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How to Choose a Domain Name for your Website

 

OK, we all agree the best domain names have already been taken. However, if you are creative with your word selection and think laterally, you can still come up with a great domain name today.

Domain Name Tips
You may wish to consider the tips below.

Technical Constraints:

  • Do not use an ampersand '&'. Technically, it is illegal, so you should also avoid 'and'.
  • Do not use apostrophes. Technically, that is also illegal and therefore the use of an apostrophe is not permitted.
  • Do not start or end with a hyphen (-).
  • The permitted characters are: abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz 0123456789-
  • All characters are lower case.

    Do Not:
  • Do not panic!
  • If possible, do not use hyphens.
  • If possible, do not use numerical characters.
  • If possible, do not use mobile phone text message abbreviations.
  • If possible, do not use '2' for 'to', '4' for 'for', 'u' for 'you' and 'ur' for 'your'.
  • Do not try to be too cool by using deliberate spelling mistakes. It's just not kool!
  • If possible, do not pad your domain name with unnecessary words like 'the', 'ltd' and 'company'.
  • Do not use brand names or trade names which belong to other companies.
  • Do not use a limited (incorporated) company name which belongs to another company.
  • If in doubt, in the UK check the Companies House website, perform a name check free of charge and search the register of UK Limited Companies.
  • If you use more than one word, do not end and start words with the same character. For example, www.intelligenttelephones.com is not good, whereas www.businesstelephones.com is much better.
  • Do not pay over the odds, because there are hidden charges to avoid.
  • For your domain registration service, we recommend 123-reg and GoDaddy.

    Do:
  • Keep it short.
  • Make sure it is easy to spell.
  • Make sure it is easy to pronounce on the phone.
  • Use simple and plain English.
  • Use real words from the dictionary.
  • Use search engine keywords.
  • Keep it descriptive and use words which describe exactly what you do.
  • Keep it simple and don't confuse your audience. What is this? www.shoeswearing.com? Is it 'Shoe Swearing' or 'Shoes Wearing'?
  • Cover your options and buy more than one domain if you need to.
  • Only index one domain per website on search engines, if you wish to avoid diluting your search engine ranking.
  • Use a popular and mainstream domain extension.
  • Choose the right domain extension for your market or country. For example .COM for International; .CO.UK for UK; .CA for Canada; .COM.AU for Australia.
  • And finally, check your spelling before you buy and register online.


    Domain Name versus Business Name
    In an ideal world, you will have one name and it will be the same name for your domain and your business name. However, unfortunately all of the short and snappy domain names are not available.

    Let's assume you are based in Brighton, your business is called 'The Homestead Partnership Limited' and you run a home decorating business. Then (subject to availability), you could register two or more domains:

    www.brightondecorators.com
    Or:
    www.brightondecorators.co.uk

    And:

    www.homesteadpartnership.com
    Or:
    www.homesteadpartnership.co.uk

    Avoid something like the following:

    www.homedecs4u.com
    Or:
    www.homedecs4u.co.uk

    With this combination, we suggest you print www.homesteadpartnership.com on your business stationery (business cards, letterheads etc) and you index www.brightondecorators.com on search engines, because it contains search engine keywords and more importantly, it says exactly what you do.

    If, for modern branding considerations, you have to register an abbreviated mobile phone text message style name, it is best to cover your options and register the full English version also. For example:

    www.trainers4u.com
    Also register:
    www.trainersforyou.com

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