So you’ve come up with a killer business idea and you’ve worked out an awesome business name – woo hoo!
One of the next steps is to get your business online – and that means a website!
Before even worrying about the pretty details of your website the very first thing you will need is a domain name. Now there is a bit of contention in the scene as to whether us Aussies should purchase a .com or a .com.au for our business. Some argue that they have a product they plan to sell internationally and they want their domain to be seen as “universal”, however I’m of the belief that you should work on nailing your local market (ie right here in Australia) first and worry about all of that later on.
To tap into the local market google does prefer that Australian businesses have a .com.au – it just makes life a lot easier to be found in searches. This also removes any confusion from brides & grooms when they wade through websites and are not too sure where each business truly is located. Unfortunately .com.au domains are a little more expensive than standard .com domains however it’s never worth going for a .com just because it’s cheaper – I mean in the big picture it’s only a few dollars!!
Is your domain name available?
Now the next step is to double check that (fingers crossed) your ideal domain name is available. This step is often worth working through before you even completely mentally decide on a business name as not having the relevant domain name that matches can be a marketing disaster!
So how do I know if my preferred domain name is available? It’s super easy – you can head to http://www.domainregistration.com.au/domains/ and simply plug in your desired domain name in their finder. They make it super easy by already having the “www.” and “.com.au” part all ready to go. If you are curious about the availability of the same domain but with a .com (you may like to purchase both and direct the .com over to the .com.au for now) you can select the drop down menu where .com.au is and select .com instead.
When you click “go” this will easily tell you if your domain is already taken (oh no! back to the drawing board) or is available (yay!).
What to do if your preferred domain name is already taken
- You could consider whether it’s worth abbreviating your business name to create an available website
- Some use hyphens but I personally think people will forget this and you need to keep your website as simple as possible
- Can you add a little extra – for example one of my businesses was Silver Sixpence and I fortunately own silversixpence.com.au, however I could have purchased silversixpencebridal.com.au or silversixpenceweddingdresses.com.au instead
- While you are scouring availability it’s also worth plugging your domain name or alternate domain name into social media sites to see whether you can grab those at the same time as it’s best where possible if all of your online portals have the same name
What is the next step if your domain name is available?
- Firstly high five yourself for coming up with what may be quite a unique and catchy new business name!
- There are plenty of portals to purchase a .com.au (however some of the international domain and hosting sites are unable to offer .com.au domains for sale) – you may prefer to have a bit of a google shop around to see who is charging what
- It’s important to be aware that in order to purchase a .com.au you need to be able to prove that you have an Australian business and that the domain name you are purchasing is relevant to the nature of your business (this is to minimise domain squatters buying up domains and sitting on them until someone wants it and selling it at a crazy price due to supply and demand). You will need to have an ABN and it’s probably worth having your business name registered as well (just in case you go to register your business name and it’s not available and you’ve just bought a domain name that you no longer need!)
- I would also recommend doing a quick trademark search to ensure that your domain name / business name is not in breach of a trademark as this can be a very expensive error. Now I’m not saying you need to run out and trademark it yourself but if you set up a business which is in breach of a trademark you may face huge fines along with the expense of having to rebrand. You can do a trademark search quickly through https://search.ipaustralia.gov.au/trademarks/search/quick (dont worry about registering – you can search as a guest!)
- As per the point up in the section where domain names are taken, it’s also worth plugging your domain name or alternate domain name into social media sites to see whether you can grab those at the same time as it’s best where possible if all of your online portals have the same name.
Domain names are purchased usually for 2 year blocks – so you will receive a reminder to renew or you can often set up a recurring debit option. Any notifications will be sent to the email address you provide when registering your domain. Should you change contact details / address at any time it’s important to log back into the portal where your domain name is registered and update this information as well.
The next step now you have a domain is to sort website hosting so that you can build your website…