Go with a UK company
It can be risky to register your domain name with a company outside the EU, UK or USA as you can lose control of your domain, and it may not be registered in your name.
This is due to the fact that not all countries regulate businesses as closely as we do in the UK. If you do purchase your domain from a company that's not as honourable as some then it can prove very challenging and even impossible to get the domain name back and pointing to your website.
So it’s well worth spending a few extra pounds to keep your brand safe.
Make sure if you or if anyone else registers your domain name on your behalf make sure it’s all under your name. Each domain name has to have a personal name, email address and postal address associated with it. If someone has registered your domain name their name then with their contact details associated with it (as mentioned above with registering in a foreign country) you may lose control of it if something happens to them, for example they go out of business or the worst happens. Doesn’t bare thinking about but it’s a very real situation people can find themselves in.
The email address is key! When moving domain names between providers and owners, verification is made via email, so at the very least make sure the domain name is under your email address and that someone you trust has a backup plan if something happens to them.
If you’ve trademarked your business name you have an advantage against domain squatters if you trademarked it before they registered it as a domain name. If it’s a .co.uk domain name then you’ll need to go through Nominet.
Each domain name has its own governing registrar:
.co.uk and .org.uk is Nominet
.com in ICANN
If you have any domain name complaints or disputes you need to go through them.
Keep it short
How-long-should-your-domain-name-be.com? Not that long!
Like your business name, keep it short and memorable. Keeping it one unbroken word looks best and as domain names are not case sensitive (so bbcnews.co.uk and bbcNews.co.uk is the same thing). You can break it up with capital letters on your printed materials to make it easier to read. If you have to use hyphens that’s fine but don’t if you don’t have to, yourDomainName.com is much better than your-hyphen-domain-name.com as people don’t have to remember extra characters.
Register as many variations as possible to prevent domain name squatters, but don’t over do it!
So if you’ve got your-hyphen-domain-name.com but yourhyphendomainname.com was available and you didn’t buy it, if a competitor or just some nasty person registered yourhyphendomainname.com they could build a website for that domain name and potentially divert business away from you! So register both and variations around it, but be sensible, there are now hundreds of domain suffixes (that’s .com, .co.uk, and also .events, .photo etc) you can’t afford to buy them all, so just keep to the most common ones like .com and .co.uk.
Domain name forwarding
You can have as many domains as you like, but which one will you want to use as your main one? So if you have a .com and a .co.uk address you can forward one to the other, for example Debbie Wick’s website fristonwicks.co.uk goes to fristonwicks.com, the .com, is the main one. You can have it the other way round, but make sure you choose just one to be the main domain name and use that for email to, to prevent confusion and lost emails.
Does it have an effect on SEO?
Keywords in domain names aren’t as effective as they used to be, it’s helpful in terms of Google making searched words bold in the results, but your brand name is more powerful, make sure that’s in your domain name.
Having a multitude of domain names pointing to one does nothing extra for your SEO, unless you’ve built a landing page for each and registered those with Google. Otherwise only register what you need!
Register for longer
Google does like websites where the domain name has been registered for at least ten years, which might be an expensive and frightening step to buy so much at once. There’s usually a saving, like bulk buying, but beware that you might want to transfer your domain name out from that company and that could get expensive.
Setting up your email with your new domain name
The main domain providers all offer email hosting. Like domain names, email addresses are not case sensitive so you can have anything@... but be careful what you choose you don't want to be inundated with spam, so info and sales@ are often targets for spam.
Setting up your website with your new domain name
Most domain name hosting companies also host websites. It’s usually pretty simple to login to your domain name account and click a button to create a WordPress website. But be cautious about going down the website builder route, it may be impossible to move your website from this website provider in the future as it may be integrated into their system, more information about website builders here.
You can host your website where you domain name resides or it can point elsewhere, that’s a whole other subject discussed here Website hosting for beginners
We can host your domain name and look after the security of your new website, see: click here to see how we can help