For anyone wanting to set up a website, one of the first things you will need to do is buy the website name. Just to make it confusing, however, the correct term for this is not ‘website name’ but ‘domain name’, and rather than buy it, you can only register the right to use it. That said, choosing the right domain name is important, both for your brand and in helping your site get found on the internet. Here, we’ll take you through the process of finding the right name and show you how to register it for your website.
Domain names and extensions
In a similar way to people, websites have two distinct elements to their names; the first comes before the dot, the second follows it. Before the dot is the name you choose for your website and, just like a person’s forename, you have free reign over what you can call it – though there are some limitations.
The second part is known as the domain extension and here your options are much more limited, though the choice has got wider over the last few years. The reason the choice is small is that the function of a domain name extension is to classify websites based on their type, location or, in some cases both. For example, .com is supposed to be for commercial businesses, .co.uk for UK companies and .org for non-business organisations. In recent years, a far wider selection has been made available that are related to specific types of organisation or localities, for example, .accountants, .cafe and .london.
Factors to consider when choosing the perfect domain name
Brand and search are both key considerations when choosing a domain name extension. For example, yourbiz.cafe might be ideal for your brand, but yourbiz.co.uk might help more people find you. You will need to weigh up the pros and cons of each before making a decision. At present, familiarity with the more established domain extensions (.com, .co.uk, etc.) mean some people might trust them more, however, this is likely to change as the newer names become better known. The newer extensions certainly help with branding and in showing people what type of business you are or where you are located.
Another factor is that no two domain names are allowed to be identical. This can sometimes mean that the domain name you really want is already registered to another organisation. If this happens, you will need to choose a different name or extension. Sometimes this can be done by adding a word to the domain name. For example, if mybiz.com was already registered, you could choose mybizleeds.com (or mybiz-leeds.com) or even mybiz.co.uk. When you choose a domain name that is similar to someone else’s you need to consider whether internet users may get confused about which site they need to visit.
Branding and search are also important when it comes to deciding on the name you want before the dot. There has been a trend over recent years to use search-related keywords in domain names in the hope that it will make them rank better for specific searches. This is why you might see domains like accountantsliverpool.co.uk or builders-norwich.com. Again, you need to carefully consider whether you use these names, stick to your brand name or use a combination of both.
Choosing a domain name that is short, memorable and easy to spell is also something to be considered. Although the need to type a full web address (e.g., https://www.mybiz.com) in a browser’s search bar is rare, search engines still need to understand what the searcher is looking for and the searcher needs to be able to spot your website from the results that are shown. The easier it is for them to do this; the greater number of visitors will click through to your site.
It is important to remember that no one is allowed to own a domain name outright. What you actually pay for is the right to use it and registration usually lasts for one or two years. At the end of your registration period, you have the right to renew it for another year or two and can do this in perpetuity. However, if you let your registration expire and do not renew, ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, will make it available for another person or organisation to register.
As websites grow in popularity and attract more visitors, they become highly valuable assets to a business. If you have a successful website and let your registration expire, whoever registers it next is likely to gain from all the hard work you have put in. If you then have to start from scratch with a new domain, it may take years to generate the number of visitors you have lost. Most web hosts, for this reason, allow you to automatically renew your registration. If you no longer need it, you can sell the registration to another company rather than simply letting it expire.
How to find and register a domain
While there certainly is a lot to consider before deciding upon the domain name and extension you want for your website, the process of discovering whether it is available and then registering it is very easy and can be done directly from our website.
Simply visit our Domain Page, type the name of the domain name you are looking for in the search bar and you’ll instantly be provided with the results of whether it’s available. We’ll also show you similar domain names and extensions which are also available, together with the cost of registration. If you discover the perfect domain, just click the add to cart button and once you pay, the domain is yours.