If you’re a start-up business, it’s unlikely that you’ll be rushing to get one of the new top-level domain names that have been made available.
While a US start-up called Donuts generated headlines this week after applying for 307 domain names, the business had the rare luxury of having $100 million in the bank after a capital raise.
With the new domains, which replace suffixes such as .com with monikers such as .hotel, .baby and .shop, going for up to $185,000, it’s not surprising it has been the likes of Google, which is reportedly after .google and .youtube, that have led the charge.
But even if you can’t afford such a suffix, that doesn’t mean that your website domain name shouldn’t be a carefully thought-out choice.
So if you’re in the process of choosing a domain name, here are five top tips to help you along the way:
1. Go local first
There are countless domain suffixes out there, ranging from the familiar .com and .com.au to .biz, .tv, .info and so on.
So, which one to go for? As a rule of thumb, .com.au should be your priority, followed closely by .com if you hope to sell your products or services overseas.
“The best known suffix for Australian consumers is .com.au,” explains Fred Schebesta, founder of Finder.com.au.
“It brings trust with it, because you need an ABN to get a .com.au suffix. Google recognises this and trusts it more. Other countries don’t have this requirement, so it’s harder for spammers to use a .com.au site.”
“Suffixes such as .info and .biz are a little salubrious and known for spam. Anything with hyphens doesn’t look good, either.”
Scott Robinson, founder of digital marketing agency The Box, adds that Australian businesses looking to expand into overseas markets should look at whether their domain name is available with the .com suffix.
“You need to be careful not to have 50 different derivatives, as it will cost you a lot of money and you won’t get much value from it.”
2. Keep it snappy
Look at Google, eBay, Amazon. All short, snappy and memorable titles. Even if your business name is, for example, Total Sydney Network Solutions Ltd, that doesn’t mean that you need to include all of this in your URL.
“Ideally, you want to keep your domain under seven characters,” says Schebesta. “If someone asks for your website and you tell them something that’s 15 characters long, there’s no chance they will remember it.”
“We used to be Credit Card Finder, but once you get it down to Finder.com.au, it’s easy. It sticks in people’s minds.”
“If you are building a particular brand name, you may not want certain key words in the domain but if you, say, are selling designer jewellery, you will want the keyword ‘jewellery’ in there somewhere.”