What is a domain name, which one to choose and how to register a domain name?

by gregnunan on November 21, 2012

So if you’re looking to get your home business online, where do you start? Registering a domain name is one of the very first starting points.

What is a domain name?
A domain name is the address of your website – the thing that people type in to then go to your site. So for this site it is www.homebusinesshub.com.au.

Do I get a .com.au or a .com or a .net domain name?
You can register whatever you like but there are two general rules when selecting a domain name:

  1. If your business is operating (or likely to operate) internationally, then try to register a .com domain as a first option. If your preferred domain is unavailable, then try for a .net or a .org
  2. If you are only going to operate in Australia, then definitely go for a .com.au address. People will identify through your domain whenever they glance at it that you are an Australian business. There’s some other technical advantages to having a local (.com.au) domain name within Google, but all you really need to know is that a .com address is of no extra value if you’re not targeting an overseas market.

I’ve heard that I should get a domain name with my target a keyword in it, is this right?

This is referred to as buying an Exact Match Domain name (it matches exactly with a target keyword). It used to be one of the top recommendations for operating a website and the reason for that recommendation was that Google, until recently, favoured websites that had a domain name that exactly matched what users were searching for in Google.

For example if you owned the domain name homebusinessinaustralia.com.au and I did a Google search for “home business in Australia”, you’d almost be assured that your website would appear on the first page of Google results very quickly. Long story short, Google made a major change that now almost totally wiped out the benefit of using an exact match domain to rank quickly and stay on page one.

HOWEVER, it still makes sense to purchase a domain name that indicates what your business is about to people at first glance.

Your options for registering a business domain name are:

  1. Register your business name: e.g. yourbusinessname.com.au
  2. Register a domain with a keyword in it: For example, if you sell hand made cupcakes, then try to register handmadecupcakes.com.au. Although the benefit in terms of ranking in Google is now significantly less than before, anyone that searches in Google for “hand made cupcakes” that sees your website name in the search results is still very likely to click through to your site because it appears to be highly relevant.

Can I register more than one domain?

Yes you can and in many cases, this is highly advisable. Domain names are like real estate. For every word or phrase, there is only one .com or one .com.au available. The last thing you want is someone registering your business name first!

So even if you did choose to register handmadecupcakes.com.au and intended to use that as the website address that you promote, it would still be a good idea to register your business name as well (for example CupCakesByJill.com.au).

But if I register the domain name, do I need to use it?

No. You can sit on a domain name and never use it. Nothing happens to a domain name until you attach it to a website and make that site ‘live’. Once you register your domain through a domain registration site (examples below), you get a username and password. When you come  around to using the domain name, you log in and yourself for your website developer will ‘point’ the domain name towards your new website. I personally have dozens of domain names that are not yet used.

I’ve seen some people with their own name as their domain name, should I register my name?

I have and it makes sense to do so. The same principles apply here to that which I covered for securing your business name – you want to register it before someone that shares the same name does before your!

For example, I was able to secure HollyNunan.com for my wife Holly and the domain name is just sitting there unused currently – but at least it’s secure. However GregNunan.com was already taken when I went to register it. I therefore had to purchase a different domain name. Don’t let this happen to you.

Where can I register a domain name?

There are plenty of websites where you can register domains, however I personally use either of crazydomains.com or GoDaddy.com. They’re very popular sites to register domain names and if you click the following link: www.GoDaddy.com where you will be taken to the Go Daddy website to search for domain names immediately.

How much do domain names cost?

As you will see at GoDaddy, they’re very inexpensive – less than $1 per month. Even if you are not yet sure of the exact domain name you are going to use, you still might consider registering a likely domain name, or your own personal name at a minimum, before someone else gets it first.

Visit www.GoDaddy.com to register your domain name before someone else gets it first!

 

Would you like any more information in this article? If so, leave a comment below and I’ll respond as soon as I can.


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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Viljami November 28, 2012 at 10:33 am

Not sure if Google totally “wiped out” the benefits of exact match domain names. What I’ve understood is that they just put a lot less weight on it as a ranking factor nowadays, and the real target were the sites that rank well ONLY because of the exact match domain (at least that was the intent).

I think Google doesn’t have anything against exact match domain names as such, because they know that exact domain names in competitive niches are often expensive, and that translates to being serious, which, in turn, translates to good content.

Admitted, this is mostly gut feeling, but I think that most sites that got hit with this algo update were sites with long exact match domains (think hockeygoaliehelmets.com, or homeaccountingsoftware.com etc.), i.e. sites after affiliate money. And Google doesn’t make a penny of those referrals.

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gregnunan November 28, 2012 at 11:07 am

Hi Viljami. Yes thank you for picking up the “wiped out” reference. It was meant to be more a reference to an EMD being a way to rank quickly and be favoured in search results. I’ve slightly amended that paragraph now.

I always still go for as close to EMD as possible when buying domains as I think it probably still holds weight if it’s coupled with quality content.

I appreciate your comment thank you.

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