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Choosing a domain name

A domain name is used to identify an organisation’s presence on the internet. It is important that the domain name represents the image of your business effectively and makes the nature of your product or service clear to potential customers.

There are different types of domain names and these are identified by their general part, or the top level domain:

  • generic top-level domains such as .net, .com, .org and .info
  • country code top-level domains such as .uk for the UK

Most UK companies choose to have domain names that end in .com or .co.uk. It is also now possible to have a European Union domain name, ending in .eu.

You should think carefully about the geographical implications of your server and domain names as they can affect local search results. For example, a UK company with a ‘.com’ address which is hosted in the US would not appear in UK only searches. However, if the same company website was hosted in the US but used a ‘.co.uk’ domain name it would appear in UK-only search results. There are a number of free resources available to help you localise your website area, including Google’s Webmaster tools.

When choosing a domain name, most businesses opt for a name that is based on the name of their business or product. It helps if the name is:

  • short
  • easy to spell
  • easy to remember

You should avoid choosing a domain name that misuses a trade mark belonging to another business, or might mislead users into thinking you are someone else. You should also avoid choosing a domain name with lots of dashes, for example my-new-website-business-and-shop.co.uk. It can look amateurish, make it more difficult to remember and some search engines may consider it to be spam.

After deciding on a domain name, you then need to check if it has already been registered by another user. You can register your domain name at www.simpledomainnames.co.uk and once your domain is registered, it is protected.

Domain names are allocated on a first come, first served basis. However, disputes may arise when another party feels that they have a greater right to use a domain name.

Thanks to Business Link for allowing us to reproduce this article.

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