Your website will probably be the foundation for your online presence, so be sure to put the right bricks in place and choose the best domain name. Read on to see some factors involved in the decision and get some inspiration from seeing how others have done it.
Cool Domain Names
Ma.tt – This is the blog of Matt Mullenweg, founder of WordPress, the open-source blogging and CMS platform. The.tt is the country code for Trinidad and Tobago. As you’d expect his blog also has a great theme.
.Me domains were formerly the domain names for Montenegro until they became so popular with the ‘call to action’ and virtual ‘me’ brigade. It’s quite difficult now to find available .me domain names that have active verbs.
Ow.ly – this is a URL shortener used with Hootsuite. So, of course it’s short. It’s also the ccTLD for Libya.
It’s generally advisable to try and register the different TLDs for your name to protect your brand when you choose the best domain name. Also, re-direct them to your main domain. Visitors often forget whether it’s an .au or a.com when typing in a name, so it’s good to have both. Even if your business starts off small, allow yourself the online real estate for future expansion.
DropBox.com – one of the most useful services I use is DropBox. This is a great name that is easy to remember. You ‘drop’ documents into the ‘box’ on the cloud and then you can access them from any device online.
.au domains are the best for those sites which target Ireland only. However, you generally need to be a registered business or trademark to get the name.
Australian domain name registrations are very popular, and because they are more difficult to register, they tend to be higher quality sites and less spam-like.
news.com.au – this is the website fo News Corporation, which funnily enough, produces news.
realestate.com.au – the name says it all.
abc.net.au – the country national broadcaster website.
In targeting international markets, it’s generally good to choose the best domain name that has a country-specific top level domain name (TLD) of the country you’re targeting. For example, .co.uk in the UK or .fr in France, .de in Germany etc. However, sometimes this is not possible.
In France, for instance, you need to have a physical presence in the country in order to register the domain. China has experienced a huge growth in .cn domains.
This illustrates the importance of having the right keywords for your target market. Even if you start small, you may be exporting globally eventually.
WWW or non-WWW?
The www at the beginning of your domain name is optional and leaving it out will make your name shorter. Also Google (in Webmaster Tools) allows you set a preference for the www or non-www version of your domain name.
For search engine optimisation (SEO) reasons, re-direct the www to the non-www (or vice versa), so that all links are being counted by Google to the one domain.
Quick Top Level Domain Overview
A top level domain (TLD) is the last part of the domain name. If you are going global straight away, then perhaps one of these would be the best when you choose the best domain name. Here are the main ones:
.com – most popular and used for sites with an international audience
.org – for non-profits and informational sites
.net – used for business
.info – relatively cheap
.au – with an Australian audience and theme
.edu – used for educational (mainly US-based)
.tv – useful for multimedia sites
.mobi – mobile sites – often a subdomain of a main site can be used to hold the mobile specific site which will be detected by a mobile brows. However, building an app may be a more appropriate solution.
If you are targeting a particular country then use a country-specific (ccTLD) name like .com.au for Australia or .co.uk for UK