A domain name is your website’s name and the address that customers will use to access it. Your domain name will be the URL you use to promote your website too. The right domain name can work for you, impact your business in a positive direction, and be a force for good for you. The wrong domain can negatively impact your business, so you must make sure you give this decision all the thought it needs, and we’re here to help you, of course!
This domain registration guide will tell you what you need to know about domain name extensions, how to choose the right one for your needs, and the steps you’ll need to take to check if a domain name is available and to register your domain.
Ready to take your business online? Here are a few things to consider:
Step 1. Pick the right domain name
Think about your business name, domain names can’t be less than three characters or more than 63 characters long, so check yours fits within this. Try to keep the domain name you buy simple, memorable, easy to type and straight to the point.
You should also consider whether it’s related to the product or service you offer e.g. turbotyres.com. By choosing a relevant name, users online will be able to find your business through keyword searches in Google.
- Keep it super-short
If you choose a long and difficult-to-spell domain name, potential customers may mistype it or lose patience with it before they even get to your site, and this could mean you lose out on business or sales. Short and sweet domain names are always the way to go.
- Make it easy for users to type
Your domain name must be easy to type, so make sure you don’t leave your domain open to any interpretation, like using slang, text-speak, or shortened words. It will make it harder for your potential customers to type, and you risk losing them in the process. It’s easy to get so focused on finding a good name that you may not notice spelling mishaps so it’s always worth asking a friend to have a look before you register your domain name.
- Use your keywords
When you choose your business domain name, consider what keywords someone might use to find your services, and consider whether these keywords could make up a good domain name for you, making your SEO work just a little bit easier. If at all possible, using your main keywords in your domain will be great for SEO.
- Don’t use numbers
It’s not that you can’t use numbers in your domain name, it’s that unless a number is part of your business name, you just shouldn’t. The exception to this, is if your business name includes a number, and in this case, the best thing to do is to register two domain names: One with the numeral number (1) and one with the spelled-out number (one).
- Don’t use hyphens
It’s generally best to avoid hyphens in domain names. Not because it affects SEO, which most people assume – Google’s crawlers don’t care whether your domain name has hyphens or not – but rather that websites with hyphens are at risk of being perceived as “spammy”. If you must use hyphens in your website, keep it to only one, as they can give users a negative view of your website.
- Consider your email address
Before you register a long domain name, think about your email address. Is it going to be easy for customers to remember if you call it out over the phone? Is it difficult to spell? If you register a domain like mygorgeousblackdress.suffix, would it also be worth considering registering mgbd.suffix so you have the option of a shorter email address?
Step 2. Choose the right extension (after the dot)
The ending to your domain name (like .com or .net) is called a ‘domain extension’ or a ‘TLD’ (Top-Level Domain), and it’s important to choose the right one. Look at which extensions are available but remember, some restrictions apply, so before you buy a domain name read the suffix information.
There are so many extensions to choose from! Think about which domain extension will be right for you.
- The most popular…
.com is the most popular and most recognised domain suffix in the world. Many people automatically type it to find what they are looking for so if your domain name is available in a .com, it’s a great idea to grab it! Even if you don’t want to use it as your main suffix, you can always set it up to forward to the domain of your choice.
- The local suffix…
If your target market is your local area or the country you live in, choosing your local country code domain is the ideal option. For example, if you live in the Albania you could choose a .AL domain name, or in Germany you could choose a .de or in Ireland you could go for a .ie. Check out the whole range of country code domain names. By choosing your local domain suffix your visitors will feel at home and it also helps build credibility and trust in your business.
- New domain extensions…
If you’d prefer a more descriptive domain extension, there are hundreds to choose from for example .football, .online, .photography, .party and .ninja. There are even geo-location domains like .berlin and .london. Its easy to showcase your business or project, so whether you’re a lawyer, a yoga teacher, you sell diamonds or love dogs – there is definitely a suffix for you. Why not dive in and explore now?
Step 3. Buy your domain name
Now you’ve chosen your domain name, it’s time to snap it up while it’s still available! Millions of people buy domain names every day, so a domain that might be available now, could be gone tomorrow.
To get a domain, you have to register the domain name. The governing body which oversees registrations is called ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). However, while ICANN keeps a record of domain registrations, people usually do the registering via their internet service provider, i.e., the company they choose to host their website.
The process is fairly simple to carry out and starts by visiting the host’s domains page to search for a suitable name. If the combination of name and extension you want to use is available, you can register it straight away. If it isn’t you will usually be presented with a range of similar options you can choose from. For example, if you wanted mybusiness.com and found it to be taken, you might find that mybusiness.co.uk or mybusiness.uk are still available. If you would like to give this a try, visit our domains page now and see how it works.
- Protect your brand
Once you have decided on a domain name, it’s good to purchase various other domains names for brand protection. Consider securing the most common extensions (like .net and .org if you have chosen .com for your website), so others don’t start using domain names that are close to yours. Also, look for common misspellings and domain names that are very close to yours, this way, you don’t get a competitor buying these and taking advantage of your brand name.
- Domain ownership isn’t permanent
Although it’s your domain, you don’t actually own it; you only ever get leasehold. When you register the domain, you’ll pay for either one or two years’ registration and then you’ll need to keep on registering it for as long as you need it. As long as you do this, the domain remains yours and is protected. However, if you fail to re-register, ICANN is at liberty to let someone else register it and this can be catastrophic as anyone who visits your website address may find someone else’s website there instead of yours. Registration is not expensive, ranging from around £7 to £20 a year, depending on the domain name extension you choose.
Ready to get started?
You never know if someone out there is looking to register the exact domain name you’re after, so in the world of domain names, there’s always a bit of urgency. Our advice is never to wait – register your domain name as soon as you can.. It’s time to buy the perfect domain name!