Before you do anything online for your new trade business, one of the first steps is to secure your domain name.
Domains names are cheap and easy to register, so there’s no reason not to get yourself a proper domain for your business.
Why do I need a domain name?
Your domain name is your permanent address on the internet.
You can use it for your email address to make your business look more professional, and you can use it for your website.
Even if you don’t have a website, you can redirect your domain to your Facebook or Instagram profile until you decide to get a website.
Choosing a domain name
There are a few different ways a tradie can go here.
If you have an ABN you can register an Australian domain name. That means a domain name ending in com.au or net.au.
What’s the difference? Nothing really, but everyone wants a com.au, and the net.au tends to be the second option if your preferred com.au isn’t available.
What about good old .com and .net etc? Sure these are great, but given they cover the whole world there is far less chance that your preferred name will be available.
So your first preference should be to go for a com.au, and one that is a match for your business. But don’t be surprised if the one you want is not available…
Say your business name is Northside Plumbing. Your first preference might be northsideplumbing.com.au, but a search quickly shows that domain name is already taken. Why? Well there are plenty of different businesses in Australia that have a very similar name and therefore want that same domain name.
So you could try northsideplumbing.net.au, but that’s already taken too. What about northside-plumbing.com.au? It’s available!
It’s not desirable to have a hyphen in your domain as it makes telling people your website or email address more confusing.
Instead of being able to say “northside plumbing dot com dot au”, you have to say “northside hyphen plumbing dot com dot au”. It might not seem like a big deal, but it’s definitely not idea.
Another option is to put the name of your city on the domain. So you could try northsideplumbingbrisbane.com.au, which is available. It’s longer, but it avoids the hyphen.
Another option is to go with one of the new city domains, which instead of using com or com.au etc, they use the city name. Not all cities have one, but both Melbourne and Sydney do.
So you could go with northsideplumbing.melbourne or northsideplumbing.sydney, which are both available.
The jury is still out on this type of domain name, as people just aren’t used to a domain name which looks like that. They might try and stick a .com or com.au on the end, thinking you’re said it wrong.
I don’t have a website, so why do I need a domain name?
Plenty of trade businesses get along just fine without a domain name.
This is especially true for a subcontractor who gets all of their business through builders. Why do they need a website or domain name?
Fair point, but we’ll argue that for the sake of $10 a year you should still grab it.
Let’s say your business name is Moore Carpentry. At the time of writing this article, moorecarpentry.com.au is available. It’s the perfect domain for your business and you can grab it right now for $10.
A few years down the track you might have grown your business from being a single subbie to a small team doing renovations. You decide to build a website to grow your business even more, but now the name is gone and you have to choose an inferior option.
The other benefit of having a domain name is that your email address can look a whole lot more professional. Instead of having an email like firstname.lastname@example.org you can look more professional with an email like email@example.com.
You can also setup additional addresses such as firstname.lastname@example.org to keep your messages organised and maintain that professional appearance to your clients and providers.
How to register a domain name
Registering a domain name for your trade business couldn’t be easier.
Search Google for ‘domain name registration’ and you’ll find plenty of options, most with very competitive pricing.
Then enter your preferred domain name, try some alternatives if your first option is already taken, and pay your $10 (or so) to have the name registered.
From there you can do whatever you want. You might want to go all-in with a website and an online marketing campaign, or you might simply leave it there knowing that your domain has been secured for future use.
Whatever your trade business, registering your domain name should be one of the first things you do as part of your business and marketing plan.