Choosing the right domain name for your business is really important, and it’s something you should be checking constantly while you’re looking for a suitable name for your business. Several times people have come to us with new businesses to get their website developed, and it’s been very hard or impossible to find a domain name sounding anything like their business name and they’ve had to settle for an ugly compromise!
As with your business name, a good domain name for your company is really important, as it can communicate a lot about your company in a few words – ethos, what you do or sell, or your mission, so be prepared to spend a lot of time thinking about it.
Normally, Australian businesses will use a .com.au domain. To register a .com.au domain, you have to have an ABN (Australian Business Number) registered, and these are available online with fairly short or no delays before you get the number. The good news is that once you have the ABN registered, the domain name does not have to be an exact match for your business name – it can be related to any service or product you provide. (Don’t register names to annoy other businesses, as you could find yourself in receipt of legal letters from companies with deep legal pockets, and you can be forced to give up the domain name if the other company existed before you registered the domain). While it is possible to register a .org.au domain without an ABN, if absolutely necessary, it’s required for .com.au and there’s no way around it.
Most .com domains are already taken – and that does mean almost anything catchy that you can think of! However, the story is much better in the .com.au domain space, with many good domain names still available (due to the ABN requirement policy).
Whichever namespace you choose, you may want to consider protectively registering secondary domains matching your business name so that others cannot hold it for ransom – eg: if you choose fredwatsontennis.com.au you might also register fredwatsontennis.com just to make sure – once someone else has registered your domain, it’s very rare to get it back! The secondary domains should be redirected back to the main domain so they still work and don’t cause problems with your Google ranking.
Some quick ideas for domain name choices:
- the name of your business, or an abbreviation of the name of your business – eg williamsgardening.com.au
- if desperate, add the word “online” after your business name and see if that’s free – eg williamsonline.com.au
- a funny name not related to anything to do with your business – eg whitedoggreenfrog.com, yahoo.com, google.com
To find domain names, go back to our main site and enter a domain name in the finder on the right of the main page (or click here) to see which names are free. Once you choose a name for your business, and a domain name (do them both at the same time), you should register your domain name to make sure it is reserved as there’s no guarantee it will still be available in even a few days. We strongly recommend you use your domain name in your email addresses to reinforce it with your customers.
If a domain name is already taken, you can find details with www.domainwhitepages.com or www.domaintools.com – both will give volumes of useful information on the domain registration and often, on the person who registered the domain.
When you register the domain, make sure you use a reputable provider. In the past, some providers have gone broke or been subject to legal action which has made it very hard to change details of domains (although they do keep working). The cheaper providers often have very poor and unhelpful support channels, so the few dollars you save with a cheap provider may end up costing you much more when you go to manage the domain later; it’s worth considering just how important your domain name will become to you as your business becomes more successful – a few days problems with your registrar can cause a lot of pain!
If you’d like to register domains with White Dog Green Frog, or ask questions about it, call us on 1300 760 850 or click here for an online system.