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Registration Tips

10 Top Tips for Domain Registration

Alexander Aranda looking at domain extensions
Updated: 13 Oct, 2013 at 23:53

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-hyphenated007.domainname. In this guide we’re going to look at 10 vital aspects of domain registration that you should consider before you register a domain.

Availability

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 domainsto 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.

Geographical reach

Are you planning on operating internationally? Then consider your Top Level Domain (TLD) options. If you are just operating in theUK, 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.

Length

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!

SEO potential

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 yourSEOstrategy 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.

Price

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.

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26 Recent comments

SEJ

Thanks Alexander, some good information here to help plan a new site.

Adrian Moysey

Good blog, sound advice :)

Lorraine Gregory

That's great Alexander very good tips and information I cannot fault it.

Tom Whittam

Good article, great for beginners, I just wish they'd seek more advice before jumping in with there eyes closed!

TeachMeiOS

Great article! Thanks for sharing it. All the best to you!

Social Sammie

Great article, written to be understood!! Thanks for sharing, will be looking at choosing a domain name myself soon!! ;)

Phil The Greek Louka

Hi Alexander, great website, highly recognized by Google + Alexa and great informative content :)

Red Book Productions

Wow, there's quite a bit there I hadn't considered.

Sugar Cupcakes

Fab article, could have used it when setting up our website.

Dalkaji

Very insightful!! The flow of the article is so natural. Will definitely be referencing when registering a domain name for my business.

Richie

Good article. One last thing to add is that it is really important that you buy the domain yourself and have all the passwords to the domain name registrar. Too many clients allow their all in one template provider, printer or web designer buy it for them. Then when it comes to upgrade to something more upmarket they can be very obstructive in providing the details.

▲ Alex

Completely agree with you Richie, I’ve seen it happen many times, people should really take care with with their company domain, having those details is key and not having them could really make it difficult to make changes.

Maya McLaughlin

Yes you have it spot on. I myself, when I discovered my domain name was free, bought it up before my more famous namesake did so... :)

Sam Barnes

Thank you for all the feedback on this post. Being memorable is incredibly important. Trademarks and Domain Names deserve an article of their own!

Rebecca Wheatley

Great post! Will retweet this, I think a lot of people will be interested, I see some good ones! Would be good to read more on trademarks :).

▲ Alex

Thank you Rebecca, trademarks are a very interesting topic indeed, I have just added a set of useful articles on the subject under the useful articles section.

Offerly

I'd agree with everything on that! But what I would add is that sometimes a misspelling is not such a bad thing!

London Parking

Interesting one Alexander, we were having a conversation about this a couple of hours ago, didn't think about SEO so thank you! Mark.

S / S / A / W

I chose a long domain name on purpose. I think the name has to be memorable and tailored to your audience.

Richard Celm

Good article. Only thing to add is easy to spell (spells as it sounds).

MJBGrahamConsultancy

I think point 10 is very valuable, making it memorable is very important!

Mark K Luscombe

Good to see SEO guys giving real info in real language . Nice one mate.

▲ Alex

Though I would love to take the credit it was actually Sam who wrote this fanstatic article, though I did provide all the useful links!

Guillaume Cereghetti

Some useful advice here, I thought it was going to be a biased opinion as it's written by someone from domain monster but I found it genuinely helpful.

Paola Correa

Perfect how to for domain registration, I completely agree with checking your spelling, my brother made that mistake.

Beth Appleby

Really useful article! I want to start selling my beauty products online and was a bit lost about registering a name for my website but now I feel confident to go ahead and do it :)

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