Choosing a domain name

Choosing a domain name – falling off a log, right?

Well yes in that debit card in hand it’s the work of moments to buy yourself a domain name, but care is required to make sure that you register a domain name that meets the needs you have for it. This is a very general and non-technical guide to choosing a domain name.

.co.uk or .com?

Let’s assume you’re a UK organisation choosing a domain name. If you make widgets then .co.uk is the most appropriate TLD (Top Level Domain). Many companies also buy the .com to protect the name. Whether your company name ends in .com or .co.uk isn’t a major consideration, but if you’re manufacturing in the UK or just like to be loud and proud about being British then .co.uk will give you mileage.

.net or .org?

However, what if you provide online services, as we do? Then .net may well be best to show your net-based focus, and is the one we chose. If you’re a charity or non-commercial enterprise then .org or .org.uk is the best choice. Consider also the recently released raft of specialist TLDs such as .photography, .london, .wales, .hotel, .pizza and .golf.

International TLDs

Another option is international domain names that complete a word or give a snappy finish, such as .ie (Ireland), .io (British Indian Ocean Territory), .tv (Tuvalu) and .ly (Libya). There may be restrictions imposed on non-native companies registering these names, so you would need to look into each instance carefully. Generally these are best left to the funky young companies choosing a domain name to convey bounce and creativity. The golden rule here is:

identify what you’re trying to convey with your domain name, and go from there.

What if your company name’s been taken?

If you’re very very lucky your company name may still be available, but most ordinary words and names have long since been snapped up. The new supply of TLDs will ease that situation, but you could also try choosing a domain name based on a variation of your preferred name. Eg Mackay Widgets might have wanted www.mackay.co.uk, but it could also weigh up mackaywidgets.co.uk, widgets.co.uk, ukwidgets.co.uk, mackaywidgetsuk.com etc.

Bear in mind where and how this domain name will be deployed. Underscores and hyphens don’t translate well to radio advertising and ideally a URL should be fairly snappy. mackaywidgetsuk.com gets across the company name, product and location, but it’s quite long.

SEO is a whole other area of expertise. Specialist advice should be sought on this from a company such as Ethical SEO, who are, interestingly, at http://www.ethical-seo.eu/.

Can we register a domain name for you?

Once you’ve chosen your domain name you must then negotiate the minefield of filling in each field correctly. Failure to do this can put your ownership of your domain name at risk. If you’d like advice on best practice, or would like us to see through a domain name purchase for you then please get in touch.

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