Two women looking at their website on a laptop computer

Website domain and email

by Angus Jones

As a small business, you have the option to have your own website and email address and the cost of doing so is not excessive.  This guide will help direct you on how to obtain your fist website domain name.

A domain name is your website name. Domain name is the address where Internet users can access your website. A domain name is used for finding and identifying computers on the Internet. Computers use IP addresses, which are a series of numbers.

I hope that when you registered your business name you also considered if the name you chose was also available as a domain name on the internet.  One of the disappointing processes of starting a business is someone is already using or has registered the name you want.

WHY do you need a website domain?

In this internet age most businesses will benefit from having a presence or being able to be contacted via the internet.

As a minimum we recommend you have an email address you can be contacted on.  This could be as simple as registering an email address free via Google or Hotmail.   For example on Gmail you can visit https://accounts.google.com/signup and choose a name like mybestnewbusiness and end up with an email account [email protected] which will enable people to email you and you to receive them and reply.

WHAT is involved in getting a Domain name?

The most common method for businesses to have their web presence is to set up your own website domain.  For example, Small Business Answers bought their domain sbanswers.com and then subsequently used that domain to establish a website and create multiple email accounts.  There are many websites that allow you to register your domain and some of the more popular in Australia include godaddy.com and crazydomains.com.au . The easier your domain name is to recall the better but unfortunately most of the good ones are taken. Your chosen name should ideally be easy to remember, short, and represent your business.  

You will find you will be presented with a search box to enter your proposed name. After you enter it you will be presented with the cost if it is available, the option to backorder, or some suggested alternatives.  The first thing, you will notice is the extension can be different after your name.  It might say xxxx.com or xxxx.com.au, xxxx.org, or xxx.net.  .com is the most common and is the global extension, .com.au is the Australian equivalent. Our advice is to try to get .com or .com.au if you only do business in Australia.  If for example you have .net someone might hear about you type .com instead of .net and you do not get the business. Note that if you use a com.au domain name you must also have registered a business in the same name.

If you cannot get the name you want, do you have any options?  Yes, someone who simply wanted to make money from it may have bought the name you want.  In other words, they bought it in the hope one day someone would pay more money to own it. Thus, you may be able to either pay extra if they are willing to sell it, or  wait for their subscription to that name expire and hope they don’t pay to hold it anymore.

HOW do I put my new domain name to work?

You want your customers to reach you via email and the company that sold you your domain is most likely also going to offer you email and website solutions for a set amount each month.  The cost of this is not expensive and they own all the equipment to facilitate the process.  This means you do not need expensive computer hardware running behind the scenes to make it all work and do not have to worry about reliability and security. Once you have subscribed to an email solution you will have a simple-to-use administration screen to set up the appropriate email addresses for your business like [email protected] or [email protected] then associate a password. Your provider should also make available support services and tutorials that will guide you through the process of setting up your email on your PC or mobile phone.

The next step is to create a website for your business. The easiest way to do this is to select a template from your provider and fill it out.  The even easier way is to pay someone to design a website for you, which is a great option if you have the cash and lack confidence.  See our essential guide for building a website.  Remember this site for many will be how your business is seen, so its design, pictures, and content is all critical to your success.

HINT

Your website is now built and published on the internet but do not expect people will swamp it on its first day.  It will take some time before search engines like Google find it and as nobody knows your new domain name yet, they won’t find it organically.  In a separate guide we will cover SEO Search Engine Optimisation and SEM Search Engine Marketing. Put simply these are ways to make your business found more easily on the web and tactics you can use to promote your business on the internet.

SUMMARY – A domain name is your website address

Having a domain name gives your small business an address on the internet where customers can find you and communicate with you by email.  You will need to register your domain name and then build out a site as appropriate.

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1 comment

Register a Business Name > Small Business Answers August 28, 2020 - 3:34 PM

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