10 Top Tips for Domain Registration
The Internet in all its forms is now at the heart of modern business. Domain Names are your way of securing your identity online and branding your organisation across the web. Think of it like your online first impression. It is likely to be the first thing your customers or clients see. Don’t let them be put off by a stupidly-long-and-ridiculous-hyphenated domain name. In this guide we’re going to look at 10 vital aspects of domain registration that you should consider before you register a domain.
Now this might seem like an obvious one but it’s incredibly important. Don’t set your heart on a domain name that’s already registered. Bear in mind just how important a great web presence is for any modern business. Check you actually have the ability to register the domain name before building your business around that name! Don’t spend months developing an idea hoping that the domain name is available. Go and check and register it there and then if you can. In terms of outlay, domain names are a relatively inexpensive asset, so don’t be afraid to register more than one! If you are looking for a really great domain and can’t find one sometimes it’s worth looking at lists of expired domains to see if there is anything that grabs your attention. Doing this may even bag you a domain with some backlinks, which could mean that your new site appears in the search results much faster than with a freshly registered domain.
Are you planning on operating internationally? Then consider your Top Level Domain (TLD) options. If you are just operating in the UK, you might only need a .com and a .co.uk domain. However, if you plan to penetrate Europe at some point, it’s worth investing in a .EU too! Then you’ve got .US domains for your American presence and hundreds of other Country Code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs), which represent different countries and localities all over the world. Think of them as assets, which give you some room for international expansion.
The length of a domain name is directly correlated to its value. The shorter the domain, the better. Try the initials of your company combined with its purpose as a starting point. E.g. If I was in electronics and my name is Sam Baloo, why get sambalooelectronics.com if sbelectronics.com is available? Which would you rather have? I know which ones your customers or clients would rather use!
Consider how SEO-friendly your domain name is. Does it contain a keyword that relates to your business? Is it a generic branded domain name? These things will make a difference to your SEO strategy down the line, so always keep in mind whether or not your primary source of exposure will be search. A top tip from me would be to always include at least one keyword in the text of your domain name.
It always comes down to money in the end. Make sure you are getting decent value from your domain names. Look around; don’t just register with the first domain name registrar you find. Dig a little deeper and ask friends or colleagues for a recommendation. If you search for your perfect domain name and it’s already taken, you might want to consider approaching the owner of that domain, by using the contact information thorugh the whois website, with the possibility of purchasing it, sometimes you can get a bargain! If your desired domain is not available and the owner is not responsive you may go try to backorder your domain with your registrar of choice and to maximise the likelihood of getting the domain could also backorder the domain with other specialised companies such as snapnames, however backordering a domain is no guarantee that you will actually get it as most domains are automatically renewed.
Beware of registered trademarks
Ensure your name doesn’t infringe on any trademarks – Similar to my first point on this list, but worthy of its own mention. Make sure when you register a domain name that you are not purchasing a domain that someone else has trademark rights over. You might end up being hit with a legal challenge for the domain. If you’ve spent months branding the domain, spending money on a website builder and creating a social media buzz around your business, the last thing you need is to have to go back to square one! This is essential if your domain is already taken in otherTLDs, i.e. if someone has already taken example.com but I want to register example.co.uk. Does the company Example have a trademark on that word?
Avoid special characters
In my experience, a domain name without any hyphens works a lot better than its hyphenated alternative. If you’ve got no other option then having the hyphenated version of the name is better than not having it at all, but think outside the box and come up with something original that isn’t already taken in your chosenTLD.
Get a second opinion
This is a great way to evaluate which domain name, from those available, will work best. Ask people you know which domain they prefer from a list of options you have drawn up. Don’t just ask everyone in the office. Ask your Grandparents, ask your dog, ask your neighbours. You want to get feedback from as many sources as possible. The Internet is the most diverse community on the planet. It’s impossible to please them all, but don’t neglect too many of them!
Triple check the spelling
Now it might seem stupid that I have to mention it, but I’ve seen plenty of people register their domain name with an overexcited hammering of the keyboard and ending up spelling it wrong at the checkout. Registrars won’t give you a refund … so DON’T spell it wrong. Get another pair of eyes on it and take your time.
Make it memorable
Linking in to both originality and length, make your domain name memorable. Think about the three juggernauts of the modern web, Amazon, Google and Facebook. Are we spotting the pattern here people? A catchy domain name can give your businesses a great personality that will keep your customers coming back.
So now you’ve read this list, there’s nothing more to do but get out there and register your domain name! If it’s for your personal blog or for your business, take into consideration all of the above points and you will end up with a great domain name that could be your most valuable asset in years to come.