The first step to take when establishing an online presence for your business is to register a Web address. This is also known as a domain name. A lot of people do not put much thought into this and instead register a domain name which is their business name followed by the .com suffix. However, there is a little more to it than that. When you register a domain name, there are a few other important factors to think about. Do not forget that it is the critical first step to starting your internet marketing campaign and online portal. Regardless of the type of business for which you want to register a domain name, consider the following factors before you begin.
Keep Your Domain Name Short
While it is usually a good idea to register a domain which is the name of your brand or business, you should also keep it short. It is possible to register a domain name that’s 63 characters in length, but no one is going to remember such a long domain name let alone be bothered to type it in! Excluding the suffix (such as .com), try to keep the domain name under ten characters. If your brand or business, for some reason, has a very long name, consider registering a domain which is an acronym for the full name. Your domain name is your online identity. Make sure that it is something that people can easily remember.
Avoid Trademarked Names
Be absolutely sure that the domain name you register is not already a trademarked name. Not many existing businesses should have a problem with this issue, but it is still worth considering. If you end up registering a domain name which is a trademarked name, you could, in the worst case scenario, end up having a law suit on your hands. Fortunately, there are many online resources which can tell you whether your brand name has already been taken or not. You can check whether a domain name is available by using this domain name availability tool.
Register as Soon as Possible
A new domain name is registered every twenty seconds or so in the United Kingdom alone. If you want a .com address, which you probably will, then the quicker you get your address registered, the better. Do not wait until everything else is ready. You do not need a website all programmed and designed in advance. Registering a domain name costs a minimal amount of money – .com.au domains cost only $12.45 per year. Even if you don’t actually plan to do anything with your new site for several months, it is still worth grabbing the domain name sooner rather than later. The sooner you register your domain name, the higher the chance you will get exactly the one you want.
Choose the Suffix You Want
The suffix refers to what is known, in technical terms, as the top level domain (TLD). The most common one is .com, although you will frequently come across the .net and .org suffixes as well as the country code TLDs such as .com.au or .co.uk etc. If your targeted audience is location-independent, you will be best off with a .com address. If you have a local business, then you should generally use the relevant country code TLD. Nonetheless, even if you have a local business, it is a good idea to register a .com version as well, just so nobody else tries to take it. There are also other TLDs which are designed for specific businesses such as .travel for those in the travel business. These are not very popular, however. If you do choose to register such a domain name, ensure that you have a .com version as well.
Register Multiple Domains
Although it is not nearly as popular as the .com TLD, it is often wise to register a .net version of your website. This will ensure that no one else tries to take it. If people commonly misspell the name of your brand or company that you use for a domain name, then it is a great idea to register the misspelled version as well. “yahooo.com,” for example, still takes people to “yahoo.com.” This does not mean that you need to have a separate website for each address, you can configure your domain names so that the misspelled version always redirects to the main website.
Constraints on Character Types
Although it is now possible to register multilingual domain names, they remain uncommon. Generally speaking, domain names may only contain standard Latin letters, numbers and dashes. You cannot use spaces, other punctuation marks or special characters. Special characters, including letters or symbols from other writing systems, may only be registered through a registrar which offers multilingual domain names. If, for some reason, you decide to go for such a domain name, always have a standard version of it as well.
What to Do if Your Domain Name Is Already Taken
You may find that the domain name you really want has already been registered. Larger businesses in particular sometimes become victims of cybersquatting. In these cases, someone registers a trademarked name as a domain name in the hope that the rightful owner of the trademarked name will buy it from them. Cybersquatting is illegal in most countries. If this is the case in your country, you may be able to obtain the domain name through legal methods. Most cases where your desired domain name is already taken, however, are completely legitimate. If you want the domain enough, you can try approaching the webmaster and negotiating a sale. Alternative, the domain may already be for sale through a domain auction site.
To find out more about domain names and web hosting, visit www.digitalpacific.com.au or give our friendly team a call on 1300 MY HOST.