Hi, Tony here, and welcome to today’s podcast. And I’m going to be answering the question, “What’s the best type of domain name to go for?”
Now if you’re just starting out and you think you’ve got loads to think about with your website and later on you can focus on that, I want you to start thinking that your domain name is valuable internet real estate.
So don’t leave it to the last minute. I would encourage you to just take it off the market as soon as you can.
And really that’s to stop somebody else getting your domain name.
Domains only cost a few pounds or a few dollars per year, so they’re very cheap, and it’s definitely worth taking it off the market.
The last thing you want to do is going to get your domain name and find that someone’s got the one that you want. So do try to get it as soon as you can.
Does My Domain Need To Be The Same As My Business Name?
So, which is the best one to go for? Well, really, you’ve got loads and loads of choices. You can choose whatever you like.
And I think that one of the first things that I would bring to your attention and this is a question people often ask is, “Does the domain name need to be the same as the registered business name?“
So let’s say, for example, I’ve just set up a new business, it’s called Tony Messer Widgets Limited and I’ve registered it with Companies House. If you’re in the States or elsewhere in another country then you’ll obviously have your own local company registration system.
But in the UK, for example, once you’ve registered your company, you’re not forced to register exactly the same domain name.
So I wouldn’t have to register, for example, tonymesserwidgets.com or .co.uk.
I could register lowcostwidgets.com or londonwidgets or ukwidgets, glasgowwidget if I’m up in Scotland, or bigredwidgets or whatever I want it to be.
So you’ve got complete freedom from that perspective. You can register whichever one you want to.
Make Your Domain Easy To Remember (and Spell)
I’d say one rule of thumb, though, is do make it easy to remember and easy to spell as well.
Try to avoid complex names or really long ones or things that people are going to have trouble spelling.
Now, you do get 60 characters or so, but let us face it, who’s going to be able to remember something so long?
Avoid Using Hyphens In Your Domain
And try to avoid as well if you’re starting to get long or starting to get complex or it’s got double characters in there, try to avoid having hyphens.
This is a real problem, because if you do start introducing hyphens, people are just going to put them in the wrong place.
So let’s say that you’ve seen a domain name that you really like, tonyswidgets.com that somebody else has registered, so I think I will just get tony-widgets.com.
Don’t do that.
Just try to find something else. If you start putting hyphens in there, people will put them in the wrong place. They’ll end up going to your competitors’ websites.
And I wouldn’t worry too much about things like misspelling alternatives either. I do see this quite often with people registering ones where they think, well, maybe they’re going to misspell it.
All I would say is just try to avoid complex things that could be misspelled. Just try to get the easy options from the start. Just choose a simpler domain.
Which is The Best Domain Extension?
So when it comes to the domain extension, (by extension what we mean is things like .com or .co.uk) these days there are absolutely just tons to choose from. But the most easily and recognized and remembered ones are going to be if you’re in the UK, .com and .co.uk.
So I always recommend to people to go for these as a minimum.
Belt and braces, if that’s your approach, you want to make sure that you capture everything you could get the .net and the .org, for example, and if you’re UK-based then you probably want to take off the market, the .uk domain as well to stop someone holding that to ransom.
Incidentally, for the .org, these are for organizations and charities and clubs and not for profits things like that.
Whereas the .net used to be for internet-based businesses, but that’s quite a fluid description these days. So there’s no restrictions on these. You can buy them if you want to, but I should say, this is the kind of belt and braces approach.
Also, there are increasingly a high number of industry-related extensions, things like .photographer or .hosting or whatever.
And, again, just use your judgement on these because most people just aren’t familiar with them. If you want to get them, just take them off the market just to prevent somebody from cyber squatting or domain squatting, then feel free to do so. They don’t cost much per year.
But in terms of recognition, they’re not so well known by the public, so you might want to not use them as your main domain name, just redirect them.
Use Domain Parking To Redirect Domains
And on that point, overall what you can do, if you’re getting multiple domain names, you can easily set up redirection. This is what we call domain parking.
It’s really easy to do, it’s absolutely free, and you can just redirect all of your domain names to your main website, and that way people are always going to end up at the right place.
So, for example, let’s say that you’ve chosen the .co.uk to be your main website but you’ve purchased the .com and the .net and the .org, all you do is just set up domain parking and anyone that goes to the .com will automatically be redirected to the .co.uk.
It’s nice and easy and simple. It’s called domain parking.
And as I say, domain names, they only cost a few pounds or a few dollars a year anyway, so it’s not a huge cost, okay? No, that wasn’t a plug for Pickaweb’s domain name service. Well, it was actually, but there you go.
Should I Register SEO Friendly Domains?
So in terms of SEO, using domains for SEO, I have done another podcast on that.
But what I mean here is when you register domain names with lots of keywords in them or with particular keywords in them for SEO purposes, this is basically to try to get a high position in Google. You’re effectively trying to tell Google this is what you do, direct the traffic towards me.
And, again, all I would say, just in summary, don’t contort yourself trying to fit loads of keywords into your domain name or using loads of hyphens and things like that to split it up.
Avoid Domains That Infringe Copyright or Trademarks
Also, make sure that you’re not infringing copyright or trademarks, and I do see this. I see people registering domain names that have got big brands in there, I won’t mention them, but you just can’t get away with that.
And let’s face it, they’ve got more lawyers than you’ve got. And in the best case you’re just wasting your money. In a worse case, they’re going to sue you. So just want to bring that to your attention.
Domain Privacy – Protect Your Identification
And I’d just like to finish on another important point, and that is to do with privacy.
With domain names, remember people can search the Whois database, it’s a publicly available database, and they can identify the domain owner.
Now, there’s different rules for different registries that issue the domain names.
UK Domain Privacy Rules
So, for example, with the UK. domains like .co.uk or .uk.me.uk, you can only hide your details if you are an individual. When you register the domain name it asks you. So if you’re a business you have to show the name and address.
With UK domain names, your phone number and your email will never appear on searches anyway.
But if you’re tempted to register the business, let’s say you’re setting up a business and you register a business domain name as an individual, be warned that Nominet, which is the UK domain registry, they can check this and they could suspend your domain or take further action, so don’t try to do that.
As I say, when you register your UK domain you are asked whether you’re a business or a person.
Top Level Domains (TLD) Privacy Rules
With the top level domains like .com or .net, it is a slightly different process.
What you can do is you can just order Whois privacy service, and there’s a small annual fee for it, and it will completely hide your details or name, address, phone, email, the lot.
But do be aware that regardless of whether you’re an individual or business, when you register a top level domain a TLD like .com, .net, .org, your details will be shown on the publicly available Whois.
That’s name, address, phone number, the whole lot. So you just need to be aware of that but just order that Whois privacy if you’re not sure.
So there you go. That’s what you need to know about registering domain names to make sure that you choose the right domain name for you.
Good luck with that, and keep listening, we’ve got plenty more great podcasts to come. Thank you very much for your attention and I’ll speak to you soon.