Setting up your new business is exciting but also terrifying! What do I name the business? Do I set up a home office? Do I start the business whilst still working at my old lacklustre job? Do I? Should I? When can I?
And that’s before you even get to the tech.
At the very start of the tech setup journey for your business lies the fundamental decisions;
What name do I give my website?
Dot com or dot co dot nz or some other local derivative?
Here are four things you’ll want to consider when making the decision about whether to put a dot com on it.
First things first; what do you want your website to say? Not just the content that’s typically straight-forward but what kind of impression do you want your website to make? Marketers believe that branding is vital to creating your new business’ online personality. Branding covers many things including your business’ name, your corporate colours and visual identity, the type of website your business will have (WordPress?) and what your URL will be.
If your branding is going to present a corporate image, then it would be worth seeking out a .com URL. Most major businesses and brands adopt a .com suffix, though not all. Some major businesses will adopt a .co.nz or .kiwi or .nz suffix if identify as Kiwi born and bred! EG/ Kiwibank uses .co.nz and that makes sense as a home-grown bank.
Whilst it might be the most valuable don’t forget that .com is not the only popular TLD (top-level domain) other popular ones include - .org .net. .biz and industry specific ones such as .edu .ac.nz .school .mil though you will need to prove you are indeed representative in those areas – education or military.
The next thing to consider is where are your customer based right now? If you are starting a small business with a global reach – and well done you, if you are – then you will want to consider the .com suffix as it reflects the global reach. It will cost more for you to register a .com and there is likely to be more competition for it but if you want to reach beyond the shores of Aotearoa then this makes sound sense. There is also a certain cachet about .com that suggests that your small business is bigger than it is or even more established.
Of course, if your customers are local, such as in the case of a local café it would make just as much sense to use the .nz or .kiwi or .co.nz suffixes. In this situation small (and local) can be beautiful.
Your customers might be local right now, but what are your plans for growth? If you plan to reach out to the global marketplace then it would pay for you to secure the .com right now and hang onto it. Who knows your business might be so successful and grow so massively that in time you will need to buy up localised versions of your website name - .kiwi .com.au .uk etc. If you truly do have plans for worldwide domination, why not go ahead with all the other major tld’s (top level domains) so that you keep them safe from poachers. It is not uncommon for unscrupulous sorts to buy up all the ‘good’ names and the various extensions and then demand an extortionate price when the rightful business seeks to buy them years later.
One thing that can have a bearing on whether you choose .com (4 characters) or .co.nz (6 characters) is something very simple – how long is the business name? Long names do not work well online and can be a pain when you need all-important space on social media. If your business name is already long, then reflect on how long your specific page URL’s will be, with an even longer TLD. It may be vital to choose the shortest suffix you possibly can. That could be .com or it could be .nz or .net.
In the end, the decision will come back to what it is you are trying to achieve with the naming of your business and what names are available. Don’t chose a domain name like another as confusion does not make for happy customers, be careful about unusual spelling and steer clear of a gimmicky name using the words ‘sexy’ or ‘cheap’.
Once you have hit on a great name for your new business, don’t waste any time selecting the appropriate TLD.
By Vicki Jeffels
Vicki has been writing about the web since Adam was boy and used to access the information superhighway via dialup. As well as writing for the Freeparking Team, Vicki lectures in Digital Marketing and is the Managing Director of Digital Discussions.
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