Chapter 1: How to Choose a Domain Name That Best Represents Your Business

 

Everything You Need to Consider When Starting Your Own Website

Chapter 1: How to Choose a Domain Name That Best Represents Your Business

 

Everything You Need to Consider When Starting Your Own Website

Domain Names

 

A domain name is the entry point to your website and you simply can’t have a professional-looking website without a domain name of your own. The domain name that you select could be with you for a long time and changing domain names isn’t something that should be done regularly…

 

Therefore, it is worth taking some time to choose a memorable domain that represents your business ethos and that correctly considers the technical implications of a given domain extension. In this chapter, we will explain how domain names work so you can make an educated decision on this important first step.

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The Anatomy of a Domain Name

Generally, a domain name is broken into three main parts which are logically split from right to left.

We can dissect www.bowlerhat.co.uk as follows:

www.

a label known as a subdomain & a subdivision of bowlerhat.co.uk

bowlerhat

this is the label or domain itself & is a subdivision of .co.uk

.co.uk

this is the domain extension

Choosing a Domain Extension

The first thing to consider is the domain extension (.co.uk, .com). Let’s have a quick look at the domain name extensions available and what they actually stand for. This will provide you with the knowledge to select the domain extension most relevant for your business.

The list is not exhaustive but covers the usual suspects:

.eu domain extension for the European Union

.co.uk commercial UK

.com commercial, usually USA but also used for worldwide commerce

.me domain extension for Montenegro & also used for individuals

.mobi use for mobile devices & services

.info purely informational sites & resources

.biz for business use

.uk.com commercial UK

.net generic extension, for worldwide sites

.uk.net generic, UK

.org.uk UK organisations

.me.uk UK individuals

.org organisations

.tel a global contacts directory

.name individuals and named services

So, as you can see, there are a few options. Generally speaking, if you are to going be running a business in the UK then the .co.uk is the one to go for. You can back this up with the .com as well but it is not necessary to do so. The uk.com,.biz and.eu are also used but if possible you are well advised to stick with the .co.uk or .com as they are the most commonly recognised of all domain extensions for UK businesses.

Note

 

.co.uk domains are automatically assumed to target the UK by Google so this saves you a technical step to correctly geo-target your site. A .com can be set to target the UK or any country.

Choosing Your Domain Name

Right, so you have decided upon a domain extension (or a shortlist) and are ready to start looking for your domain name. This is where it can get a little tricky as so many of the obvious domain name choices have already been snaffled up.

Ideally, your domain name should be the same as your website name. So, for Bowler Hat we use www.bowlerhat.co.uk. This is really just a common sense factor as people will learn to know your business name and will type that into a search engine when looking for you. If you are an existing business, then people already know you and your brand so this is doubly important.

 

Once you have decided on some options for your domain name, you need to visit a domain registrar and search for the domain. You can search for and register a domain at any domain registrar, we like to use www.123reg.co.uk.

 

If your desired name is taken and you are an existing business, it is not the end of the world. You can ensure that your site still comes up for searches for your business name easily enough, so go for a short or simple abbreviation.

 

This is easier for new businesses as you can take the naming of your business into account when looking up available domain names and make sure the two are well aligned. If you are doing this, I would also factor in social media, and services like www.knowem.com will allow you to check domain names and social media platforms in one fell swoop.

 

Outside of the domain extensions, there are no hard and fast rules; if your business name is Ted’s Interesting Tape Solutions then the abbreviation may be a little misleading (and likely taken). Use your common sense, find something that is easy to read from a business card, easy to type, and can be passed on by word of mouth with a low probability of error (avoid-hyphens).

Choosing Your Domain Name

Right, so you have decided upon a domain extension (or a shortlist) and are ready to start looking for your domain name. This is where it can get a little tricky as so many of the obvious domain name choices have already been snaffled up.

Ideally, your domain name should be the same as your website name. So, for Bowler Hat we use www.bowlerhat.co.uk. This is really just a common sense factor as people will learn to know your business name and will type that into a search engine when looking for you. If you are an existing business, then people already know you and your brand so this is doubly important.

 

Once you have decided on some options for your domain name, you need to visit a domain registrar and search for the domain. You can search for and register a domain at any domain registrar, we like to use www.123reg.co.uk.

 

If your desired name is taken and you are an existing business, it is not the end of the world. You can ensure that your site still comes up for searches for your business name easily enough, so go for a short or simple abbreviation.

 

This is easier for new businesses as you can take the naming of your business into account when looking up available domain names and make sure the two are well aligned. If you are doing this, I would also factor in social media, and services like www.knowem.com will allow you to check domain names and social media platforms in one fell swoop.

 

Outside of the domain extensions, there are no hard and fast rules; if your business name is Ted’s Interesting Tape Solutions then the abbreviation may be a little misleading (and likely taken). Use your common sense, find something that is easy to read from a business card, easy to type, and can be passed on by word of mouth with a low probability of error (avoid-hyphens).

Registering a Domain

Once you have found an available domain name, you need to register it right away and fill in all the relevant details. The big deal here is to make sure you are using a reputable domain name registrar, reason being is that you need to be the registered owner and many of the underhanded companies will take ownership themselves so they can overcharge you once you have a successful website tied to that domain.

 

A good registrar will also provide a control panel with a series of tools you can use including email forwarding, a temporary holding page, and the ability to make all of the changes to where the domain name points when you get your site up and running.

 

The actual process itself is easy enough. You provide your business details and the period of time for which you want to register the domain name and make payment. It is important to note you never really own the domain name, you just have the right to use it for the given period of time and first refusal to re-register the domain name at the end of the given period.

 

We like 123-reg.co.uk for domains and knowem.com for registering social media profiles if you want to grab more than the obvious.

Domain Auctions

 

There are lots of domain auctions out there and most domain registrars provide premium domain options. These can range from hundreds to thousands of pounds with no additional benefits beyond the specific wording.

Choosing Your Domain

 

Certainly, focus more on brand than on specific keywords and don’t be tempted to pick up domains like www.what-i-do-where-i-do-it.com as there is no real SEO benefit (and it can in some instances be harmful).

It is always worth reviewing the history of a domain if it seems too good to be true. It may have had a previous life where it was used for a spam site or network. Reviewing the domain’s previous life on the internet archive and checking for backlinks on a tool like Majestic SEO will give you some insight.

Free 30-Minute Consultation

If you have any questions or would like some help choosing and registering a domain name, please drop us an email via the link below. We can help dig into the history of a domain to make sure you don’t buy a stinker and we can also register a domain and social profiles on your behalf. We also offer a free 30-minute consultation in which we analyse your requirements and provide you with a strategy to get started with your small business website.

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