Ten Top Tips for choosing the company name and website domain you really want.
So there you are – all excited about getting started with your great new business idea and right now is the time to start thinking about website domain names and trading names.
I regularly get asked the protocol on choosing domain names. Back in the day when the world wide web was new, unchartered waters you could snap up domains very easily. These days you need to either be very lucky or slightly creative in your thinking.
Hot Tip 1 – Check that your domain is REALLY available not just dormant, it will save a lot of heartache and work. Just typing the name into Google (other search engines are apparently available) or into the URL bar at the top is no guarantee that a domain is available. People used to snap up domains on the hope of getting rich (mostly unlucky unfortunately). It’s easy to check either by going to a credible domain purchasing site, Creating Media recommend www.1and1.co.uk or use the industry site “Who Is” which will tell you who owns a domain and when it is up for renewal.
Hot Tip 2 – Make it easy to type – stay away from hyphens and numbers if possible (see Hot Tip 5). Be memorable.
Hot Tip 3 – Make it easy to remember – in the words of Sadolin, try and say what it does on the tin (domain on this occasion). If possible and relevant mention the location (more important for B to C businesses).
Hot Tip 4 – If possible secure the .co.uk and the .com . Seriously for the few £££ it will cost you just take ownership and do it.
Hot Tip 5 – DO NOT USE hotmail style emails! Once you have a proper domain purchased you can easily set up credible emails ie firstname.lastname@example.org
This looks so much more professional than yourname @hotmail.com .
Hot Tip 6 – What style of domain to choose? Of course .co.uk and .com are the first choices but think carefully about other finishes. The following points are provided as guidelines:
.co.uk demonstrates that you are UK based, if your business is local then this is very important
.com represents “commercial” is the most widely used and recognised worldwide domain
.org is often used by charities / not for profit organisations
.biz is becoming more popular as the first choices are running out. Typically it is used by small businesses. For instancewww.4networking.biz is a popular business networking site across South Wales and the UK.
.net is usually used in the IT world
.mobi is becoming more popular for sites that operate only on mobiles
.co – you will spend too much time explaining why it is not .co.uk and potentially lose out on traffic to that version of the domain
.me is actually the identity for Montenegro although it is widely used for personal sites
.eu is for Europe
.gb seldom used but is actually for Great Britain (We don’t have any websites in South Wales or the rest of the UK that use this abbreviation).
At this stage our clients wanting web design in South Wales there is no abbreviation although Nominet have applied for the use of .cymru and .wales. Watch this space and we will keep you updated.
Of course watch out for the country specific domains such as .ly (websites in Libya), .de (websites in Germany), etc.
For further information take a look at Wikipedia
Hot Tip 7 – Make sure that your domain is all over your branding! At every opportunity on line and off line you should be pointing your clients to your website. That could be on your 600gsm business cards, banner stand, vehicle graphics, flyers, online communications. At the moment QR codes are on trend – are they right for your business? Give me a call to discuss.
Hot Tip 8 – Once you have decided on the company name, take a look at the Twitter availability and if possible secure your first choice. Even if you have no intention of using Twitter secure it anyway…how disappointed would you be to find out it’s not available in the future? At this stage remember that the Twitter name is limited to 14 characters and can only be letters although you can use some limited symbols. If you need advice on Twitter have a chat with Helen from Adore Social Media, she is always happy to help.
Hot Tip 9 – BEFORE you make the very final decision ask your trusted friends or family or me! We are happy to talk this decision through with you, we have a lot of experience and currently manage hundreds of client domains.
FINALLY Hot Tip 10 – Remember where and when you bought the domain, keep the information safe, you will need to renew it at some stage and if you cannot find the info then you will lose your site and email. Seriously, this happens. If you don’t like this sort of thing then trust someone that does it for a business….we can help (forgive the blatant sales pitch, but we just want to help).
Of course you need to register your business with companies house although if the particular company name is not available you can choose an unrelated name and then say “XYZ Company is the trading name of ABC”. But that’s just the dull part in comparison to the creative side of starting a business!
Creating Media work with clients to provide affordable, practical, real world – web design, logo design, branding, marketingand print solutions. If you would like to talk about any of the above points or have any queries then please do get in touch with Michelle Dalley or one of the team. We are always happy to help businesses get started – right first time.
Seriously, take us up on the free consultation, what have you got to lose?