How to create an online community for your website
When you're thinking up a business name, it's important to take
the corresponding domain name into consideration as well. Your
domain name will work with your business, logo and branding to form
the basis of your business' image within the community, and will be
one of the first impressions your customers get when they come to
your business via the web, so it's important to get your name
Domain names: the basics
- Your domain name is your business' address on the
web. Unlike a physical address, you can choose the domain
name given to your business when you register it, so make sure it
reflects your business.
- Domain names are being bought up all the time, so make sure you
check your domain name is available before you register your
business name, and register it as soon as possible.
- If you decide not to use it, you can always sell it - but
if someone registers it before you, it will be difficult to
persuade them to sell.
- Your domain name can be up to 67 characters long (including the
extension), but remember: the longer it is, the more scope for your
customers to make typos or spelling mistakes. If your business name
is long, consider making it more memorable by shortening it or
making it into an anagram.
- Your domain name is made up of a word of your choice, followed
by an extension. .com and .net are both worldwide, .co.uk, .org.uk
or even .biz are more specific to your location or business. If you
can register a .com domain, do - it will lend your business
credibility and viability.
- Register additional domains as well to give your
customers a better chance of finding your website -
country-specific ones such as .co.uk will show your customers your
business is based in the UK, while business-specific ones such as
.biz or .tv will give an indication of your industry, but probably
won't resonate for most of your customers.
- It's worth noting, though, that some domain extensions, such as
.org.uk or .gov.uk, are reserved for certain businesses such as
non-profit organisations or government.
- Think very carefully about how your domain could be taken. Get
it wrong, and you could end up red-faced like the owners of
custom-made pen company Pen Island, whose domain
http://www.penisland.net penisland.net has been the source of much
hilarity on blogs and forums.
Optimising your domain for search
- There has been widespread debate over whether it's more
effective to have a generic domain name, such as 'marketing.com' or
whether you should go for your own brand name. Most experts agree
when people search for something online, they'll already have
one or two brand names in mind - so paying for an expensive generic
domain name may be pointless.
- Using your business name as a domain name will strengthen your
brand further and will provide customers with a reference point. If
you have a strong, recognisable brand, customers will search your
brand name - and you risk confusing them by registering your
website under marketing.com rather than
- Google does give weight to domain names with keywords in
them - think marketing-business.com - but don't get carried
away: putting too many keywords into your domain will give the
impression you are spamming your customers, so it's important to
strike a balance.
- The best domain names use one keyword with another word
which adds brand value: think FlightsCity, CarHub, or
- Try to avoid hyphenation if you can - although there is some
evidence search engines will find it easier to distinguish your
keywords if you use hyphens, hyphenating your domain name gives
your customers more of a chance to make a typing error.
- Non-hyphenated domains are also easier to remember and more
intuitive if you customer doesn't know your domain name: people are
far more likely to type in 'Pinkelephantmarketing.com' than
How to register your domain
- There are hundreds of domain name registrars such as 123-Reg, Domain
Express or www.easily.co.uk all of which offer different
- Choose a hosting package if you don't have server space to host
your site, or just go for the domain name option if you
already have the infrastructure in place to host your own
- Use Nominet,
the official registry for UK domain names, to check whether your
domain name is available.
- Don't forget to register additional extensions to stand a
better chance of being discovered by prospective customers.
- Choose a domain name which reflects your business well
- Try to include a keyword in your domain name
- Use Nominet to
check whether your domain has already been registered
- Use a domain registrar to register your business
- Register additional extensions for a wider web presence
What if my domain is already taken?
If your domain has already been taken, you have two options:
choose a different extension, such as .co.uk if .com is taken - or
change the domain. The founders of Bulldog Natural Grooming chose
meetthebulldog.com as their domain name, but if you don't feel that
would work, you could try approaching the person who owns the
domain name and offering to buy it off them. A service such as
www.whois.net whois.net will give you contact details for the
person who owns it - but be prepared to haggle.
How long will my domain name last after I have registered
Once you have registered your domain name, it will last two years,
after which you must re-register. Remember to re-register as soon
as you can, or someone else may get there before you.
DNS: 'Domain name system': the internet 'phone
book' which translates what you type into your browser into binary
URL: 'Uniform resource locator': essentially another
way of saying 'domain name', it's your website's unique 'address'
on the internet.
IP address: Your site's Internet Protocol address is
the binary equivalent to the domain name. The DNS server converts
the words and slashes in your domain name to binary code, which
your computer can read.
- Whois.com -
Look up contact details and background for any domain name
- Google Keywords Tool - A resource to find out
how popular certain search terms are on Google. Useful for coming
up with keywords for your domain name.
- How to choose domain names for SEO - A great
guide to making sure your domain name is search engine
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