Domain names were once for people with an endless supply of monopoly money or brands to protect. We’ve all heard the stories before where popular domain names were owned by an unassuming Internet enthusiast to later find that they’re worth hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars. This was back when dinosaurs roamed the land (10 years ago in Internet time!) but nowadays domain names are commonplace and can be bought for pretty much free if you know where to look.
Domain names are an important link in your overall digital footprint. This is because it impacts the way in which humans search for it and how search engine robots perceive it. By not having your own domain name you could potentially be hurting your business results and brand reputation. Think about everytime you visit a website that doesn’t have its own domain name, how do you react? Do you enter with trepidation, exit the site completely or continue browsing? Now that domain names are easier to obtain there’s no reason not to have one plus they provide your site with much needed authority and trust.
Now that we’ve got that covered, here are some simple tips on how to select, register and set up domain names.
Selecting Your Domain Name
When selecting your domain name, you need to make sure that it’s memorable and matches up with your site name. This is going to make it easier in the long run for consumers to remember your brand and ultimately the URL. But wait, what if my preferred domain name is already taken? If your exact brand name is already occupied you will need to create another variation of your brand name. Here are some points to consider when selecting an alternative
Is it short?
Is it easy to spell?
Is it easy to remember?
Does it relate to your business or brand name?
Will consumers make the connection?
Is the .com version available?
Does it make sense with no spaces?
Can you add in an additional word that still represents the brand?
.com, .org, .au .net . which extension do i choose?
All hail the .com! There are numerous amounts of extensions to choose from, however .com reigns supreme. This is because everyone knows .com, is most likely to type in .com and will remember .com addresses. It’s usually recommended that before you go ahead and change the extension it’s better to change the domain name first. If someone already owns the .com version of your desired domain name you will most likely end up losing traffic to the .com web domain. Additionally, a .com website also surfaces in search results much more than other extensions.
Should I try and get the registration of the domain name back?
It really depends on how imperative that domain name is to your business. Because of the potential value of domain names, there are still many domain traders out there waiting for someone like you to pay an exorbitant amount of money. This may make it really expensive to get your preferred domain back. However, there is still hope. whois is a great tool to find out who is currently registered for a particular web domain. You can simply get in contact with them to see if they’re willing to trade at a reasonable price.
Should I register for similar domains?
This used to be common practice amongst larger companies as they would buy up all domain names similar to their own in an effort to protect their brand from competitors. Buying domain names as a defense isn’t really a necessary tactic anymore as Google has tightened up its rules around hoarding domain names. The golden rule is to select the best name that suits your business.
How do I actually buy the domain name?
Search for the domain availability to see if it’s available for your to register. If it is, lucky you! A lot of people believe you can buy a domain outright, but this is actually not true. If you purchase a domain, you are actually considered a registrant, not a purchaser. As a registrant you are essentially renting the license to use the name for a set period of time, with an option to renew the lease.
You can register for some domain names for up to 10 years, however this varies depending on the extension. You can’t actually buy a domain forever, however you can continually renew the registration to ensure your business or brand has the right to it. Generally, a .com extension is going to have a shorter registration span due to it’s popularity when compared to a .org or .net. The standard registration period for a .com.au, net.au, .org.au, .asn.au or .id.au name is about 2 years.
Buying domain names for your business can be a relatively simple process if your preferred name is available. If it’s not, remember to always keep the consumer and browser in mind when creating a new one. If it’s short, memorable and preferably with a .com extension you’ll ensure all traffic aimed at your website is sent your way.