Domain names, or web addresses (eg example.com) are a critical part of your online identity.
Your domain name should be chosen with as much care as you chose your company name, because a badly chosen domain name can greatly reduce the effectiveness of your website.
There are many questions you should ask before picking a domain name for your new website. Is the domain name memorable? Does the domain name describe your business? Does the domain name extension reflect the country where you do business? (eg example.co.uk) Should you register variations of the domain name? (eg theexample.com or the-example.com) Are there benefits in having several regional websites? (eg example.ie or example.com.au) Are other companies already trading under similar names? Should you buy a pre-existing domain name? If you want to buy an existing domain name, how do you find one and what is it really worth?
Glasgow Web Design are domain name experts, and will help you to understand the options and choose the right domain name for your website. To talk with us about domain name registration please call us now on 0141 424 3408.
Domain Name Advice
Domain names must be between 3 and 67 characters in length, and are case-insensitive. You can use almost any combination of letters, numbers and hyphens to create your domain name. There is also an internationalised system of domain name registration (IDN) which supports non-English characters. It is best to avoid domain names that contain numbers or multiple hyphens as well as words that are either difficult to spell or can be spelled in different ways.
Choosing a Domain Name
Domain names generally are either memorable (eg Google.com), descriptive (eg GlasgowWebDesign.co.uk) or generic (eg Hotels.com).
Memorable domain names (eg Google.com, Amazon.com, eBay.com, Yahoo.com) are good if you are seeking to build a strong corporate identity. Short, unique domain names work best if you support your brand identity through appropriate marketing, in order to overcome the fact that it is not immediately clear what your brand offers. The mobile phone company Orange is a good example of memorable branding, and indeed their early marketing efforts focused more on establishing Orange as a brand (“The future's bright – the future's Orange”) than anything so mundane as actually trying to sell phones.
Descriptive domain names (eg GlasgowWebDesign.co.uk) are in some ways easier to develop because the subject of the website is clear to anyone who reads the web address. This means that simply reading your web address lets people know what they will find on your website. Although descriptive domains tend to be longer, they can be perceived as being more relevant to the task at hand, especially when a potential customer is looking for specific local services. Keyword research is important when choosing a descriptive domain name, because people often think about the same subject using slightly different language. For example, more people search for 'car hire' than 'car rental', more people search for 'car rental' than 'vehicle hire' and more people search for 'vehicle hire' than 'vehicle rental'.
Generic domain names (eg Hotels.com, Business.com) are the holy grail for marketing purposes, since they are both short and descriptive. Generic domain names can receive significant type-in traffic, from people speculatively typing the domain name into their browser address bar. Premium generic domains such as Hotels.com also have instant credibility and authority, and top companies are increasingly keen to purchase generic domains related to their industry niche. For example, Enterprise own RentalCar.com, Johnson and Johnson own Baby.com, and Monster Jobs own Jobs.com. For these reasons many of the most expensive domain name sales have been for premium generic names, often with millions of dollars changing hands.
Domain Name Extensions
The domain name extension is the part of a domain name that comes after the dot. So example.com has the .com extension, and example.co.uk has the .co.uk extension. The .com extension is the most important domain name extension, and has become almost synonymous with the internet. The other top-level (worldwide) extensions are .com, .org, .net, and to a lesser extent .info and .biz. Many countries have country-specific extensions, such as the French .fr extension.
The main regional UK extensions for companies and organisations are .co.uk and .org.uk, though there are also lesser used extensions such as .me.uk, .ltd.uk and .plc.uk. Some domain name extensions are reserved for special use, such as .gov.uk for government websites and .ac.uk for academic websites. And from time to time new domain name extensions are released, such as the .eu extension for companies in Europe, and the .mobi extension for websites aimed at mobile phone devices.
It can be advisable to register your domain name in several extensions to prevent dilution of your brand by competitors. For UK companies, we would normally recommend you register as a minimum both the global .com extension and the regional .co.uk extension.
Domain Name Availability
Your choice of domain name is going to be greatly restricted by domain name availability. The domain name system is fairly mature and most short, memorable, descriptive and generic domain names have long since been taken, often registered with several different extensions. Glasgow Web Design have developed our own software system to help us identify good, available domain names that can get our clients a head start.
Buying A Domain Name
An often-overlooked alternative to registering a completely new domain name is to purchase an already-registered domain name from a third party. Many people buy domain names as an investment, aiming to sell them at a profit in the future. The difficulty here lies in finding a suitable domain name for sale, and placing an appropriate valuation on it. Several automatic domain name valuation services are available, but their results are almost invariably grossly wrong. Glasgow Web Design are experienced in finding and valuing domain names, and can help you to identify appropriate domain names for sale and then either negotiate for or buy the domain name on your behalf. From time to time we also sell domain names from our own portfolio.
Domain Name Registration
Glasgow Web Design can register available domain names on your behalf, with any extension you want. We will also offer you advice with regard to the registration of relevant variations to protect your brand identity. Part of our domain name service is to ensure the prompt renewal of your domain names, so that there is no risk of your domain's registration ever lapsing.
If you have any questions about the registration of domain names for your website, please contact us now on 0141 424 3408.