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Professional .NET Web Development in Cheshire

Choosing a Domain Name

What is a domain name?

Your domain name is the address at which your website is published, and the address that your email is sent to. For example, if your domain is bloggsindustries.com, then you can publish your website at www.bloggsindustries.com and use email accounts like fred@bloggsindustries.com. You can also use subdomains like store.bloggsindustries.com.

 

How to choose a domain name

There are many factors to consider when choosing a domain name for your website. The perfect domain name should be:

  • The same as your business name - if you already have a well-established offline business, it makes sense to call your online business the same thing if you can
  • Memorable - think about how easy it would be for a customer to remember your domain name the day after you told them what it was
  • Short - visitors will need to type your domain name when visiting your site or sending you an email, so don't make this too difficult by choosing a very long name
  • Unambiguous and easy to spell - try to avoid hyphens, numbers, and words that have multiple or unusual spellings so you don't miss out on visitors and emails due to typing errors (although you can purchase domains with alternative spellings and direct them to the correct place)
  • Relevant to your products and services - the name of the domain is a key factor in search engine positioning, so if you can include the words that you think your visitors will be searching for, it will improve your site's visibility
  • Relevant to your location - if you provide a very local service that visitors will use when searching, then it may be worth including the name of your town or county to improve your search engine positioning
  • Flexible - your business will probably evolve to offer different products or services, and it takes a long time to get a high search engine position for your website, so don't choose a name that is likely to become dated or specific to an obsolete brand name
  • Different from your competitors - try typing key search words for your business into Google and other search engines, and see whether there are lots of results from websites with similar names (in which case it will be very hard to get to the top of the search engine results and you even may be accused of "passing off")
  • Available with all the best top level domains - this is the difficult part, because most of the good domain names with the best top level domains have already been taken, so you will probably need to compromise by either choosing a different name or using a more obscure top level domain

 

How to choose a top level domain

The top level domain is the ending at the end of the domain, such as .com, .net, or .co.uk.

For UK commercial websites, we would always recommend that you buy both the .com and the .co.uk wherever possible, and direct them both to the same website. Most UK visitors will expect your website to be at one or the other of these top level domains. If you can get both, the choice of which to use for your main website is largely a matter of personal preference, and whether you expect to do the majority of your business within the UK.

Top level domains to consider are:

  • .com - always worth having if available, the best domain for international commercial organisations
  • .co.uk - extremely popular for UK commercial organisations, and better availability than .com
  • .net - often the next best choice if .com and .co.uk are unavailable
  • .eu - for businesses and organisations in the European Union
  • .org - intended for international charities
  • .org.uk - intended for UK charities
  • .info - worth considering for information sites
  • .co - actually the country code for Columbia, but worth considering if the .com and .co.uk are taken
  • .mobi - for websites designed specifically for mobile devices
  • .pro - intended for professionals
  • .biz - not very popular, but a possible alternative for businesses
  • .fr/.de/.it/.es etc. - many other country codes are available if these are relevant to your business

 

Checking availabilty and registering a domain

Once you have come up with a list of possible domains, see the next page on registering a domain.