What makes a customer choose your brand or business? Why do they pick you instead of your competitors?
Most of the time, the answer is trust.
They’ve either had a referral from another customer, or they’ve discovered your business, checked you out online, and decided you look like you know what you’re doing.
The way people perceive your business is all down to your brand. It can take many years (and many thousands of dollars) to build your brand to the point where people instantly recognise your name and associate you with expertise, value and quality.
But there’s a way to shave years off that process and give your credibility an instant boost: invest in the right domain name.
What’s so important about a domain name?
In the online world, your domain name is your ‘real estate’. It’s your place of business, where people come to find you. The easier you are to find (i.e. the better your ‘location’) the more customers you’ll get through your ‘door’.
What the right domain name means for your business is:
- More clicks
- More chances at conversion
- More sales
- More cash
How to choose your domain name
If you want people to find you online – and to think of you when they need what you sell – you need a domain that tells people exactly what you do. The more simple and descriptive that domain name is, the more likely people are to trust it and remember it.
An example would be a company who offers unsecured business loans, the most relevant name they could have would be www.unsecuredbusinessloans.com.au. It’s exactly what it says on the tin! Customers will naturally assume this is biggest and the best company in the niche simply because of the domain name.
Much of their value is explained by what I call ‘click authority.’ Consumers assume that any business with the best domain name must have been on the market longer than anyone else – and are therefore probably better than the rest.
If the most generic domain name is completely out of reach (which is likely), get creative and look for an alternative that still accurately describes your business (e.g. Sydneywindows.com.au).
If you’re only planning to trade in Australia, you should be looking for a ‘.com.au’ domain name. This instantly shows people that you’re local, which goes a long way towards building consumer confidence.
Unless your business plan includes trading overseas, there’s no real need to invest in the ‘.com’ a version of your domain.
Other extensions (.net, .biz etc) are much less credible and not worth considering.
What if my domain is already taken?
When you’re looking for a domain, your first port of call is a domain name registry like Drop or NetFleet. If you’re lucky, you might secure your chosen name for just $19 a year. Although if it’s a generic domain, its likely to be registered by someone else. As there are over 3,000,000 domains registered in Australia.
If it’s not actually in use by a competitor, you can find the owner via AusRegistry – and you may find they’re more than willing to sell… at a price…
Pro tip: be sure to approach via a personal email address rather than a business, or you may find the asking price rapidly inflate.
The right domain name may not come cheap – top Australian domain sales in 2017 included Fetch.com.au at $132,000, Sumo.com.au at $63,500 and Urban.com.au at $63,250 – but the brand recognition, and the consequent boost to your income, can deliver a high return on your investment.
If the seller’s price is beyond your budget, you may still be able to rent the domain for a monthly fee, with an option to buy at a later stage.
Why you should invest in the right domain name
As explained above, the more generic your domain name, the higher its click authority (your business looks more trustworthy, so more people click on your site, more people feel they already know your site too!).
With these extra clicks, you can leap-frog up the search engine rankings, helping you place above established businesses with better organic SEO – leading to even more clicks, even better brand recognition and even more sales.
Prime online ‘real estate’ is in high demand, so you’ll have the security of knowing that whatever happens with your business in the future, you have a valuable asset you’ll be able to sell.
Be aware, though, that you can only register a domain for two years in Australia. If you forget to renew and let your registration expire, your precious domain name will be up for grabs the moment it lapses.
Author Bio: Shaun McGowan is a digital strategist and entrepreneur who has utilised his expertise to grow multi-million dollar businesses from the ground up. His philosophy is “domain name first; business concept second” premised on the firm belief that any successful business can be developed with the right online “real estate”. Connect with Shaun via LinkedIn