Choosing a domain name
Domain name structure
What follows is what you need to know as a business owner – for more detailed information about domain names see Wikipedia.
The name you choose will have an ending – here's a quick guide:
Quick guide to domain name endings
The common generic or global endings are:
|.net||organisations involved in networking technologies like internet service providers (ISPs) though widely ‘abused’|
|.info||for informative resources|
but you can also get things like:
|.biz||an alternative to .com for business use|
Then you can get country-dependent domain names like:
and some of these countries have found a way of minting a fortune by making these names generally available.
Each country has its own domain name authority or registry that manages the second-level domains, so you can get:
|.co.nz||New Zealand commercial|
|.us||US citizens and organisations, organisations with a US presence|
Thinking of a name
Here are a few considerations and pointers:
- brand – a distinctive name by which you are known
- call to arms – do-this-thing.com
- your name – you are or will be sufficiently well known to be readily identified
- juxtapositions – when your company name is run together – such as childrenswear.co.uk
- location – if you only want to work in a particular area (eg bed and breakfast), including the location will be a good idea
- cross-language – if you are going to be a multilingual website, then you don't necessarily want something that means something in one language and nothing in another, or worse something rude or negative in a particular language eg nova in English sounds reasonable but in Spain no va may not be ideal.
Once you have thought of a name or two
Check it out (using a search engine if necessary):
- see if it’s taken by someone else (most likely)
- do a whois lookup with dnsstuff.com or similar to see if it's been taken but hasn't got a website (ie it's not showing up in a web search)
- is it similar to a website with which you don't want to be associated eg porn (this can happen)
- is available in both your country and globally (see cybersquatting below)
Register the name
- For maximum control – but this requires willingness to learn some of the technicalities of domain names and be aware of the expiry date – register the name with a registrar like 123-reg.co.uk, joker.com. Fees and the quality of the dashboards do vary between providers and we do not endorse any particular one.
- or if you don't want to do that, your web design agency can probably do it for you, but we don’t recommend this as the domain name is going to be part of your brand
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