When considering a domain name for a new business website, make sure you've considered the following advice before making any decisions:
1. Short & Sweet: Where possible, keep your domain name short. This makes it easier for people to remember and less time consuming for them to enter when there is no web link to 'click' or follow; reducing the chances of being incorrectly spelt. There will also be more space on your marketing material for promoting your products and services, especially where a name needs to be repeated alongside social media icons. Not to worry if you've already registered a name that may be a little on the long side as Point 4 suggests you can always put a backup plan in place. Alternatively, you can enlist the help of tools such as QR Codes in your marketing material (See our QR Code article)
2. Keep It Relevant: Domain names should be as close as possible, if not an exact match, to your trading name (or what your name will be when you start up). If existing and potential customers only know your business name and want to look you up on the web, it's likely that this is what they will use to search for you, so having a matching domain name for your website will help prevent missed opportunities.
3. Make It Memorable: Keeping your domain short and relevant will help make your domain memorable, but if you're just starting out on your business venture and are yet to choose a company/trading name, why not consider a play on words to help your name stand out amongst the rest? It's really important to note that you should not be trading as a business name that is already registered by another party. This rule also applies to sole traders. You can check available company names using the Companies House WebCheck service.
4. Backup Plan: In the instance that your chosen domain name (or part of it) sounds the same as another word, it could potentially be mistaken and consequently misspelt. So where it's obvious that this could happen, put a backup domain name in place to capture the 'wannabe' website visitors before they go astray. Take 'busikind.co.uk' as an example, we were clearly looking for trouble as it combines an intentional misspelt word to represent the words business and busy, with a play on words thrown into the mix for effect! It was obvious what could go wrong so our backup domains were put into play on launching our website. Our alter ego domains are busykind.co.uk and busikind.uk (we added a third to be on the extra safe side). If you click on our links you'll see that they all bring you to the official landing page for our biz.
5. Going Social: There are a few good reasons for choosing social media at the outset of starting up a business. Firstly, it's predominantly a valuable marketing tool that not only allow you to promote your business on various platforms for free, but many social media platforms now also provide free analytics to help users measure their performance meaning you can potentially hit the ground running with your online marketing efforts and without necessarily having a marketing budget in place. Secondly, as with your trading and domain name, it should be the same across the board to ensure consistency in your branding. Realistically, you may not be able to get your exact name on any social media account, so the earlier you check availability with each provider and register accounts the better. Failing an exact match, look at adding a short suffix to the end of your name so not to vary it beyond recognition. Think about adding a location/post code, for example, you could use 'YourNameUk' or 'YourNameN1' etc.
Remember, you want people searching for you to find you.
USEFUL RESOURCES & GUIDANCE
Nominet WHOIS Lookup Tool:
Free service for checking domain names availability and, where taken, their ownership details.
Nominet Domain Advice:
Outlines what a domain is and the rules associated with having a domain registered in the UK.
Companies House WebCheck Service:
Free service for searching company name availability, status and information.
GOV.UK Company/Business Name Advice:
Outlines the legal do's and don't's of choosing a business name in the UK.
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