1. Purchase and register your domain name
First things first: you need a domain name. This is just a fancy way of saying the URL or website address (starting with “www”) that people will use to get to your website.
You want it to be something simple and relevant to your business. Ideally, it’ll be intuitive enough for your customers to remember easily—probably related to the name you chose for your business.
Let’s say you’re opening your own bagel shop called The Corner Bagel Shop. You’d want your domain to be something simple and to the point, like www.cornerbagelshop.com.au.
That’s a great URL! Nice choice. But you actually have to buy it before you can claim it.
Where do you purchase a domain name? Today, almost everything you need to build your business website—your domain name, hosting (which we’ll talk about next), templates and more—is included in one platform or website builder. Something like Squarespace or Wix will get you everything you need in a one-stop shop.
But if you’re looking to just purchase a domain to get started, there are plenty of places you can do that. These include:
Using one of those platforms, search for the domain name that you want to use. If it’s available, you’ll purchase it and fill in your information—and then you’re the proud new owner of that domain.
What if your domain name is already taken?
It’s not uncommon that the domain name you want to use is already taken and unavailable for purchase. What then? There are a few things you can do, including:
- Change the ending: it’s true that .com.au endings are the most common (and they’re probably your best bet if you can swing it). But there are other options you can use, like .net, .net.au, or .org.
- Add another word: even adding one small word can make your domain different enough to be available. So, if www.cornerbagelshop.com.au is taken, you might be able to secure www.thecornerbagelshop.com.au.
- Add your location: that didn’t work? Try incorporating your location in some way. For example, www.bondicornerbagelshop.com.au might be available.
How much does a domain name cost?
Domain names can be surprisingly cheap. For example, Google Domains says that purchasing www.cornerbagelshop.com.au will cost just $18 per year. Exactly how much you’ll need to spend will vary, but planning for $15 to $25 per year for your domain is probably a safe bet.