Business domain name considerations

Choosing the right business domain name for your website

When it comes to registering a suitable domain name for your website it’s important to choose one that projects the type of image that you want your organisation or business to be remembered for. Your website will be the ideal tool for targeting people looking on the internet for the type of service or product you provide, so make sure your domain is easy to remember and visitors will have no trouble finding their way back to your site when they need to. Not everyone makes it a point to save the web address of a useful website in their favourites folder. Some will try to rely on their memory.

Other points worth taking note of:

Keep your domain name as simple and as short as possible so it’s easy to remember. If your company name is to be used and still available for registration, that should be your first consideration. However, it’s also worth considering other names which may describe or relate closely to what your business does or sells.
example: www.royslandscapegardening.co.uk

You should register your chosen name without any delay because it’s surprising how quickly names are snapped up if they’re still available. Domain names are inexpensive so there's just no excuse for putting off buying. Even if later you decide not to use the one you first register, there’s little to lose, but you may kick yourself later if you find out that the name you wanted has been taken by someone else a few weeks or months down the line.

If you’re a UK based business or organisation and you intend to purchase a .co.uk domain name it’s also worth considering buying the other ‘top level domains’ that may be available i.e. ‘yourbusiness.com’ ‘yourbusiness.net’ to prevent others capitalising on your brand. Other TLD’s include .name, .tv, .biz, .uk.com, .org, However, the .uk .co.uk .com and .net are the main ones to obtain first.

If you find that the domain name you want is already taken then try thinking of a variation of the same name. For example, let’s say you wanted to register www.pollyspetshop.co.uk and it was already registered by another company, you might find that www.pollys-petshop.co.uk is still available. Or how about www.pollys-pet-shop.co.uk. You may even find that the .com or .net names are still available for one or more of these variations. However, take note that domain names can only contain letters, numbers and dashes, so spaces and symbols are not allowed.

It’s important to choose a domain name supplier with a good reputation. One company we like to use is 123reg.co.uk We have always found them to be very efficient and reliable. Changing nameservers or transferring names to another ISP, for example, is a simple process with their easy to use control panel. In fact, so far we have never had cause for complaint, and we have never had reason to use any other domain supplier because of their excellent service.

A good domain name supplier will always contact you when a domain name is coming up for renewal, so it’s important to keep your contact information up-to-date. Using the same domain name supplier for all your registered domain names will make this a lot easier.

What happens when you change your website domain URL

What happens when you change your website domain URL

There has been times when a client has requested to move their website to a new domain. Last year I had a client who changed their domain from a .com to a .co.uk domain and lost the .com version because it got snapped up when they forgot to renew it. This is an unfortunate situation but it can easily happen. There are people who are quick to snap up old domains, especially .com domains if they expire and don't get renewed on time.

An established domain, especially one that has been around for a few years, can be useful for the person who buys it, even if it's just to take advantage of the traffic that domain can provide. They then put ads on those domains in the hope they will generate some income. My client who has a tiling business and the new domain www.ctshartlepool.co.uk is still having problems getting his new website domain to replace the old one in the search results.

A 301 redirect, which is normally used to automatically send traffic from the old domain to the new one can't be used in this case because the old domain is not under his control.

It's important to remember to always make sure your domain name is renewed in plenty of time, and the best way to do this is to set the domain to 'auto renew' which most domain registrars provide in their control panel.

Hopefully, we can help the client in this case to get his website to rank high in the search results again to replace the poor quality website that has taken it's place. Even though Google is incredibly good at assessing the relevance of websites to provide its users with good search results, it can still get it wrong unless it gets a little help in pointing it in the right direction.

Own your own domain name

Own your own domain name

As a website designer I often advise business owners who want a website and a domain name for their business to always register it themselves.

Registering a domain name using your own account and being listed as the registered owner and administrative contact is extremely important to ensure that you always have control over your own company domain name.

If, for some reason, you have a website design company or some other person register a domain name on your behalf, it can cause unforeseen problems in the future. If for example, they can no longer be contacted for some reason, whether it's due to poor health, moving away, or going out of business etc., then you could find it very difficult to control what happens to your domain name, especially without some form of proof of ownership. Even then the process of taking control of the domain name can be fraught with difficulties.

Worse case scenario is that if your domain name expires without you realising or being notified, after a short suspension period the domain name could be purchased by someone else before you get a chance to renew it.

For this reason it's always been my advice to register the business domain name yourself. It's also important to set the renewal of your domain name to 'Auto Renew' within the control panel of your registrar to ensure the domain name does not expire without you being aware of it. You can always change the setting if you do decide you no longer want to retain and renew the domain name.

Two of the registration agents I normally recommend are www.lcn.com and www.123-reg.co.uk