If you’ve got the name for your new business, the next step is to secure your domain name. You may even want to do this before you form a limited company, just in case the available choices affect your name decision.
It’s also well worth doing a bit of research on namechk.com to see if there are social names available for your preferred domain choice.
Where to buy
There’s one important piece of advice here. Don’t choose the cheapest. There are so many places you can buy and register a domain name from now. Some are cheap, some are less so. Some use special offers and freebies and offers to sweeten the deal. Experience has taught me to stay away from the cheapest, and aim for something I trust instead.
You may wonder what difference it makes. A domain name is a domain name, right? The difference, as usual, is in the service and manageability of your account when you need to make changes. It may not a big deal, but I’ve had countless clients regret going cheap once they’re further down the line with their marketing.
So, do yourself a favour and spend a few extra pounds with a reputable company. The difference is often just the price of a coffee. I currently recommend and trust TSO Hosts, and buy all my domains and hosting through them now.
WordPress and Web Hosting
One example of where buying from a reputable company matters is when you come to build your website. If you build it with WordPress you will need a Web Hosting package too (where your website is stored in the cloud). It’s best if you buy web hosting from the same company as your domain, so they link easily. However, the cheapest companies are neither good long term value for money, or easy to use.
Start with a search
Run a search for your business name on TSO Hosts’ homepage (or whichever company you’re using). Use all lowercase letters with no spaces. You can use hyphens if you want, but I find they look a bit ugly.
If your desired name isn’t showing as available in the search results with the main extensions like .co.uk or .com, you may want to adjust your name. You can choose a more obscure extension instead if you want, but I find people get often confused by these.
Be creative if you need to
Buying the exact same domain as your business name is overrated and people tend to get hung up on it. It’s almost impossible to secure a .com or .co.uk for a simple combination of words these days, so get as close as you can to your business name, but you may need to get creative. You could add (or remove) a word, so long as it still makes sense. If your business name is short you could add something like “team” or “weare” before it to improve your luck, or “get” if it’s an app.
Some other tips
- Make it short – generally speaking, the shorter the domain name the easier it is to remember for your customers. However, depending on your business name this isn’t always easy to do, so don’t be afraid to use longer ones.
- Make it easy to type – if it’s easy to make mistakes with your domain it may be harder for customers to find your website.
- Avoid numbers and hyphens – although these can be used in a domain, they’re often misunderstood. People who hear of your domain verbally won’t know if you’re using a number or it’s spelled out, or they may forget to use the hyphen. If you need these in your domain, register the different variations to be safe.
- Make it memorable – the easier it is for someone to remember, the more chance you have of them finding you.
- Be unique – don’t be tempted to pick a domain name that’s similar to a competitor. Stick to being unique, to avoid confusion.
Once you find a domain you’re happy with, you just need to buy it – technically known as “registering”. You can just pay for one year, but often you can get a much better deal if you commit to more than one. If you’ve decided on WordPress as a platform, you may also want to buy Web Hosting at the same time – they may even suggest it during your purchase. You should only need a basic package – TSO’s Lite package should do for most people’s needs.