Tips For Choosing & Securing The Right Domain Name

My dear, late mother was never wanting for an aphorism, one of her perennial favourites being, ‘act in haste, repent at leisure’, which, as olde worlde as it sounds, is still highly applicable to the online world and, indeed, the process of choosing and securing the right domain name for your company, project or institution.

Deciding on the right domain name for your site/company is a hugely important first step in the process of building a successful online presence. Your website may well be the first point of contact some people have with you or your company and, as such, it’s worth carefully mulling over the pros and cons before deciding on your domain name rather than having to fix things after you choose something you later find isn’t the right option. 

While there are no hard and fast rules about sourcing and securing a domain name, here are a handful of helpful tips to hopefully make the process a little less stressful, in no particular order of importance.

  1. Innovate – ‘Google’ was once a mildly amusing noun…now it has become a ubiquitous verb. On a vastly over-populated internet, it takes a little extra thought to stand out from the crowd.
  1. Research – never a bad thing, really. With a wealth of domain name sites to choose from, a little pre-emptive browsing of the likes of whois.net, godaddy.com or domaincheck.co.uk will let you know if your name is already registered to someone else. Nominet.org.uk is another portal well worth acquainting yourself with.
  1. Originality – it’s ever-harder to stand out from the online crowd but a little ‘blue-sky’ thinking could help you do just that. However, avoid trying to piggy-back an established web-brand’s popularity as a badly executed pun for a domain name may end up looking as classy as the fake ‘Colvin Kline’ underwear on sale at your local market stall.
  1. Clarity – steer clear of confusing URLs with too much punctuation, numbers or hyphens. If people can’t find you easily online they may well go and find someone else instead.
  1. Brevity - try and be as succinct as possible with your domain name, less is still more.
  1. Global – despite the plethora of new extensions, .com still carries global gravitas and the net is an incredible doorway into a world market. Don’t marginalise your web-presence at the first hurdle.
  1. Invest – if you want your domain name to be yours alone then it’s worth buying multiple extensions of that name, co.uk, .biz etc. A little short-term investment could prevent future confusion and online ‘doppelgangers’’. 
  1. Consult - bounce your ideas off others you trust as much as possible ahead of any final decision. It may save on any embarrassing faux pas when you press ahead solo only to find out your idea is similar to an existing website or your domain-name can be read the wrong way.
  1. Security - tie up your domain name for as long a time as possible. As with extensions, a little financial lay-out in the short-term is infinitely preferable to having to take legal action to keep your company’s site name if you let the domain expire.
  1. Tags - keep one eye on tags and keywords.  If your company isn’t hugely established then an astute keyword in the domain name will invariably bring the right sort of traffic to your site.

Like most things online, trial and error play a great part in the process so it’s worth trying to work out any mistakes in advance of committing to registering your domain. The internet is a gateway to all manner of international exposure and with just a little forward planning you can ensure that it’s the right type of exposure for your brand.

Posted November 2012 by Katie Olver , in Ops

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