One of the very first things, maybe one of the hardest things, you’ll do when starting a business is checking if the domain name is available.
With all the different types of top-level domain (TLD) types these days, it makes things hard to choose. What is best, what is best practice and how much does it all cost? Here are some frequently asked questions from our customers and things to consider to help you choose your domain name for your business or next start-up venture.
Should I Go .com or .com.au or One of Those Fancy New .sydney or .melbourne Domains?
One of the most common questions we get asked is, should I try and register one of the fancy new domain name types like .digital, .sydney or .melbourne?
Our answer is it depends, we look at your target audience, and if it’s more of the progressive and advanced internet user that understands that there are more domains out there in the world than just .com or .orgs then yeh sure go for it. Branding a business against these other domain names isn’t too hard to do. From our experience and previous projects, we can safely say that the fancy domains don’t hinder the business once it is well established.
One of our side ventures is a podcast all about Joomla, an open-source content management system we use for many of our clients. The domain that we chose was Joomlabe.at, a .AT domain name from the country Austria. It create the word Joomla Beat, which was the name of the podcast, and helped minimize the number of characters needed in the domain when sharing on social networks like Twitter where a number of characters matters.
It did take a few months for the domain to propagate into usage but after a couple of months, users that were searching for “Joomla Beat” on the search engines did arrive at our website.
What we didn’t have control over was users typing in joomlabeat.com or JoomlaBeat.com.au and expecting the website to be there. To combat this we educated our users and listeners. On the podcast, we always spelled out the domain name with the .at extension to really push the idea of the unique extension in the domain name.
Should I have Keywords in My Domain Name?
It does help to have a keyword in your domain name. This was an old tactic of a lot of search engine optimization specialists back in the early and mid-2000s when the Internet and Google were still quite young and keyword ‘stuffing’ was very common.
From and branding perspective it will help. “JimsPlumbing.com” really spells out what the domain name and website are about.
The keyword “plumbing” will be considered as a factor in the search engine algorithms but depending on it won’t get you to the top of the search rankings.
When we started PB Web Development, our Domain name, pbwebdev.com.au, hugely helped the business in regards to being number one in the search rankings for a very long time.
We help number one position for “Adelaide web development”, “Web Development Adelaide” and other minor variations for about 5 years when we started the business in Adelaide.
This helped establish and grow the business greatly.
Now, these days the keyword in the URL isn’t as strong as it use to be and the dependency on good relevant content is a bigger factor than the keyword in the domain.
If you now search for “Web Development Sydney” for example, you won’t see any of the top 10 domain names in the natural search results having the words “web development” in their domain name at all.
Uniqueness and Spelling: Can I Register Goooooogle.com?
In most cases, it’s a bad idea to purchase a domain name with words that are commonly miss-spelled such as ‘entrepreneur’ or ‘Mesothelioma’. Keep things simple and easy for the user to spell and work out.
Registering a domain name that is similar or a miss-spelling of another domain or business is also a bad idea. You think you may be getting a little bit of traffic from the other website with the correct domain name, but you could also open yourself up for a lawsuit or other legal action for trading on a name similar to another business.
How Much Should I Be Paying for a Domain Name?
The cost of a domain name will vary from provider to provider. Crazy Domains is usually the cheapest and easiest to register with. They provide a good online interface to manage your domains and discounts when registering your domain for the first year. Since they’re a global company, they also allow you to register all the country-specific domains such as .at, .it, and so forth.
Expect to pay around $13 for a .com per year, $80 per year for a .sydney or .melbourne, $15 a year for a .com.au or .org.au
Great, Now I Have a Domain Name, What Next?
Now that you have your domain name, you’ll need to point it to a web host, a place to put your website and you must have this purchased and organized before you can point and assign the domain name to it.
When registering for your web hosting, they will provide you with a name server setting. Something like ns1.webhosting.com and ns2.webhosting.com.
These will be the pointers that go to your web host from your domain name.