continuation to choosing a good domain name
Plurals, “The”, and “My” Forms of the Domain Name
Very often, if the domain name you want is gone, the domain name registrar will suggest alternate forms of the name you typed. For example, if you wanted website.com.au, and it was taken (of course it is), it might suggest forms like:
and more just like these, if they were not already taken as well. The question is, should you choose one or take them all?
My personal opinion is that if you take the “the…” and “my…” forms of the domain name, you must always remember to promote your site with the full form of the name. Otherwise, people are likely to forget to use the necessary “the” or “my”.
On the other hand, I would not take the plural form of the domain name (eg, websites.com) if I cannot also get “website.com”, since the chance of the visitor failing to type the “s” in the name is very great. Think about the famous name tussle between etoys.com and etoy.com. Many people wanting to go to etoys.com were apparently going to etoy.com instead. If it happened to them, it can happen to you too.
COM.au, ORG.au, NET.au, etc?
One common question people ask who can’t get the “.com.au” domain of their choice, but find the “.net.au”, “.org.au” or other country-specific top level domains (TLDs) available (like .co, .cc, .nz, etc). Should they try for these?
The answer is not as straightforward as you might think. If your website or business caters to the local Australian community, such as a pizza delivery business in Golburn or recruitment agency or the like, then it makes sense to get the country-specific domain. You actually benefit from having such a local domain because the people in Australia know that they’re dealing with a local business, which is what they want. After all, if they stay in (say) the United KingdomAustralia, they’re not likely to want to try to order pizza from pizzaparlour.com, which suggests an international site. You’ll have better luck calling it pizzaparlour.com.au, ie, with a AU domain.
What if yours is a site or business that can benefit from an international audience? There are many different opinions on this. I’ll just mention a few common ones.
The first thoughts goe on the premise that it is better to have a domain name of your choice “myperfectname” even if it has a TLD of “.net”, “.org” or some other country specific suffix, than to end up choosing an obscure domain name for the simple reason you can’t get your first choice. Thus they would settle for domain names like “myperfectname.co” or “myperfectname.cc” or whatever. Against this is the argument that if you get a country specific domain, people might think that your business only caters to that country and not Australian customers.
Another train of thought finds that “.net” and “.org” extensions are actually quite acceptable domain names. For some, the “.org” extension actually describes the non-profit nature of their organization. So, for example, the famous Fred Hollows Foundation can be found at “hollows.org”.
Others only choose the “.com” suffix and no less. As grounds for their arguments, the browser algorithms use to locate a website when a user simply types a name like “my name” into the browser. Apparently, the browser searches for a domain name “myname.com.au” before attempting “myname.net.au”, etc. As such, people who do that will be delivered to your competitor’s site if you do not also own the “.com.au” extension. Indeed, even if people do not rely on their browser to complete their typing, many simply assume a “.com.au” extension when they type a domain name, so if your business is “My Name”, they’ll just assume your domain name is “myname.com.au” rather than “myname.net.au” or some other such name.
In case you got lost in the forest of explanation (or the reverse) in my arguments here, let me reiterate the main point of this article: get that domain name before you start your site or business.
Don’t make the mistake of attempting to retrofit your domain name to your business or website. My first website did not originally start out with that name I wanted, and I encountered a huge hassle (and lost visitors) as a result of the URL changes. Don’t make that mistake too.