Choosing A Domain Name : Essential Considerations

1

.com or .co.uk

This is a very common question. When choosing a domain name People very much bring their own ideas and feelings to this debate as we all differ in how we view these choices. I’ll go through some of my thoughts here.

I think the most important question you have to ask yourself is; can you see your website starting and remaining a mostly UK based venture? Maybe you sell products specifically to UK customers and expansion internationally is neither something you think possible, warranted or wanted. Or maybe your website is informational and will only ever relate to the UK. In both these cases a CO.UK domain is suited.

The Local Advantage

A CO.UK domain brings with it a sense of proximity and closeness to a UK based customer. When you see a CO.UK domain you can picture an office somewhere in the UK, it’s familiar. The time-zone of that office will be the same as yours. You are more familiar with rules and regulations that are adhered to in your home nation. You understand that you can easily look at companies house and find out more about that company. There is an inherent amount of legitimacy there. With a CO.UK you a business can appear to have the following posture; “We want to be here to serve the UK, you are our target audience. We would rather help you than the rest of the world”. This can be powerful.

Another positive of a CO.UK domain is that you appear to be less of a target for hackers worldwide. I can attest to this point. The number of attempted hacking attempts on my .COM websites far outweighs those on .CO.UK domains.

A .COM domain portrays a worldwide attitude for you venture. Your business or project appears to transcend nation borders and is simply “on the internet”. In a world where physical location is less and less relevant this makes sense to a lot of people. If you provide a service that is devoid of a physical component or you wish the whole world to be your marketplace then a .COM domain makes good sense.

Of course you can always buy both and direct traffic to one of them.

2

think like your customer

A lot of choosing a domain name is about compromises. Let’s look at an example. Imagine there is a company called Mimi that makes custom and bespoke mirrors for the home. Mimi is a nice name, its different, it’s memorable, it would look good as a logo. The creator of Mimi is thinking about domain names and they can buy mimi.com. It’s very short, it’s memorable, you could mention it to a customer and days later they might type it into google and get straight to the website. For these reasons such a domain name is a win.

However, the company owner also thinks about mimibespokemirrors.com. They’ve done their research and found that people often google “bespoke mirrors” when they are shopping for bespoke mirrors. When is comes to trying to rank your website higher up for Google searches having the oft-searched terms in your domain name is a huge step-up.

And, there is your compromise. Do you go for snappy, cool, unique and memorable or do go for a head-start in the race for google search supremacy?

There are no right answers. The choice is yours.

3

it's clever

Think very carefully about the urge to purposefully mis-spell a word. Now, I may have fallen into this trap myself. Considering Liteform is actually quite a good idea. I chose the name for a number of reasons. I believe my design to be “light” or “lite” as I try to look for the path with least resistance for what I do. I also like how the word looks in print – if you look at my logo you can see that the word “light” would not have worked in the design.¬†

Lite is actually in the dictionary so my sin is also lessened ūüôā

Before I get tonnes of replies about this point, I’m fully aware that plenty of mis-spelt businesses and domain names have succeeded wonderfully. If you’re building an extremely strong brand a quirk like this can absolutely help when choosing a domain name. But treat this idea with caution as a potential customer unable to find your website due to being unable to remember if you are sizyweeg.com or sizzywig.com is one you may never get back.

There is one positive of having a weird and wonderful mis-spelt word in your domain. If people do spell it right you will straight to the top of the google search list. Having no competition for a search term will have that effect.

4

into the future

It’s worth sitting down and having a good think about where you imagine your venture might be in the future. It’s a difficult question to answer but if you pick wrong when choosing domain name you could find yourself fenced in by your choice.

Imagine if Apple had settled on applecomputing.com and Nike had gone for nikerunningshoes.co.uk? when these companies side-stepped into phones and a variety of sporting goods their choice of domain name would not have sat easily with their product lines.

While this isn’t the end of the world, a bit of forethought can make marketing and branding much easier. If you’re making a blog about travelling Asia you might like to add to it when you go to Africa in the future. Is it a good idea to calling backpackingcheapasia.co.uk?

There are ways to get around inconsistencies regarding product and domain. A sub domain and brand could be created and/or new domain names that link to the required content. Nike could, for instance, create a new site called nike.com and point nikerunningshoes.co.uk to their shoes page.

5

google it

When you’ve got some good ideas make sure to sit down and google them all. Doing so can have numerous benefits.

You may find that your chosen name is already used by a similar or identical venture, this could lead to problems down the line. I know of a local car rental firm that shares a name with a car rental firm in Spain. Some bad reviews found themselves attached to the wrong company. This is as much about company name choice as web address but knowing someone else shares your name could inform better website name choices. It’s best to be prepared.

Googling your chosen name might uncover connotations and connections that you never imagined your pick might have. I can use my own name as an example here too. Liteform is actually a building material too. I found this out while I was building the brand but I decided it wouldn’t impact the business. The target markets are far enough apart. You might not be so lucky. A good name in one culture might also have a decidedly different appearance in another culture. A quick google will uncover such trip-hazards.

6

inspiration

If you just want to use your ventures’ name as the domain name then you don’t really need this bit. But, as discussed earlier, sometimes is can be handy to have a descriptor part to the domain name ( i.e. company name might be “ClaritySolutions” but you might to add the woodwork descriptions to make ClaritySolutionsWoodwork.co.uk ). By using a few domain name generators you might grab some extra, free inspiration.

Sites like the following are good options :

https://domainwheel.com/

https://www.namemesh.com/

These don’t cost anything and aren’t a time burden. Tap in a few words and see if anything clicks. You’ve got nothing to lose. It’s surprising how the human brain loves seeing a load of random suggestions appear. You might think of naming ideas that would otherwise never have crossed your mind. When choosing a domain name any input is welcome, it adds to the melting pot of ideas where you will ultimately find your best option.

7

one, 2, three, 4

A number in a business name can lead to problems when trying to communicate the website address. Is a one a one, or a 1. See the problem?

Each case must be taken on its own merits. A very large number must obviously be used in numerical format. I would say that numbers from one to twelve could be avoided as they could be written in either format acceptably. 

The issue could be slightly alleviated by buying both domain names i.e. you could buy :

super12.com
and
supertwelve.com

Once you’ve settled on your format it must utterly be stuck to. If both formats were used within the website you would run the risk of diluting your SEO and google search ranking.¬†

 

8

domain, logo, business name

If you’re in the early stages of thinking about names it’s a good idea to think of your business/venture name alongside domain thoughts and also how your branding and logo might look. You might increasingly need to add social media names to that list too.

If your wanted name is “AJ Carpentry” is that domain available? If it isn’t what other names can you go for? If you add more words to the name is the Instagram handle available for that?

If you have the luxury of choosing all these things now then take advantage and include all the services you can. Again, it’s not the end of the world if things don’t match up. But its really good for brand recognition if they do.¬†

If your website, business and Facebook account are all *slightly* different it can feel like a missed opportunity. And might result in lost or confused customers. 

9

it's good to talk

Sometimes it’s hard to ask for advice and help. But, after you’ve done it there is never a negative outcome. As long as you handle it right.

Sometimes when we think so hard about the same problem we become too zoomed in and don’t see the bigger picture. After supposedly considering every possible idea or permeation of a domain name, rolling it over in our mind, waking up in the middle of the night to scribble down a new idea; we think we’ve covered all the angles

This is the point where something obvious could be missed. Maybe part of the domain name means something undesirable in a foreign language? Maybe it’s just too similar to a product that’s evaded your gaze?

A fresh mind, a new point of view might see the pitfall instantly. All it takes is a question to the right few people. Push past any pride standing in the way. 10 seconds spent asking the right friend will save time and energy in the future. 

If they become over-involved be strong and straight with them. 

10

just check quickly, like...now

Before you get too “into” a name make sure to check its available before you think over it too much. There’s nothing worse than deliberating over a tough decision before settling on a “best option” only to find out it never was an option in the first place.¬†

You can quickly check availability anywhere that sells domain names. I use Siteground for most of my hosting so you can look there : https://www.siteground.co.uk/domain_names.php 

12

your dream domain name is taken?! noooooooo

Your worst nightmare has come true. The domain name that is one hundred percent important for the success of your business is taken. What next? Here are some options: 

  • Pick a different one. Sorry but this might be the best option for you. Think about adding a word to the front or back of the name maybe? It could work out just fine.
  • Go to the website on the domain you want and try and find some email addresses. Email them and ask if they would be willing to part with the domain. If an established site is at the domain this is pretty unlikely to succeed.
    • If there are no email addresses on the website you might find one by typing the domain into this site : whois. But often this info is private.
  • However, on the above link you should find who the website hosting company are that look after the website. You can email them direct, inform them of your interest and they will contact the domain owner for you.¬†


Good luck
, none of the above is an easy road.

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