The most important thing to consider when it comes to domain names is that they are like internet real estate. They represent your online presence and unlike physical real estate they are extremely cheap as long as you buy them first.
Which Are The Best Domain Names To Buy To Protect My Brand?
If you are running a business then you should definitely consider getting the .com and the local equivalent. In the UK that would be the .co.uk extension. For extra peace of mind we would also recommend buying the .uk domain too as you have the rights to this domain and they are increasingly popular.
Other ones you may want to consider are the .net and .org domains. Realistically you need to weigh up the cost of buying the domains against the downside of someone else registering one of these extensions. This is known as cybersquatting or domain squatting.
Overall as long as you have the main ones then most people will feel that they are covered, but this is a personal choice.
Using Industry Specific Extensions
There are also a wide variety of industry specific extensions like .photography, .fitness or .consulting that make it really clear what it is that you do and which can clearly identify exactly what it is that you do.
Creating Resource Specific Websites
One option that some companies use is to set up separate websites for a specific purpose. Admittedly this is usually something that larger corporations might do, but if you chose to do this it could offer you a larger online footprint to draw in new visitors.
For example, if you were a local accountant you could set up a separate website where you offered hints and tips for individuals and businesses. Most people would use a blog section on their main website to do this, but if you wanted to invest the extra time and effort this could be an effective way to promote your brand without necessarily trying to sell your services.
Am I Protected Legally Because I Own The Company Name?
Not necessarily. Just because you have registered a company name with the local authorities like Companies House in the UK, that does not give you rights over the domain name. Domain names are issued on a first come, first served basis. If you are unsure you should consult a legal expert.
Of course that may change if your company is a registered trademark or you have a product with copyright protection and someone has registered domain names including this. However, this is something that you would need to take legal advice on in that situation.
What Can I Do With My Extra Domain Names?
If you have registered more than one alternative of your domain name (e.g. the .co.uk and .com extension) then you can set up domain forwarding. This is where one domain will automatically forward to another.
Let’s use an example so that you can visualise it. You are a UK business and you have purchased a domain name with the .co.uk, .uk and .com extensions. You want to use the .co.uk domain as the main website and redirect the .uk and .com domains to the .co.uk.
The easiest way to do this is to use the domain parking feature in your hosting control panel (cpanel). Domain Parking is a feature whereby you can ‘park’ multiple domains onto the main domain name so that if someone types it in by mistake they will still be taken to the main website.
In this case you park the .com and .uk domains on the .co.uk so that they all forward to the .co.uk domain. In order for domain parking to function the .com and .uk domains must have the same Nameserver settings as the .co.uk domain.
How Do I Keep Track Of My Domains Names?
Of course, if you register more domain names you need to keep track of them. This can be done via your Pickaweb Client Area. Your domains are all listed here and you can clearly see when they are due to expire.
When your domains are due to expire you will be sent several domain renewal reminders inviting you to renew them. Of course you can just select domain auto renewal so that your domains renew automatically without the need to login and manually renew them.
In the event that you fail to renew your domain name in time you can still renew it after the domain has expired although there may be additional fees to pay for some extensions like .com.