Choosing and buying a domain name

The simple act of choosing a domain name can seem almost impossible when you consider that there are over 350 million domains registered worldwide.  There are, however, some straightforward rules it’s wise to follow:

  1. If you already have a business name try to choose something which includes that. It will make it much easier for people to remember and gives consistency to your branding.
  1. Try not to use characters other than letters if possible. Numbers and hyphens will often confuse people and are difficult to remember unless they are part of your overall branding.  One GoWithThePro member, for example, runs the business BR6 Life which focuses on the local community around the BR6 postcode.  Her domain reflects this and is easy to remember; http://br6life.com
  1. If your business is in a competitive market use suffixes to your advantage. Perhaps you run a designer shoe shop in Dulwich and want something easy to remember or that makes you stand out? http://designershoes.co.uk was registered in 2003 so you missed that one but what about http://designershoes.london for £5.99? or even http://dulwichdesigner.shoes for £7.91?
  1. If you only offer services locally, as above, it’s worth making that clear in your domain. http://yorkplumbingservices.co.uk tells your customers exactly where you are and what you do. It will also help your search engine results when people look for local businesses.
  1. Search in one place. Don’t waste your time manually searching for your ideal domain, use a service provider as they will offer suggestions based on your search.  For the basis of this course I will be using TSO Host.  You can search for a domain here:

https://www.tsohost.com/domain-names

Remember that you don’t need to buy from TSO Host, it’s just a good place to start your search.

  1. Try to have consistent branding. If you are just starting out and researching possible company names we would recommend that you search the availability of social media handles as well as domains.  You might have to compromise but this is much better in the long run than confusing your customers.

Your questions answered:

  • If a domain is available, you can register it with anyone not just the company you used for your search. Prices vary so it’s worth shopping around.
  • A domain isn’t a website, you will need hosting too (more of that in module 2).
  • Lots of hosting providers offer a free domain when you buy hosting.
  • Registration usually only lasts for a year so make sure you renew your domain when the time comes.

Next steps: