What is a domain and which one is right for me?

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So you’ve decided you want to start with a professional email address but which domain?

Which domain extension?

There’s so many out there!

Lets look at the domain name first

Its very simple, use the domain name that best reflects your business.
Choosing your domain name is similar to choosing your business name, it requires a lot of thought and consideration because it is your identity.
So if your business name is Spectacular Wedding Cakes then in the first instance look at spectacularweddingcakes as your domain name.
Where that’s not possible then you also want to start thinking about names that are relevant and catchy, as well as easy to find and to promote.
Things to consider:
  • keep it short and simple – easy to remember and reduce the risk of customers misspelling it
  • use keywords – for example including ‘wedding cakes’ helps improve ‘spectacularweddingcakes’ ranking on search engines, if you are a local firm with a local client base then ‘DundeeWeddingCakes’ includes 2 sets of key words
  • research before you invest – make sure the name is not trademarked or protected by copyright, or even being used by another similar business with the same client base

Now that’s sorted what about the domain extension

.co.uk?  .com? .scot? .me? .org? .co? .london? .net? .org.uk?  .fr?
What started as a choice between .co.uk and .com is now an ever growing list.  Enter “domain extensions” into any search engine and you’ll be presented with such a range of options that I suspect you will want to forget the idea.  For example, see iwantmyname.com.
Don’t be put off, at the end of the day it’s quite a straight forward choice.  Similar to using the right domain name, in this case you use the domain extension that best reflects your reason for being online.  For example:
  • UK based companies with a UK audience – .co.uk
  • Charities and non-profit organisations – .org
  • Larger companies with a worldwide audience – .com
  • Company trading primarily with Europe – .eu
  • .me – blogs or personal sites
  • .net – technical sites

Should I buy more than one domain extension?

It’s common practice to purchase both the .co.uk and the .com domains if you can.    Why?
.com is probably the most global popular extension.  If someone developed a similar online presence to yours then that could affect your business so it’s a good idea to invest in protecting your brand.  Too strong a word to use when you are just starting out?  No, what you are starting to create with your professional email address is your brand, so right from the start you should be protecting your business idea and the effort you are putting into getting it started.  You can always forward your domains to a single website if you have one.
There’s also a good argument for purchasing similar domains that may be typed in by visitors due to common spelling errors.
With the introduction of the .uk extensions people are investing in the .co.uk and the .uk extensions, that’s what we did!  But don’t go overboard and buy 20 extensions or what should be a simple £10/£20 investment in the first instance can soon mount up.

Do I buy the domain or do I get someone to do it for me?

Once you have made the decisions about name and extensions then the various companies make it very easy for you to purchase your own domain(s).
If you buy the domain(s) yourself, then when you are ready you can always get a company to help you develop your website and your online presence – but you will always own the domain.  You pay the renewal fees and have complete control over who hosts your site and email.
Domains can be purchased for 1-2 years, or for multiple years.  If you have the initial funds then you can save money buy purchasing the domain for multiple years in the first instance.
Some companies charge an admin fee on top of the renewal fee for the domains.  Invest in your email services and your website, not in admin charges.  Renewal fees in most cases would simply be charged to the credit card attached to your account and are auto-renewed each year, there’s very little admin apart from creating and sending you an invoice.

So what do you do now?

  • purchase a domain name that best reflects your business
  • purchase a domain extension that best reflects your reason for being online
  • protect your brand
Good luck!  And remember, it’s an investment in what will be a successful business.

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