Your Domain Name: Why It Matters and How to Take Care of It

You can’t overstate the importance of owning your own domain name. It’s your own piece of virtual real estate on the World Wide Web, Just like property in the real world, your domain can become a very valuable piece of real estate if you develop it.

Far too many business owners just don’t see the potential that their domain name has. They forget to use it in their marketing materials and sometimes even forget to renew it, losing their grip on what could have been some prime property.

The following are some pointers on choosing and using your domain:

Choose Wisely

When it comes to your online presence, your domain name is synonymous with your brand. Decide carefully on your domain name, since it’s going to change everything about your marketing efforts from here on in. A short name is always better, since it’s easy to remember. If your brand name doesn’t have the advantage of being brief and catchy or you anticipate that it will take a while to become widely known then you may want to combine it with a keyword related to your business.

Try not to choose a name which is very similar to another website which is already up and running; you could end up with some of their traffic and vice versa – traffic which probably isn’t doing either of you any good.

Domain Extensions

What domain name extension you decide on depends on where your business is located, where your largest markets are and of course, which are available. You could choose .com, .com.au, .net, .org and so on depending on location and availability. If your most important market is in Australia, then .com.au makes sense; it demonstrates to consumers that you are registered as a business in the country. If you’re trying to sell worldwide, then .com is the way to go. Of course many of the good .com domains are already taken. If you can, buy both the .com and the .com.au extensions to protect your brand from a competitor setting up shop using a near identical domain name.

Domain Registrar

Buy domain names only from a domain registrar with a good reputation. There may be someone cheaper, but you may end up with more trouble (or additional fees) than those savings are worth! Look for good customer service and complete access to your domain for easy account management. Free transfer to a different domain registrar if you find their service unsatisfactory is also something to look for.

Marketing Your Domain

Keep your website in the minds of consumers by using it in all of your advertising and marketing materials, company letterhead, business cards, etc. Make sure to change your contact information to reflect your new domain based email address as well – this has a much more professional appearance.

Don’t Let Your Domain Expire!

If your domain is an integral part of your business, forgetting your domain renewal could be disastrous. It’s best to renew your domain in advance of the expiry date to ensure that your site has no outages and your email service is not interrupted. If you let your registration lapse, someone else (probably a competitor) is likely to buy it. Any reputable domain name registrar will send you a domain renewal notice by email to remind you that your domain will be expiring soon.

Watch Out For Scammers!

There are con artists everywhere and the web has some who sell phony domain name services. These include fake domain renewals and what is called “blackmailing”, where a scammer contacts you to say that they have a domain name for sale which is similar to your own – and that someone else is interested. They’ll offer to sell you the domain name at an inflated price of course. If you’ve received such an offer and suspect a scam, report it to your current domain registrar and ask them what to do.

The end result here is that you should select your domain name carefully and then watch over it as you would any other part of your business as you develop this piece of cyberspace real estate into a valuable and profitable part of your business.

Andrew Plimmer is CEO of Suncoast Internet, Sunshine Coast domain name, web design, web development and SEO specialists. For more about domain name registration at Suncoast Internet go to =>
http://www.suncoastinternet.com.au/

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