WHAT’S IN A WEB ADDRESS?
Picking a URL is one of those crucial decisions you need to need to make if you are building a website. So what are the rules and trends when you are picking a website address? We’ll walk you through some of our findings.
Go with .com
Where ever possible, you should always go with a .com domain name. We’ve all seen the alternatives (.net, .edu, biz, .org even .shop and .blog), but .com is iconic. Afterall, it was the dotcom boom, not the dotnet boom.
At the time of publication, .com TLDs (top level domains) were used by 51.3% of all domains. The .org TLD on the other hand came in at a meagre 4.6% and .net came in at a measly 3.4%. People are simply more familiar .com and will assume that your website uses the suffix when they are typing your address into the address bar.
Are you a local or international business?
In Australia, .au is the internet country code top-level domain (ccTLD). That won’t mean a thing to your international clients, but if you are gunning for local clients, it can build a world of trust. It can also assert that you are based in Australia. Alternatively, if you are an international business, forgoing .au will make your url a lot more memorable to your clients.
Consider buying multiple URLs
You don’t have to have just the one url for your website. If your business is large enough or you have aspirations toward growth, you would do well to consider purchasing multiple urls. This means buying up all of the possible misspellings of your site as well as all of the TLDs (.net, .org, .shop).
There are a few reasons for this:
- Hackers can create imposter websites that can look like yours but have nefarious purposes. They can use the trust that your company builds to steal payment information, customer data or to upload malware to the user’s computer.
- People can register these domains when your business is small and inconsequential and sell them back to you down the line at a huge markup.
- Genuine visitors can become confused and not be able to find and access your website.
Pick a brandable name
I won’t get too deep into this, as you or your marketer have probably already come up with an excellent name for your business. If you are still in the embryonic stages of developing a business, however, you might want to consider the following points:
- Unique: You want to make sure that your competition isn’t using a similar name.
- Easy to Remember: You don’t want a name that’s too wordy or with complex vowel combinations (eg IOIIO Industries)
- Easy to Pronounce: You don’t want your customers having to spell your business name out over the phone all of the time.
- Sounds Trustworthy: some names are inherently untrustworthy. Avoid anything that sounds gimmicky like BetTheHorses.com.au or FreeCreditReporting.com.au.
Keep it Simple
Outside of branding, there are a couple of other things to keep in mind when choosing a URL.
- Short: You want preferably fewer than 15 characters (not including the TLD)
- Simple: that means no symbols and try to avoid numbers.
- Predictable: Try to avoid weird spellings. You’ll just send your visitors to the wrong site or to a dead end. It’s also one more thing that they have to remember when trying to look for your site.
Pick a domain name that you can legally own
In the history of the internet, it’s pretty late in the game for url ownership. This means that often, your perfect domain address might be owned by someone else.
If you find your perfect url is already taken, type it into a web browser and see what comes up. If you see a ‘parked’ website with only ads, there is a good chance the website is available. You can look for the owner’s information on the site or you can try who.is to get the owner’s email.
If there is a business page there, you might still be lucky. Check to see whether the business is still operating and get in touch. Just remember, the url market is quite a lucrative and sometimes shady place. Be careful in your negotiations and try to use a payment platform like Paypal for all of your dealings.
A further consideration is whether your preowned url has a history. This can go two ways. One is that the business that owned the site was upstanding and built a strong relationship with search engines. This will give you a boost on search engine rankings.
The other is that the pre-existing website contained some non-kosher content like porn, malware or gambling and it was banned from search engines. This could be a massive headache.
Cross check with your social media handles
An online presence is a battle with many fronts. Your url should speak to your social media handles. Before you buy a url, run the name through a checker like checkusernames.com and see what you turn up. You should be aiming to create accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin and Youtube with the name of your URL.
You can always modify your social handles to accommodate this. When registering Moonshake Digital on facebook, there was already a user using the handle @moonshake, so I settled on @moonshakedigital. I could have alternatively picked @moonshakeau to denote my Australian location but I didn’t, because to my eyes moonshakeau looked like the word chateau.
Have you got an idea for a great website URL? Moonshake can register your URL for you and even build you a website worthy of it. Contact us for a free quote!