If you are starting a new online business, your website domain is a critical step in your digital brand creation. It can be quite overwhelming so how do you choose?
When working with a new client it is my suggestion for them to think a lot of name ideas then check the domain availability before you settle on a name.
Rushing and picking any old domain won’t do your business any favors
Rebranding a business because you rushed in and bought a not-so-great domain name can be a costly mistake.
- Rushing and picking any old domain won’t do your business any favors
- Choose .com or a country-specific domain
- com.au and .net.au
- Shorter Domain names are the best
- Avoid Abbreviations
- Sound like a brand
- Make it easy to remember and easy to spell
- Avoid the awkward
- Will a client be comfortable saying it?
- Ask your friends and colleagues
How do I choose?
I suggest using a thesaurus & a domain name generator such as Namemesh.com.
This is my top tip for finding website domains or business names that will work for you and may not have sprung to mind automatically.
Use Google search to find competing sites using the same name or something similar.
Consider your words and how they are viewed in your industry. There are a lot of derogatory terms and slang so double check these terms as you don’t want to end up stuck with something that offends people.
Website Domain Considerations
There are lots of things to consider when finding a domain to suit your brand.
If possible your name should convey your business & brand.
Finding your perfect domain name
Finding a brand name & domain that ticks all the boxes can seem impossible but it’s not really that difficult if you think a little outside the box.
With this in mind, I suggest trying to find a domain name that ticks most of the boxes.
Choose .com or a country-specific domain
A top-level website domain (TLD) is the last part of a domain — they are the letters directly after the dot in the Internet address. Most often, it’s best to go with the most recognized TLD in the world… “.com”.
.com allow you to add domain privacy so no prying eyes can see your name on Whois records.
Country specific TLDs are great for local businesses working in a specific country: i.e. .com.au, .net.au, .co.nz. These show that the business is local and can also assist with the website’s Google rankings in those specific countries.
Trust is a ranking factor for Google so having a domain with a legal business entity attached is very trustworthy
If you can’t find the name you want with a .com or a .com.au there are plenty of other options like .co or .agency that you can use.
com.au and .net.au
If you are an Australian Business you want the .com.au as its the best one to have. You need an ABN to buy a .com.au or .net.au. but you cannot have domain privacy with an Australian domain as it’s against the law and not available.
As with all things Australian there is laws surrounding the purchasing of .com.au or .net.au
The com.au 2LD is for commercial purposes. The following rules are to be read in conjunction with the Eligibility and Allocation Rules for All Open 2LDs, contained in Schedule A of this document.
1. To be eligible for a domain name in the com.au 2LD, registrants must be:
a) an Australian registered company; or
b) trading under a registered business name in any Australian State or Territory; or
c) an Australian partnership or sole trader;
d) a foreign company licensed to trade in Australia; or
e) an owner of an Australian Registered Trade Mark; or
f) an applicant for an Australian Registered Trade Mark; or
g) an association incorporated in any Australian State or Territory; or
h) an Australian commercial statutory body.
2. Domain names in the com.au 2LD must:
a) exactly match, acronym or abbreviation of the registrant’s company or trading name, organization or association name or trademark; or:https://www.auda.org.au/
b) be otherwise closely and substantially connected to the registrant.
Shorter Domain names are the best
Long domains are easy to forget plus spelling errors can occur.
If possible make your domain name short, sweet and memorable. Whilst single word domains may seem like a good idea, sometimes they can make your site hard to find.
I recommend you aim to choose 2 or 3 words that describe your business and give a clear
These are hard to remember and can set you up for failure. I remember working on a website many months ago which was bestclothes4u – Clients were always forgetting it was 4U not ‘for your’ which bought up an entirely different site
Avoid using abbreviations or unusual spellings of words that customers could easily misspell.
An abbreviation can be useful if you have a super long business name. If your business is something like North Nowra cleaning and domestic services. You could use something like NNowraClean.com
Sound like a brand
A great website domain allows potential customers to look at the domain name and understand what the business is offering. For example, you don’t want NNcleaninganddomesticservices when you could be North Nowra Clean.
Make it easy to remember and easy to spell
A good domain name is easy for a customer to type directly to their browser. Names that are easy to remember are usually short, represent the brand, and avoid hyphens, numbers or words that can be misspelled
Avoid the awkward
Do the words look legible & nice when put together and are not embarrassing?
I remember buying a gorgeous ring in Mykonos from a store called ‘Ark of Art’.
Lovely jewellery, friendly owner, nice shop name, however, the URL was arkofart – Arko Fart….
It’s a memorable name but not for the right reasons.
My brother finds it hilarious and if I wear the ring I bought he will hysterically laugh and make fun of me; ‘you have your arko fart ring on’ hahaha
Will a client be comfortable saying it?
Say the domain out aloud and also say it with an accent. Some clients will not want to phone a business where they cannot pronounce the name. They do not want to be embarrassed when they phone.
Ask your friends and colleagues
Once you have a shortlist of 5 or more than you like, ask others what they think. Tell them over the phone or in person, see how they go with spelling it.
Also, give them the URL, so they can write it down. They may notice things you haven’t notice. Also, if they struggle with the URL, clients will struggle too so it’s not a great choice.
Website Domain Helpers
NameMesh helps you generate ideas and shows you the available domain names
Namecheckr once you have a domain name; you can check what socials are available for that name