Domain names: a shortish guide
A domain is the home of your website, for example "www.yourname.com". Your domain name is the centre of your Internet identity, so what type of things should you take into consideration when choosing the name that will represent you on the Web?
A well-chosen domain name should be short and easy-to-remember; users do not like to type lengthy names in to their browser's address bar.
If you have already registered a company name, then it makes sense to use this name as your domain name. However, it makes even more sense to register a second name that will enhance your presence, or ‘findability’, on the Internet.
A good domain name means a good web presence, so it should be recognisable, easy to remember and, most importantly, reflect the nature of your business. This last point cannot be stressed highly enough; Google, the Internet’s most popular search engine, attaches high importance to a website whose domain name reflects its content - for example, a vineyard with ‘wine.com’ or ‘grapes.co.uk’ as its domain name. Most Internet users will search for a product name or service as opposed to a business name, so a relevant domain name will greatly increase the chances of your site being found. The following example illustrates the importance of choosing an effective domain name.
Guss Granger sells trampolines. The name of his company is Guss Granger Ltd. Guss sold 100 trampolines in two months through ‘www.trampolines-r-guss.co.uk’ when it was launched in October, whereas it took ‘www.gussgranger.co.uk’ the whole summer to sell a hundred.
Google thinks highly of Guss’s new website. It has the word ‘trampolines’ in its domain name and its pages are littered with the word ‘trampolines’. Someone using the key word ‘trampolines’ in their search is very likely to find what they want at Guss’s site.
There are several types of domain name that you can register, e.g. .com, .co.uk, .org, .net, .info and .eu to name just a few. If your target audience is the United Kingdom, it is a good idea to choose .co.uk. This will inform people that your business and website is based in the UK and is aimed at UK residents. If your target audience is global then use a .com domain name as no geographical region will be associated with it.
Domain names are cheap so registering more than one can be done on a small budget.
There is no need to have separate websites as several domain names can direct people to the same website!
This means that your business stationery can sport the web address "www.businessname.com", but anyone typing this address into their browser will be taken to "www.widgets.com", for example. This extremely useful 'forwarding' facility can make all the difference to your search engine ranking.
Domains are always in lower case. Hyphens and numbers (e.g. c5.co.uk) are allowed. Hyphens can be used to represent a 'space', e.g. ‘john-smith.co.uk’.
Registering your domain name for more than one year will enhance its status or ‘search ranking’ with Google. Illegitimate businesses often register domain names for only one year, and then discard them, whereas domains registered for longer periods give the indication that their owner is operating a legitimate business.
Note that .co.uk names must be registered for a minimum of two years – this is a requirement of the UK registrar, Nominet. Dot com and .eu names can be registered for any number of years from one to ten.
If you've decided on a domain name, you'll first need to find out if it's still available! You can take advantage of the Address Checker on our email services web site (please note that this link opens in a new window - when you've finished, close it to return to this page). You can either go ahead and order your new domain name, or get in touch with us if you want to discuss a web design project and we'll register your choice of domain name for you.