How to choose and buy a domain name
Choosing the right domain name – which, if you use it to host a website, will become your web address - is a crucial step in setting up your business. It’s important that people can find your business quickly, that it’s shareable and memorable, and that it’s strongly associated with your brand. Here are the things you need to consider when picking a domain name.
Your domain name should be consistent with your business name and social handles, or you risk confusing or irritating people – you want to make it as easy as possible to find you. Don’t make potential customers spend five minutes tracking you down on Google in order to find your website! If possible, try and have the same across all your channels.
Make it unique
In a similar vein, use the power of Google to make sure that you’re not choosing a domain that’s too similar to an existing domain. Using hyphens or spelling it with one letter’s difference is a recipe for disaster that can see you directing people to another website – possibly even a competitor. Flickr famously used to direct people to 'Flicker.com' all the time, until they were able to buy it and reroute the traffic back to them.
Keep it memorable
The shorter the better, and the simpler and more memorable the better too. A growing trend is to use interesting GTLDS (Generic Top Level Domains, aka the .co, .com) that are either a talking point, or become part of your domain name – think websites such as bit.ly and art.sy. This can also be a help if the .co.uk or .com domain you’d like isn’t available. Avoid the use of hyphens and numbers at all costs, as they can be confusing and difficult to remember.
Check nobody else is using it
Make sure you’re not stepping on anybody else’s toes by doing a bit of research and checking that your domain name isn’t the same as someone else’s business name, even if they don’t own the domain. It’s unlikely, but better safe than sorry. And to help you find the best possible name, there are tools out there such as Domainr that can help you sort though the available domain options and through up some you might not have thought of.
Where to buy a domain
There are lots of options out there for purchasing a domain, all at varying prices and offering different services. Some services can also offer you a website (as you’ll still need to sort that out and get it hosted on your chosen domain), an email address for your domain, and more. Buying a domain can be really cheap, but remember to choose the one that’s best for you and your website – if cheapest means compromising on a domain that doesn’t suit your business so much, you could find yourself needing to change it in the future, or missing out on business.
https://uk.godaddy.com/ - The world’s biggest domain name registrar. Also offers other services such as websites and web security
https://www.hover.com/ - Great support, plus integration with website builders and portfolio tools
http://www.names.co.uk/domain-names - No-nonsense service, plus exciting free offers such as PPC consultation
https://www.123-reg.co.uk – The UK’s most popular option, has many GTLDs on offer