Today you should match a new business name with a domain name. Most domain names have been registered, but here are some professional designer special tips in choosing a unique name.
1.Choose a business name that matches a domain name that is available.
The most professional solution is to have a business name where you can register a domain name to match your new business name. Often today most domain names are already taken, so you might consider making a word up like ‘google’ or combining a few words together. There are some great services that resell domain names that have expired such as justdropped.com.
2. Search Engine SEO domain choice A
Sometimes it might be useful to register a domain name that includes some key words that are appropriate to your business. This is by no means a secret trick that will give you instant page one Google ranking, but it might be one of many factors (all else being equal) that could help. If you provide a service, consider registering a domain that includes a relevant term such as watersoftenerstogo.co.uk.
3. Search Engine SEO domain choice B
If your business is geographically sensitive, or focused on a catchment area and unlikely to move, consider including a location or city in your domain. Examples are corporatevideobristol.co.uk and bristolheadshots.co.uk. Adding a location makes it much more likely that your domain name is available and also more likely to be found for that search term.
4. Dot Com or Dot Co Dot UK
In the UK businesses should choose a .co.uk domain name address. If you are building an international ‘BRAND’ then consider also owning the .com. .co.uk are slightly cheaper than .com domains. Check to see what is on the .com domain if it is already registered. Sometimes similar named businesses can use the .com or .co.uk and it can get confusing. An example of this we have had is www.churchfarmholidaycottages.com.
Choosing an Email Address
Most businesses will have email and a website as it is one of the best ways to attract business and provide information to your customers and potential customers. You should match your company name with your email address for the most professional result. Every domain name can only be used by one person as it has to be unique, but you can register an email address using someone else’s domain name if they allow it. There are a two main options:
1. Register a domain name yourself.
This is the most professional solution and requires you to pay a small fee to the company that registers your domain name to cover administration. You of course will own the rights to that domain name, usually for a two year period, although you can pay for longer. We call it ‘owning’ a domain, but essentially you are only renting the rights to use that set of words for the duration of your choosing. Once you own a domain name, you can attach it to an email service to collect your email. Often website hosting is provided together with email, but sometimes businesses use one company for their email, and another for their website hosting. They can both use the same domain name as a website and email are accessed using different naming conventions. Your website by typing http://www.yourdomain.com and email is accessed by email services in the format email@example.com. A website designer can set up your domain name for you, or there are many online services that can help you. Often if you purchase ‘web hosting’ then this includes email and website space.
2. OR Register a new email address with an email service provider.
There are many of these such as gmail, yahoo or live.com. These services are usually free, in exchange for you having advertising on the pages where you view your email if you look at it online. The address you can use as your email will include the domain name of the email provider. Yourname @ the domain name of the provider. This gives the provider of the service further advertising. Examples are firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. These are a good option but you are limited in your choice of email address as you can’t have one that anyone else is using at the same company. Usually you are safe registering your company name, or a variation such as email@example.com or similar. It is considered more professional to use your own domain name, but if you decide to use an email provider try to avoid having an email address with numbers and dashes or hyphens.
Registering a Domain Name
If no one has ever registered a domain name, then you can register it. If someone has registered a domain name already, but isn’t using it, you can buy it from them. These are almost always overvalued by heir owners, so expect to pay a premium, but sometimes owners are reasonable. If you are looking to build a long term business using a domain name we recommend not to ‘borrow’ a domain, or rent it from someone for a limited period for a nominal fee. it is always best to register yourself as the official owner to avoid problems later down the line.
How to register a domain name
Find a domain name registration company online. There are many available and you will be able to search for names that are registered, and those that are available. We have always used simplynames.com and still have all of our domains registered there. Be careful when choosing a provider what is included, as many charge a much higher renewal fee (simplynames do this) and some charge a fee to move services away from then (usually around £20 but it can be higher), or for extra services like changing the settings or registered owner. Registering a domain online through one of these companies is the cheapest option and means you are not tied to a web designer. Alternatively ask your website designer. This is the easiest option and you will probably get your domain for free inclusive in a monthly hosting or service fee.
Who is registered on a domain name?
You, the business owner should always be registered as the owner of the domain name. There are also two other sets of information that is added to a domain to make it easier to administer.
1. You are always the registered owner of the domain name
This is the information that will be publicly available unless you have specifically paid to hide the information. You can register a domain name to a company or an individual.
2. Technical and billing company
Usually your web designer, or website developer is registered as the technical contact on the domain, and responsible for billing. This is so that website designers can have access to technically manage the service on behalf of their clients, and pay the fees for renewal every 2 years. Often the web design company will run their own managed server network and provide web hosting and email services together with ongoing support, and bill their customer (you) one annual, or monthly fee to make things easier.
3. The registration company
The company that administers the domain registration paperwork and keeps computerised lookup tables of where the domain name should point is also listed. These are generally large companies and called ‘Registrars’. These companies maintain large databases of domain names which act like signal boxes on a rail network directing web traffic to the correct place.
Choosing a business name is important, and matching your online business domain name with your brand name is essential when creating a brand. If you are proving a product or service, tailoring your domain name to your sector is still important for search engine SEO.
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