As a new business finding the perfect domain name is one of the most confusing parts of getting online. The thought of finding a domain name seems easy but you soon realise there might be a few things you need to consider when finding one. You may initially think all you need to do is to put your business name in front of .com or .co.uk but in this blog post we will look at the parts you need to keep an eye on when choosing a domain name. So lets get into it:
Domain name anatomy
The anatomy of a domain name can help with understanding the task of finding a good domain name for your business, as you can imagine how a customer might see your website. Lets take my domain name for example:
Now lets break this down into its three parts.
The first section https:// is the name of the “protocol” used to send the website files over the internet. This is something we don’t need to go into too much detail on as it is a complex subject to try and explain. What we can do is look at the two different types of protocols and what they stand for. This first protocol we have already seen, https://, stands for “HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure” which means that when files are sent over the internet using this pre-cursor any information you, or your customers, will input on the site will be handled securely. Any sensitive data will be protected from people looking at it without your permission. This is the standard for every website nowadays and is the first place you should look when deciding if a website is a scam or not. If a website is a scam it will most likely have the protocol http:// which means “HyperText Transfer Protocol”. This doesn’t protect data in transit and so is frowned upon in the online community. As an extra little titbit I will explain how to make sure you website will be secure before it goes live.
Most of the time when setting up your first business site you’ll either use a Developer or a company like Wix. If you do go down one of these two options you won’t need to worry about this step because they will be able to handle it for you, and most often without an extra charge. But if you do decide to build one yourself, the company who will host your website, the company that owns the computer your website will be securely stored on, will have to install an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate which is just a file which lets browsers and search engines know that the data is being handled correctly. This file does also ensure that the information is handled correctly but the fact that browsers and search engines can find it means that the customer will be able to see the padlock symbol on the top of your screen.
Second Level Domain
The Second Level Domain on my domain name is amias which is the personal identifier for your business. Mine is my first name and the benefits to this one is it is unique & short. It’s unique spelling helps it stand out from competitors helping me get noticed in my field. The length of it is important because it’s easier to remember than something like amias-burrows-the-web-developer. When looking for a domain name these are the two features which you should consider when making it. You want it short enough to be memorable but unique enough that you stand out from the crowd. If you’re struggling for inspiration contact me and we will discuss the best options for you.
Top Level Domain
The Top Level Domain is what you can use to help identify your business better. Mine, .dev is usually reserved for developers which is what I class myself as. The most popular in the UK .com and .co.uk both have their meanings too. .com stands for commercial and the .co.uk variant specifies the location as well. These are very handy for identifying your audience or what type of business you are. There are a finite number of Top Level Domains and searching will usually find you the best option for you. Don’t forget that this can affect your authenticity though. If you choose something like .xyz or .country you may be mistaken for a scam, which can affect your business.
Subdomains are not often noticed but sometimes you can come across them. such as the ecard. https://ecard.amias.dev extension in this domain or the business. https://business.google.com part of that one. These domains are useful for companies that have many different “factions” of their business that are completely separate but still under the same company name. Such as Google having a Maps sub-domain and also a Support sub-domain. These mainly benefit the developers who don’t have to worry about seeing a big mess of files when they look at the back end of a website. Keep an eye out for these next time you’re online as you’ll see many big businesses use these. The most common subdomain that you will have heard of is www. It’s usually used just to send people to the website but it does serve a syntactical purpose. Meaning World Wide Web, it just lets you know that this is a website on the internet. The meaning of this got lost when the entire world entered the internet and so it holds less authority than it used to.
Choosing the Best Second Level Domain
As we mentioned earlier the Second Level Domain is the part of your domain which you can show yourself off in. Lets build a fictitious company and help them establish a domain name.
|They’re a fashion company who aim to sell trendy menswear to college teens, focussing on being fresh but still having a sense of glamour in their clothes.
|The website is to be used as an online shop where customers can order free samples and buy the products directly to their door.
So my first thought is https://relay.com. This seems like an amazing choice for them. It’s modern, it’s memorable… it’s taken? Damn, we’ll have to think a little harder, the challenge with finding unused domains is the first challenge you’ll face. The benefit if you’re starting from the very barebones of a company is you can tinker with the business name whilst choosing a domain name if needs be. So the next step in my mind is to switch to .co.uk which doesn’t seem to be taken (at the time of writing this blog) but the issue is the .uk part. Say this company wants to expand to beyond the UK. Which, given that it’s an online clothing shop, seems pretty likely. We’ll have to find one which isn’t tied down to this country. My next step is to go to a website which sells domains. My personal choice is Google Domains (notice the sub-domain) because they have good prices for the longrun of the business.
The results I have found confirm something to me. The competition is strong. After looking through a few options such as https://relay.clothing and https://relayclothing.store I have decided to choose https://relayclothingman.com. This is my final choice because it’s the cheapest domain out of the three of them, the domain name helps identify what the company does and who it’s aimed at, and despite being a little longer than our original ideas; still has a very memorable name. This is where a little fiddling with the name and tagline for the company will come in.
Securing your future
Securing your future on the internet isn’t vitally important but it can help you as your company grows. Securing domain names such as https://relayclothingmen.co.uk (United Kingdom) or https://relayclothingmen.is (Iceland) can help you identify which countries you do business with, if overseas is your thing. And getting nearby domain names such as https://relyclothingmen.com or https://relayclothing.com can help catch more customers who may have mistyped or misheard your domain name. Of course this is not a day 1 thing to worry about but if, at a later date, you do want to expand your horizons this is something you can consider. Most people by default would aim to get the .com and .co.uk Top Level Domains for their company in the UK because they’re the most popular ones used over here, as before though, this is entirely up to you and your budget.
So to summarise, as we are doing at the end of all my posts, lets go over all the different things to consider when buying a domain name in a handy list format:
- Ensuring your hosting company installs the correct files to enable the https:// protocol
- Finding the best Secondary Domain Name
- Short enough to be memorable
- Unique enough to stick in peoples heads
- Choosing the best Top Level Domain to describe your business
- Future-proofing your domain name with overseas alternatives or close matches
- Fictitious company provided by Good Brief