Small Business Website Answers: What is a Website Domain?

What is a Website Domain?

The first step to creating any new small business website or blog is to register a website address otherwise called a website ‘domain name’.  This is simply the address your website lives at on the World Wide Web:

i.e. www.mydomain.com.au

Obviously the ‘www’ bit stands for WorldWideWeb.

The ‘mydomain’ part is where you want to put the most thought.

The importance of your Website Name:

Your website name or ‘domain name’ is important from both a branding perspective (easy to type and easy to remember is good) but it can also affect how search engines view your site and who they show your website to.

Some businesses want to use their product name, some businesses choose to use their business name. It is entirely up to you, however you will need to ensure it is available as all domain names are registered and if that particular name has already been taken then you will need to think again.

It is also important to remember that your website name will be used on business cards, brochures and pretty much all of your marketing collateral.  You will also need to be able to tell it to people over the phone (including spelling your email address out to them) so simple and memorable is best.

Registering and Checking Australian Website Names / Domain Names:  

All Australian domains are managed by AusRegistry – that is all website names that end in ‘.au’

If you are an Australian business and you are going to be trading in Australia then the quickest way for people to identify that is by using a ‘.au’ address.  To check if your preferred website name is available you can visit www.getonlineaustralia.com.au

Just to make it a little more complex (or to fire your creativity), there are a variety of ‘.au’ options and there are now new domains that end in ‘.melbourne’ for instance.  These new options are continually expanding and you can check the latest options here: www.getonlineaustralia.com.au

The standard ‘.au’ options include:

.com.au,
.net.au,
.id.au,
.asn.au and
.org.au.

AusRegistry also manages the restricted government (.gov.au) and education Domain Names (.edu.au) plus if your preferred website name is already taking you can perform a ‘who is’ search that will give you the details of who registered a website name.

Tips for choosing the most memorable website address /  domain name.

  • Keep it short and easy to spell (try not to use hyphens to separate words)
  • Make use of keywords or popular search terms whenever possible.
  • Dedicate time to a brain-storming session if you are struggling to come up with a name, sometimes website names are remembered for being unusual or different from what you would expect but still familiar (i.e. gumtree, apple, Yahoo)

Don’t forget your email address!!

Your email address will also incorporate your domain name.  So if you are thinking of a domain name, think of what the email address you will be using with it.

Once you have a domain name, it is short work to create your own email address of yourname@yourdomain.com.au.

Having a customised email address has many advantages for branding and professional communications and it is common for people to register website names so they can have their own email address instead of relying on a generic service which can lead to problems down the track.

What if my website name is already registered?

This can happen… and it isn’t the end of the world.  Some people consider just registering their name with a different ‘.au’ for instance .net.au or switching to use the .com STOP AND THINK BEFORE YOU DO THIS.

If you register the same website name with a different ending such as .com then go out and run and advertising campaing, people may naturally type in the .com.au extension and you have just delivered a lot of customers to your competition – and lost a lot that you have paid for.  This type of branding confusion cam be avoided by thinking creatively and choosing a website name where there will be more confusion.  It is better to do this at the outset than pay for it over successive years in lost business.

Is my website name important to Google and other Search Engines?

Yes. And No.

Search engines take many, many things into account for search rankings and the domain name is only one of those things.  Over the years they have generally placed less emphasis on it also.  Having said that it can play a part.

Your domain name is also generally displayed quite prominently in search engine results and therefore is one of the things that people will scan when looking at search engine results and deciding on which website to click on.  Having a website name that appeals to them, doesn’t sound ‘spammy’ and looks like it will answer their question / solve their problem is important.

As mentioned above, while you could have a long keyword rich domain name separated by hyphens… but how would you put that on your business cards?  Spell it out over the phone, or expect people to remember it?  Plus you run the risk of it just looking spammy.

What did you think of our article ‘What is a Website Domain?‘ did it answer your questions?  Feel free to leave a comment below or get in touch with us if you have any more questions.

Get Online Australia offer small business website design services and offer a free consultation.  If you have any questions or would like to know more about choosing the right website name for your small business, we are here to help.

Other topics related to ‘What is a Website Domain’:

Small business tips: How to Get A Website.

10 Frequently Asked Questions about Small Business Websites.

About the Author:

Get Online Australia focus on helping small business in Australia to establish, maintain and grow their online presence through affordable and effective website design and digital marketing services.

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