It’s really exciting to be starting a new business. Time and time again, though, I see great businesses having to spend tens of thousands of dollars on trying to build their brands in competitive industries. Why not just buy a brand? For a few thousand dollars you could get; instant brand recall, click authority, trust, more enquiries and more sales.
By buying the best domain name for your industry. See, when you have the best domain name, what the domain industry calls a “category killer”, it gives you the above instantly.
WHAT IS A CATEGORY KILLER DOMAIN NAME?
If you sell cupcakes, the category killer domain name is cupcakes.com.au. If you sell mobile phones, it would be mobilephones.com.au. It’s the most relevant, most descriptive domain for your business.
As consumers, we perceive these domain names to have the best businesses on them. These businesses must have been around for years; how else could they have this category killer, most descriptive domain name?! They must be successful. By having this “trust” factor, your business will shave years off the process of trying to create a brand. You essentially buy one. Also, this perceived trust will give you more enquiries and more sales.
HOW DO I KNOW?
I rebranded my previous business from Beep to CarLoans.com.au – every metric we measured increased exponentially. Overnight. It was the best decision we made. More website visitors, more enquiries and ultimately more sales.
I often hear from small business owners that the domain name in their industry is taken – this could be the case, but it doesn’t mean you can’t get something almost as good. The stronger your domain name, the better off you will be. This happened to me recently, in my new business venture.
The category killer was already being used by a competitor. I looked for the next best thing, and I paid $35,000 to acquire the domain name Lend.com.au – we offer loans to small businesses, so Lend is perfect. It’s a four letter finance domain that is highly descriptive of what we do. We “lend” money! It’s instantly memorable.
HOW MUCH DO DOMAINS COST?
Ultimately, a domain is worth what someone is willing to pay for it. Finance and insurance names are generally the most expensive. However, the broader a domain is, the bigger the potential it has and this will be reflected in the price.
Here are some recent Australian domain name sales to illustrate the prices being paid:
InvestmentProperty.com.au – $137,501
BinHireMelbourne.com.au – $3,500
Utes.com.au – $3,338
Logic.com.au – $2,688
HomeLoanCalculator.com.au – $36,301
Vitamins.com.au – $20,000
Physician.com.au – $1,500
Hammocks.com.au – $1,647
CreditReport.com.au – $27,500
Toys.com.au – $90,585
Bitcoin.com.au – $39,930
DO YOU NEED TO BUY .COM OR ANY OTHER EXTENSION (.NET, .BIZ ETC)?
If you are a local business with local ambitions, then no. If you sell a scalable global product like software, then yes, you may want to consider securing the dot com. But note as a general rule of thumb a dot com will cost you up to 20-25x the price of the dot au domain.
Dot com domain names regularly sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars – to see the top reported sales in 2016 so far click here.
You would only ever consider any other extension if there were no other choices which would never be the case. Dot com and dot com dot au have had a 25 year plus marketing campaign.
DO DOMAIN NAMES GIVE YOU AN ADVANTAGE FOR SEO?
In my opinion yes. But not how you probably expect. One of Google’s 200+ ranking algorithms is best explained by leapfrogging. When a search engine returns the results, if the better domain is clicked on more frequently than a search result above, it has the potential to leapfrog it and take its higher position. This is what click authority is. The perceived trust of the best domain gives you the click authority.
HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT BUYING A DOMAIN NAME THAT IS ALREADY REGISTERED?
There are over 3 million Australian domain names registered so it’s likely that the domain name you are after is already registered.
There are multiple websites where you can find domain names that are already registered. NetFleet.com.au has the largest selection of names. Alternatively, you can always simply type in your desired domain into your browser and see if a website comes up.
AusRegistry provide a tool so you can see who is the current registrant of any .au domain name. You can see their email, and you can reach out to them to see if they would be willing to part with it.
In Australia, you can only register (licence) a domain name for two years, after which time you need to pay a renewal fee to continue being the registrant. If you fail to pay this renewal fee, your licence to this domain will expire. You can see an entire list of expiring domain names here at Drop.com.au
If you’re a startup, I encourage you to look for the best domain name before finalising your business name. If you’re already operating, don’t forget, it’s never too late to rebrand.
About the author
Shaun McGowan is a digital strategist and entrepreneur who has utilised his expertise to grow multi-million dollar businesses from the ground up. His philosophy is “domain name first; business concept second” premised on the firm belief that any successful business can be developed with the right online “real estate”. Shaun is the co-founder of small business loan provider Lend.