Choosing a website domain name may seem straightforward, but there are several important factors that should be considered – and not all of them are obvious.
A website domain name is the first step towards starting your online business. Don’t be fooled into thinking that it’s a simple case of registering your company name with “.com.au” attached to the end. There are many considerations when purchasing and registering a domain name, some which you may be aware of and others that don’t present themselves as obviously.
Before we go into the processes and considerations of purchasing domain names, let’s look at a brief history so there is an understanding of how the domain name system was developed. Reaching a machine by domain name started much like dialing a telephone. You may have noticed the word machine in the previous sentence. This is because in the early days of the internet (the late 60’s and early 70’s), two machines being linked by cable were used to transfer files to each other. These connections were the commencement of the early internet, spurring on engineers and computer programmers to make better, faster and more reliable connections to even more machines. In 1969 ARPANET, a network of computers set up by US Department of Defense’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) and Bolt Beranek and Newman (the company who won the government contract to work on the project), were used to send email between each other, proving to be the most popular application within the ARPANET network. By the middle of 1969 ARPANET had 62 computers attached to its network, the very beginnings of our online, digital world. In the early 1980’s a system was implemented to allow users to connect to machines by human-readable names, instead of the physical address which is represented by numbers (an IP address). Shortly after, American Paul Mockapetris proposed a Domain Name System (DNS) architecture that remains essentially the same today. This allowed people to type in a name like George or Washington to connect to a machine instead of using an IP address. This concept remains pretty much the same today with the addition of extensions like .au or .uk.
Thinking of a domain name for your business
Keep it short
Trying to remember a series of several terms instead of two to three memorable words creates unnecessary complexity for potential customers. Keep your domain name short and punchy.
Obscure names and references can confuse and disorientate users when trying to recall your domain name. They may also go to a more relevant site-name when searching for your product or service in any of the major search engines.
Make it easy
With such a time-poor world, simplifying and reducing the amount of work a consumer needs to do to spend money with you brings you one step ahead of your competition. Remember, your competitors are only a back button away, so “keeping it simple online” is sage advice.
Don’t use difficult words
People are lazy consumers. We want something close by, easy to find at a good price with the least amount of hassle and pain. This attitude juxtaposes itself into the online world as well. Just because your marketing company is called “Guerrilla Entrepreneur Hierarchy Systems” don’t expect your potential customers to try to spell these types of words when there are hundreds, if not thousands, of other companies whose names are easier to remember selling your service or product.
If possible, try to avoid using the number 0 in your Domain Name. This can often be mistaken for the letter o. Likewise, try and avoid using 2 for ‘to’, 4 for ‘for’ and the letter u for ‘you’ as these terms can confuse your visitors.
Register more than one
You are able to register multiple domain names and this can sometimes prove useful from a marketing and search engine optimisation perspective.