What is a domain name?

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A domain name is a unique word (or sequence of words) that identifies the online address of your website.  A domain name is registered with a domain name provider (who you buy the domain from)

Your domain name should reflect your brand name as closely as possible, or at least contain keywords that are relevant to your business.

For example petitedigital.co.uk (my business name and digital marketing)

Another great example is one of my clients who nailed their domain name newburyshutters.co.uk . Can you guess what they sell and where?

Domain name extensions. Which to choose

A domain extension, otherwise known as a Top Level Domain (TLD), is the last part of your domain name: .com, .org. .co.uk, etc.

Their original purpose of these extensions was to categorise domain names, with each extension designed to indicate the purpose of the website they were directing to. For example, .com, the world’s most popular domain extension, is a contraction of ‘commercial’. However, these days it is much less strict, and when looking for a domain name your chosen provider will give you a huge range of domain name extensions to choose from for your business website.

Which should I use for my local small business? .com or .co.uk?

Without a doubt using .co.uk is a much better option for a local business that wants to target a local or UK audience. .com’s may still hold some gravitas (in a few peoples eyes) but they can be hard to transfer and simply aren’t needed for a local business

Who should I buy my domain name from?

Before you register a domain name think first about what you are going to want to do with your new domain name. 

If you are planning to use a simple drag and drop website builder then most of the big players such as Squarespace, GoDaddy, Wix and 123-reg offer this along with a range of other features such as SEO tools, email etc so look into their packages and decide on the provider you wish to use before you register your domain.

You can of course transfer domains between providers at a later stage should you wish to.

If you are using a web agency to build your site, then it may be simplest to leave them to register the domain as part of the website build (especially if you did opt for a .com)

Domains aren’t expensive so don’t try to cut costs at this early stage. One recent client purchased a domain which unbeknown to him had been previously used as a spam site with hundreds of inappropriate and frankly dodgy URL’s. This caused Google to Suspend his google business listing.  It has been a very difficult process to get this cleared up, and one I hope not to repeat.

You can track the history of a domain you are thinking of buying using Wayback Machine https://web.archive.org/

Should I buy multiple domains?

An old SEO black hat trick was to buy domains which sound relevant to your business, but in real terms unless you have a website behind any given domain there is absolutely no point in doing this. The only benefit is stopping other businesses registering that domain.

One thing that can be of benefit to a small business is registering new domains similar to the domain you are buying.

I own…

petitedigital.co.uk (my web address)

petitedigital.com (redirects to my website)

and in case anybody is using the French spelling…

petitdigital.co.uk (redirects to my website)

petitdigital.com (redirects to my website)

If you need any support in the early stages of setting up your small business I now offer marketing & mentoring packages

Thanks for reading and all the best with your new venture!!