5 things to think about before you buy a domain name

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how to choose a domain namePreviously on 24 TameBay:

  1. .com or .co.uk?
    People will argue about this, but here are my thoughts: .co.uk is fine if all your customers are UK based, and always will be. .com says global. It also says bigger business. And it’s what lots of people type by default. So I’d never buy a domain name where I couldn’t have the .com in addition to whatever geographically specific extensions I wanted.
  2. Misspellings
    Have you built some easy misspellings into your domain name, and if so, are you prepared to buy all the alternatives? Jewellery/jewelry and accessories are words best avoided!
  3. Readability
    If you tell someone your URL on the phone – or on the radio – are they going to instinctively understand what you’ve said? 4U, 2U and similar “numbers for words” tricks can also cause confusion. And if you’re going to need to spell it out, at least keep it short.
  4. Hyphens or underscores
    If you’re going the multiple keyword route, you’ll want to separate keywords so that Google sees them as different words. Google used to see hyphens as word separators, but not do the same with underscores. Google talked about changing this (and then didn’t), but for human readability, hyphens are still better: underscores are hard to read with underlined link text. (A name that needs neither hyphens nor underscores is still, of course, better.)
  5. Check the history
    Domain names are recyclable. If someone’s owned it before but not renewed, you could be buying a name with a whole bunch of history – and that might not be something you want. Check

1 thing everyone forgets

Best Match might be the norm on eBay, but alphabetical order still rules the universe at large. Where will you show up in that list? zoopermarket.com might be the perfect name for your new pet supplies business, but alices-alligator-addiction.com, birmingham-bird-boutique.biz and the-krazy-kat-kartel.kr are all going to show up before you do.

5 Responses

  1. We only use .co.uk’s as the rules where .com for a US Business & .co.uk for a UK Businesses, not just where your customers are based.

    Shame that the old rules are not being enforced for such TLD’s as .org.uk, which are for non-profit organisations in the same way .plc.uk and .ltd.uk are only allowed to be registered by the actual company.

    Its also worth keeping a eye on Nominet’s whois if the domain required is already registered

  2. We have done a lot of research into this area. One thing I would say is where you can use the .co.uk extension as your main website over a .com.

    This is because Google will rank you higher on google.co.uk over a .com extension. There are of course many other factors that Google takes into account but trust me, a .com is harder to get onto page 1 than a .co.uk is (on google.co.uk)

    Along with this, do not host your website in the US. Make sure your server is also based in the UK, we use a dedicated server at http://www.uk2.net. More expensive than US hosting but you’ll save the difference on having to do less SEO work.

  3. It is also worth remembering that cyber-squatting is still prevelant, and also lucrative.

    For the sake of a few extra quid per year, it is worth sweeping up a few popular TLD variants of your domain name, which works out a lot cheaper than Domain Name Dispute proceedings…

    Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but it can also be financially detrimental.

  4. One of my domains, TheWhineSeller.com is obviously a double whammy of puns. If I say it aloud in person or on in any radio interview or podcast, most people picture it as wine cellar, with good reason.

    So while I love my blog name, I didn’t realize when I registered it that every single time I do an audio interview or talk about my blog in person, I have to spell both words out and explain the pun. It’s…awkward.

    Along the same lines, our company name, Priced Nostalgia contains two normal English words so you’d think I’d never have to spell that. But when you’re trying to give that domain over the phone (such as giving someone your email), boy is it awkward to say and articulate.

    So in both cases, it’s not a deal breaker but I do recommend talking over your domain name with a friend out loud before you buy so you can at least identify these spoken issues before you proceed.

  5. I have used my business name as my domain name (.co.uk and .com)which is fine if it is searched, as it is top every time. The trouble is it is rarely searched as it is not well known. I have now changed it to a short two word (rolled together) often searched keyword(s).
    It is now beginning to appear in searches for these keywords.
    It comes top as long as it is searched with both keywords rolled together, (like the domain name), but I believe google will also pick out actual words within a rolled together name and I think this is happening with my name.
    I did not choose the hyphenated version as I have no evidence that this is looked at differently to the rolled together name.



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