Choosing a domain name

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Choosing a domain is a very important business decision so here is some advice on making the best choice:

1. The domain name should include or be your business name

Sounds obvious but the domain should be as close as possible to your business name otherwise you risk confusing your customers. Failing that, the domain name you choose should reflect your services. For example the UK DIY chain B&Q use www.diy.com as their main website with variants of www.bandq.com pointing at their main page (also the `&` is a banned character for domain names).

If someone has already bought the domain name you want to use then you can find out who they are using a tool like http://whois.domaintools.com/. Then unfortunately it?s a case of negotiation until you agree a price. We have been quoted prices starting at £500 to purchase an existing domain name from a broker.

If you’re starting from scratch it’s useful to check what domain names are available so you can adjust your final business name to suit – see our domain name checker http://www.webgrowth.co.uk/domain-name-check.php

2. Brand or descriptive name or combination?

Amazon started out as an online book seller but spent a lot money building their brand so everyone knows what they do. Without that backing it’s best to choose a name that reflects your services so “companyname.com” should for example be “companynameproperty.com”. This more literal approach makes it easier for your prospects to understand your services and counts in your favour for search engines ranking.

3. Long or short names?

Domain names can be up to 67 characters. Longer names are more susceptible to spelling mistakes but fare better in search engines as the name includes descriptive keywords. Shorter names are more memorable but need to be relevant to your business.

4. .com, .org, .net, or .co.uk and the rest?

If your aim is world domination then ‘.com’ is always worth considering however think carefully about your business and where it is delivered. Sometimes indicating you’re from a particular location is better in e-commerce where your customers might prefer to deal with a company in their own country. ‘.org’ implies a not for profit organisation and ‘.net’ is ok if a name is not available but beware of trying to simply operate a ‘.net’ version of a competitor’s website as this could end up in the law courts!

If you have any questions about buying a domain or website hosting then please get in touch.

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