Top tips for choosing a great domain name for your business

It’s important to choose the right domain name.  Choose a name that people will remember.  After all, the right domain name will increase visibility, inspire trust and attract customers.

Here are some great tips to help you through this process.

1. Choose your domain name quickly

.uk domain names are being registered at a rate of one every 20 seconds and allocated on a first-registered, first-served basis, so a delay in decision making could mean someone else gets there first.

2. Choose a name that suits your business

You should choose your domain name so that it best represents your company’s interests.  Bear in mind the brand, what you offer, your unique selling point and the implications of being alphabetically listed.

Think about domain names that solve a problem or names that describe the products or services your company provides e.g. ‘marketing solutions’.  Either way, your name will help drive targeted traffic to your web site if you take this approach.

3. Keep it short and memorable

Short memorable brand names are effective, especially if relevant to the personality of a business brand.  If you keep the name short and snappy it is also less likely that people will misspell it and more likely that they will remember it and pass it on via word of mouth.  For the same reasons it’s a good idea to keep the number of words in a domain name to 2 or 3 at most.

4. Think about keywords and branding

There is some debate about whether it’s better to choose a domain name that contains keywords (that will increase your search engine optimisation) or to focus on a name that is more generic or related to your brand. 

If you are particularly interested in attracting customers via search engines it is advisable to choose a name that is a keyword.  Choose keywords that are the names of the products or services you will be offering on your web site. You could then use specific keyword software to see how popular your potential domain names are to customers using search engines.

5. Decide which Top Level Domain (TLD) to use

Companies based in the UK usually register a domain name ending in .co.uk, and recent independent research suggests that British Internet users are six times more likely to choose a .uk rather than a .com address when looking for information via an Internet search engine.  72% of respondents also said they would visit a British web site above any other.

There are however a number of other alternatives including .com or other Second Level Domains such as .org.uk (or non-commercial organisations), .me.uk (for individuals), .ltd.uk and .plc.uk (for Ltd and Plc companies) and .com, .info and others for generic usage.

6. Register your domain name in other suffixes

It’s not a bad idea to register several similar domain names.  If you have ‘yourname.co.uk’ you could register ‘yourname.org.uk’ so no-one else can come in at a later stage and capitalise on your brand name using another major domain name type.  You could also register your full company name and a shorter, easier to remember version.

7. Hyphens: Good or Bad?

If your ideal choice of domain name is not available, you might consider using a hyphenated version.  One advantage of using them is that hyphens are said to identify keywords to search engines more clearly.  The disadvantages of using hyphens are it makes your domain name harder to remember and more difficult to tell to a customer (e.g. on the telephone).

8. Take account of misspellings

Don’t use words that are difficult to spell, as people are likely to misspell your domain name, which may mean they don’t arrive at your web site. It’s also a good idea to avoid words that are spelt differently in some countries. 

However, if you have a company name that is difficult to spell, it is worth registering domain names with common misspellings of it.  You can of course point several domain names to your web site.

9. Before you register it, ask other people for their opinion

You might think your domain name is great, but what about other people?  Ultimately you will be relying on whether other people find it memorable, understandable and useful in terms of attracting traffic to your web site.

A name that makes perfect sense to you may be too hard to remember or confusing to someone else. The easier the name is to spell, pronounce, remember and type the better.  Web users are often impatient and if your site is not easy to find they may quickly give up trying. 

10. Check whether your chosen name has already been registered

Use the search facility on our web site to check whether the domain name you have chosen is available.  If the domain name is not available in any of the suffixes, you could try and contact the current registrant to see if they would be willing to sell the name to you. 

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