What to consider when choosing a domain name

GrowthBusiness looks at what to consider when choosing a domain name and how the decision can impact on web searches.

‘Choosing the correct domain name for your company can seem daunting, but it is critically important,’ says Phil Thomas, co-director of financial information website lse.co.uk.

The site, whose initials stand for London South East, bought its primary domain lse.co.uk back in 1998 direct from a domain registration company. Thomas comments, ‘The name was short, easy to remember, and importantly at the time, available.’

Danielle Tanner was coming from a different position when she set up online gift shop Bumbleberry Gifts. She says, ‘I was a bit pedantic when choosing my domain name as it was also going to be my business name – as an online business I couldn’t have one without the other.’

Following several brainstorming meetings, Tanner eventually came up with the name Bumbleberry and checked rigorously online that the name was unique within the gift and homeware sector.

‘After careful deliberation I decided to include ‘gifts’ – a hint to what we did, whilst also hoping to improve our search engine optimisation (SEO). I did a final search to check there were no others on the web and then decided to go for bumbleberrygifts.co.uk.’

Tanner used Mr Site to choose her domain name and build her website. CEO of Mr Site Clifford McDowell states, ‘She went for an address that’s not only branded but good for SEO.’ However, about a week after launching, Tanner was inundated with people telling her that an American bumbleberrygifts.com was now showing up on search listings.

McDowell describes this as unfortunate but explains there are ways around it. ‘We’ve registered two more domain names for her – www.bumbleberry-gifts.com and bumbleberry-gifts.co.uk. She can have the three domain names pointing to her main site, so potential customers will find it easier to find her company.’

Thomas remarks that lse.co.uk also has multiple domain names. ‘We purchased SharePrice.com through a domain brokerage from an individual in East Asia,’ he comments. ‘We chose the name as it was highly relevant and had the potential to rank well in search results.’

Domain names can cost anything from a few pounds to several million. Thomas notes that lse.co.uk has walked away from a number of domains as the price was simply too high. He advises businesses to keep a sense of proportion: ‘At the end of the day, a domain is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it.’

New territories

Businesses are not limited to .com and .co.uk when choosing a domain name. There are a host of other top-level domains (TLDs) available, which may offer the opportunity for companies to register URLs that complement their main website. One such is .tel, whose operator Telnames aims to provide companies with a no-frills, mobile-optimised web page displaying essential contact details and links to their main website. The company’s service costs £14.95 a year and is aimed at all businesses from pubs to professional services firms.

Aoife Hayes

Aoife Hayes was a staff journalist for Business XL, sister title to GrowthBusiness, from 2011 to 2012, before moving on to work for the BBC as a Broadcast journalist. She graduated from the University...

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