your local registar company.  The following checklist will help ensure that your domain name is not rejected if you are registering a .com.au domain name.

– You must supply the legal name of the organisation.
– You must supply your ABN, ACN or Business Number
– Domain name must be at least two characters long.
– Domain name must contain only alphanumeric characters (ie. A-Z, 0-9) and hyphens (-).
– Domain name must not start or finish with a hyphen.
– Domain name must be directly derived from the legal name of the commercial entity or be closely related.

Domain name availability

Once you have decided on the domain name that you would like, you need to check if it is available. To check, visit: MelbourneIT – www.melbourneit.com.au

If your preferred domain name is not available, you might have to get a little creative and perhaps add a letter or a word at the beginning or end of the domain name.

Say your business name is “Fresh Flowers”, but the domain name “freshflowers.com.au” is already taken, you can see if the following are available.

Freshflowerdelivery.com.au
Onlyfreshflowers.com.au
Freshflowersonline.com.au
Sydneyfreshflowers.com.au

Here are some other words you can add if your preferred domain is no longer available:

The
Shop
Team
Top
Sydney
Online
Local
Best
Just
Studio
Mobile
Easy
Academy
Improve
Advanced

Need help coming up with a domain name?  Check out https://www.namemesh.com/

How much does a domain name cost?

Registering a domain name is not expensive – much depends on the domain name and the length you wish to register it for,  But generally you are looking at between $15 and $140.

Final tips for your domain name

– Under NO circumstances should you use your domain name in advertising material, office stationery until it is officially approved.

– Try to keep the number of letters in your domain name to a minimum.

– Domain names are not case sensitive. But you can use upper and lower case to improve the readability of your domain name. eg. Web4Business.com.au.

*****

by Ivana Katz
Websites 4 Small Business – www.web4business.com.au; Learn to Design – www.learntodesign.com.au/
Ivana makes it easy for you to get your business online very quickly. If you’re looking for a professional and affordable website designer, CLICK HERE and download your FREE copy of “Ultimate Website Design Secrets Blackbook – 10 Bulletproof Strategies for Designing an Outrageously Successful Website

Ivana Katz

Learn to Design Your Own Website