Domain Name Choice
by Tash Hughes of
You’ve made the
decision – you’ll start your own business. You know what
your business will do, have great ideas for promoting
your business and have a designer working on your web
site now. You’re pretty sure about the business name,
Or maybe you
have the business already, but have now decide to get a
web presence by developing a web site.
But what do you
call your domain name?
Having your own
domain name gives you a more professional appearance and
is usually easier for people (read that as ‘potential
clients’) to remember and type into their browser.
domain names already in use, there are many, many
different names that you could use for your business.
How do you find them and how to do choose between them?
following guidelines in mind as you choose, and your
domain name will be more effective as a business tool.
Keep it short – Will your clients
www.thisismybusinessnameandilikeit.com? If it’s
easy to remember, you will get more people coming back
to you. And very long names are harder to fit onto the
Make it relevant – Sure,
www.website.com is catchy, but it doesn’t help you
sell garden hoses or bridal veils. As much as
possible, have your domain name match your business.
Some good examples are ‘giftsofluxory’, ‘babessafety,’
‘webgraphicsbyemail,’ ‘kidsnmore’ and ‘businessmums.’
Consider the extension of the
domain name as well. If you want the site to carry an
Australian tag but don’t want a long domain name,
consider having .au in the name. A site that is
designed purely to inform others, may find .info a
useful extension to communicate the site’s purpose.
Be careful with abbreviations. Some
businesses have many parts to their name and are
tempted to use the initial letters as a domain name,
such as ‘Fred Nerk, John Smith and Associates’
becoming ‘fnjsaa.’ This does represent the business
but is very hard to remember and typos will be made
frequently. Some abbreviations work well, especially
if they are already recognised. For instance, a domain
name of ‘ATO’ for the Australian Tax office is highly
Include the business name if
possible as this increases familiarity with the
business name and that is a crucial step for any
business. Obviously, the entire name can’t always be
used so it may need to be part of the name or an
abbreviation. Again, just make it as easy as possible
to remember the url.
Avoid having a name too similar to
another business – especially not a competing
business. No matter how good someone else’s domain
name appears to be, a copy of it usually looks
unprofessional and will result in clients in
accidentally going to the competing site.
Simplicity is good – adding extras
such as ‘_’ can make the url harder to recall and more
liable to be misspelt (‘_’ can be entered as ‘-‘, ‘ ‘
Ensure that your domain name is not
breaking any laws, such as trademark or copyright
Regulations. If your business is a franchise or
somehow affiliated with a bigger organization, check
your contract for restrictions on use of the product
or business names and trademarks.
Including keywords into the domain
name can be an advantage in terms of search engines
finding and ranking your site. So if you sell tools
for sharpening knives, a domain name like
www.knifesharpener.com makes it clear to a search
engine, as well as to clients.
Be careful to use the full name in
all uses of the domain name, especially if the name
includes precursors like ‘the’ or ‘my.’
the confines of the above tips, there is a lot of scope
for choosing a domain name. There is also room for
In the initial phases, forget rules
and let your mind wonder. By brainstorming and word
associations, you should be able to gather many
potential domain names for your site. The guidelines can
then help you eliminate some ideas before checking which
domain names are still available.
Having chosen a name you like, you
may find that it has already been taken. At this stage,
you can find another name or consider using the name
with a different extension or a small modification.
For instance, you chose
www.greatidea.com.au but it has already been taken.
Some alternatives to consider are:
and so forth. Of course, take care
that your business isn’t very similar to
www.greatidea.com.au before using a small
modification in your name.
Like a business name, the domain name
is an important decision and thus it’s worth putting
some time and effort into the choice.
Tash Hughes is
the owner of Word Constructions and assists businesses
in preparing all written documentation and website
content. Tash also writes articles for
inclusion in newsletters, blogs and websites.