Busting through the jargon web Part 6 - Domain Names?

What is a domain name?

A domain name is your unique address on the internet - it labels and signposts to your website so people can find it e.g. our domain name is www.uskvalleypromotions.com

The importance of​ registering your business name and domain name

​Your domain name is very important to your business. Choosing and registering a business name and a domain name should ideally be done at the same time. Many people dive in and set up businesses and websites completely separately without checking availability of the name they want or thinking about how a domain name will reflect on your business.

In the past I've had clients coming to me for a website design and build who have already registered their business name, only to find that the domain name using that business name or a suitable derivative of it is already taken and vice versa. Where ever possible it is worth checking if both a business name and a domain name is registered ​before doing anything. If you don't use a business and domain name unique to you,  you are not only competing with existing businesses who already have an established web presence,  but you could also be setting yourself up for legal challenges over the use of registered names - this could prove very costly and damaging to your business, especially if you launch and then find you have to change your name and branding because someone else owns the right to use the name you are using.

​Choosing a good domain name

A domain name (like your business name)  is how people will find you so it makes sense to keep it as short and memorable as possible. It is an intrinsic part of your brand so it should in some way feature your business name or represent what you do - ideally both! There are millions of registered domain names, so having a domain that’s catchy and memorable is essential.

What ending/ domain name extension should I pick​ - .com  .co.uk  .net  .org  etc ? 

When you register a domain name you are  presented with  options for a domain name ending (extension) such as.com or .co.uk. These are the most commonly used endings in the UK but there are a very wide range of endings to choose from. It can be tempting to pick a less well known, quirky extension either just to be different or because the more commonly used extensions such as .com  or .co.uk  or . net are already taken. Beware of doing this, the object of a domain name is creating an address for your website so that people can find you. Using a more unusual extension means they may not remember your site address so easily and search engines may not rank your site as favourably alongside those with more common extensions. Also if .com and .co.uk options are already taken then it is likely you will be competing with those addresses when your customers put your name in search. So although your domain name will work perfectly well with a more unusual extension, my recommendation is to go for the more standard extensions such as .com or .co.uk or .net or .org  in preference to others.

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How do I register a domain name?

Registering a domain name is quick and easy. You can do it direct online via one of the many domain name registration companies such as 123 Reg and Go Daddy.

However, if you engage a web designer they will often bundle the domain name registration and management element along with hosting in with their website design and build costs and will do all the registration and annual renewal on your behalf. So if you intend getting someone else to build your website it's probably a good idea to have a chat to them about this first.