If you are starting out as a new business, you will have spent some time considering what your new company name will be. Will you trade under your own name? Or will you decide on a totally different name for your business?
This is usually the first thing to settle on for a new business venture but you also need to give some consideration to what to use as a website address otherwise known as a “domain” too.
This is the part of the website address that appears after the ‘www’ and is more often (in the UK at least), a ‘.co.uk’ or a ‘.com’ address.
You can purchase a domain name from many domain registrars such as GoDaddy, IONOS, Fasthosts or 123-Reg to name but a few. You can pick up a .co.uk domain name for 1 year for about £20.00 and a .com is a bit more expensive at about £45.00.
But what to choose?
There are a couple of things to consider…..
- First of all, do you want the company name to match your business name? Or do you want something similar that may also have some SEO benefits perhaps? If your company name is long e.g “Smith, Turner and Clyde Law Associates Limited”, you may not want to have all of that as a website address as it requires a fair amount of typing. You want to make it short and sweet and limit the potential for typing errors.
- You need to ensure it is available. One of the issues is that a lot of domain names are already purchased by other companies/owners and so you can only buy one if it is not owned by another party.
Here are some common things to avoid in a domain name:
- Don’t have hyphens
- Don’t have numbers
- Don’t make it too long as it will also be used for your emails so not too much typing for people
- Avoid words that are often mispelt eg ‘accommodation’ or ‘colour’ for example
- Including ‘ltd’ or ‘limited’ is unnecessary even if its in your company name
- Think longer term – you may be a business just selling perfumes now but if you think it will expand into other toiletries in the future, then ensure the name will work for everything. Its not as easy to change later.
- Say the domain name out loud, as well as checking what it looks like on paper so you don’t accidentally create something else when it is spoken!
- Don’t bother buying any other domain name extensions (the bit that comes after the name) other than .co.uk or .com. There are lots available but everyone sticks with the original options.
Buying a domain name
Once you have decided – check if it’s available and then purchase in your name. I believe this is safer that getting a web design company to buy on your behalf, as its a very important piece of the website and company identity and preferable that you have direct ownership. My preferred company is www.123-reg.co.uk – there is an easy search facility on the Homepage and if the name you search for isn’t available, then they suggest alternatives to consider.
If the price of a domain is a large amount running into the hundreds or thousands then this is a premium domain name and I would suggest finding an alternative instead. Its not worth the increased cost.
Once you have purchased the domain, make sure you set the account to automatically renew each year. If you don’t, then you will have to remember and if you don’t remember and renew in time, then the domain can go back up for sale to someone else to buy! And that’s your website offline and your emails not working if that happens.
So there are lots of things to consider and as its going to be attached to your company for a while, it is worth spending some time to ensure it is right for your business and branding.
And if you are considering buying a new domain, and would like some advice then I’d be happy to help.