How to Choose a business name and website domain
In Facebook groups I often see people asking others to help them choose a business name.
The question asked is ‘help me choose the best business name’ with a list of generic options that are often already in existence.
Often the business name list is based on keywords, where the thinking is that having a keyword in the domain name will help the site rank on google.
If you can include a keyword that makes it obvious what your business does while keeping your domain name catchy, unique, and brand-friendly, go for it but a keyword in a domain won’t help it rank for that keyword as John Meuller of google stated in 2020. (https://www.searchenginejournal.com/keywords-in-domain-name/380912)
I have helped many clients over the years find their perfect Business name and I have written this blog to help you do the same.
To have the best chance of your brand becoming the brand of your dreams you need to look at 3 things; Domain, social media handles and business name registration.
Start with Domain Name
If you are starting a new online business, your website domain is a critical step in your digital brand creation. It can be quite overwhelming so how do you choose?
When working with a new client it is my suggestion for them to think of a lot of name ideas and then check the domain availability before you settle on a name.
Don’t rush as picking any old domain won’t do your business any favours. Rebranding a business because you rushed in and picked a business name and bought a not-so-great domain name can be a costly mistake.
How do I choose a domain name?
My top tip is to use a domain name generator (such as namemesh.com) and a thesaurus. This can help you with domains and business names that will work for your brand but may not have sprung to your mind automatically.
Once you have some ideas of names you may like to use, head over to Google and search to find competing sites using the same name or something similar.
Consider your words and how they are viewed in your industry. There are a lot of derogatory terms and slang so double-check these terms as you don’t want to end up stuck with something that offends people.
My Top Tips for finding the perfect Website Domain
There are lots of things to consider when finding a domain to suit your brand.
If possible your name should convey your business & brand.
Finding your perfect domain name
Finding a brand name & domain that ticks all the boxes can seem impossible but it’s not really that difficult if you think a little outside the box.
With this in mind, I suggest trying to find a domain name that ticks most of the boxes.
Choose .com or a country-specific domain
A top-level website domain (TLD) is the last part of a domain — they are the letters directly after the dot in the Internet address. Most often, it’s best to go with the most recognized TLD in the world… “.com”.
.com allow you to add domain privacy so no prying eyes can see your name on Whois records. By adding domain privacy it hides your personal details from the internet and stops spammers annoying you daily with dozens of pesty emails.
Country-specific TLDs are great for local businesses working in a specific country: i.e. .com.au, .net.au, .co.nz. These show that the business is local and can also assist with the website’s Google rankings in those specific countries.
Trust is a ranking factor for Google so having a domain with a legal business entity attached is very trustworthy
You can view a full list of the TLDs on Wikipedia
If you can’t find the name you want with a .com or a .com.au there are plenty of other options like .co or .agency that you can use.
Should I buy com.au, .net.au or .au?
If you are an Australian Business you want the .com.au as its the best one to have. You need an ABN to buy a .com.au or .net.au. but you cannot have domain privacy with an Australian domain as it’s against the law and not available.
As with all things Australian, there are laws surrounding the purchasing of .com.au or .net.au
The com.au 2LD is for commercial purposes. The following rules are to be read in conjunction with the Eligibility and Allocation Rules for All Open 2LDs, contained in Schedule A of this document.
1. To be eligible for a domain name in the com.au 2LD, registrants must be:
a) an Australian registered company; or
b) trading under a registered business name in any Australian State or Territory; or
c) an Australian partnership or sole trader;
d) a foreign company licensed to trade in Australia; or
e) an owner of an Australian Registered Trade Mark; or
f) an applicant for an Australian Registered Trade Mark; or
g) an association incorporated in any Australian State or Territory; or
h) an Australian commercial statutory body.
2. Domain names in the com.au 2LD must:
a) exactly match, acronym or abbreviation of the registrant’s company or trading name, organization or association name or trademark; or:https://www.auda.org.au/
b) be otherwise closely and substantially connected to the registrant.
On 12 April 2021, a new set of rules for the .au country code Top Level Website Domain (ccTLD) comes into effect. Head over to Auda to learn morewww.auda.org.au
Shorter Domain names are the best
Long domains are easy to forget plus spelling errors can occur.
If possible make your domain name short, sweet and memorable. Whilst single-word domains may seem like a good idea, sometimes they can make your site hard to find.
I recommend you aim to choose 2 or 3 words that describe your business and give a clear
These are hard to remember and can set you up for failure. I remember working on a website many months ago which was bestclothes4u – Clients were always forgetting it was 4U not ‘for your’ which bought up an entirely different site
Avoid using abbreviations or unusual spellings of words that customers could easily misspell.
An abbreviation can be useful if you have a super long business name. If your business is something like North Nowra cleaning and domestic services. You could use something like NNowraClean.com
Sound like a brand
A great website domain allows potential customers to look at the domain name and understand what the business is offering. For example, you don’t want NNcleaninganddomesticservices when you could be North Nowra Clean.
Make it easy to remember and easy to spell
A good domain name is easy for a customer to type directly into their browser. Names that are easy to remember are usually short, represent the brand, and avoid hyphens, numbers or words that can be misspelled
Avoid the awkward
Do the words look legible & nice when put together and are not embarrassing?
I remember buying a gorgeous ring in Mykonos from a store called ‘Ark of Art’.
Lovely jewellery, friendly owner, nice shop name, however, the URL was arkofart – Arko Fart….
It’s a memorable name but not for the right reasons.
My brother finds it hilarious and if I wear the ring I bought he will hysterically laugh and make fun of me; ‘you have your arko fart ring on’ hahaha
Will a client be comfortable saying it?
Say the domain out loud and also say it with an accent. Some clients will not want to phone a business where they cannot pronounce the name. They do not want to be embarrassed when they phone.
Ask your friends and colleagues
Once you have a shortlist of 5 or more than you like, ask others what they think. Tell them over the phone or in person, and see how they go with spelling it.
Also, give them the URL, so they can write it down. They may notice things you haven’t noticed. Also, if they struggle with the URL, clients will struggle too so it’s not a great choice.
Where do I buy a Website Domain Name?
I recommend Namecheap for domain name purchases. They are the best cheap place to buy domains and their platform is easy to use with lots of options. I recommend other companies for WordPress Website Hosting
Tools to help you find the perfect Domain
NameMesh.com helps you generate ideas and shows you the available domain names. It’s best to buy a domain with Namecheap.
Check Social Media Handles
Before you start work on your new business you need to consider how to market your new business. Social Media is crucial in today’s market so you need to check that you can have the corresponding social handles for your business. There is nothing worse than finding a great name only to find that the social media handle is a business you don’t wish to be associated with.
Namecheckr.com is a fantastic tool to check the social media handles that are available for your potential business name.
Business Name Generator Tool
Create a unique, brandable business name using AI & claim a matching domain
Choose a business name
If the domain and socials are available it means that the business name is probably available too.
If you are in Australia, head over to the ASIC Website: https://connectonline.asic.gov.au/
I hope you found this blog on choosing a business name helpful
Until next time
Let’s get your website sorted!