Before you buy your domain name, give some thought to the following:
1) If possible use your sites name as the basis of your domain name e.g www.discountdomainsuk.com for Discount Domains UK. This might seem common sense but not every site follows the convention. If you use your name in your URL it will be much easier for your customers to find you.
2) Generic names – if you can register a generic domain such as toys.com that’s great, but most of these have already gone. Also getting ranked in the search engines is likely to be harder. Selected a domain closer to your market segment will cut down the competition. E.g toyplanes.com
3) Hyphenated Names – Its easy to forget the hyphen! Which is the problem, particularly if your customer remembers your name but not your URL. Though on a positive note hyphenated names are less likely to registered already.
4) If the .com or .co.uk extension is not available then consider the alternative TLD ( Top level domain types) such as .net or .biz. If your domain name has already been registered then approach the owner and ask if they’ll sell. They may accept a £100. If you ask, they can only say no.
5) Plurals. Very often a domain name will be free in the plural but not in the singular form. It’s a personal choice, but if your prefered choice of domain name is not available you might be stuck.
6) Short or Long domains – A short domain name is more memorable, but less likely to be available. A longer domain is harder to remember, but can contain more keywords which is important as some of the search engines, use keywords in a domain name as part of the search algorithm.
7) Top Level Domain Type - .com, .co.uk , .net etc This is a question I am often asked. There is no evidence that any domain name type is given preference by the search engines. However some search engines such as Google, have local searches e.g www.google.co.uk which do select local content. Customer often get re-assurance from seeing a local TLD as they know they are dealing with a local company etc. You can of course register all of them!
8) Variations – If your prefered domain name is not available then its always worth trying a prefix my e.g mydomains.com or suffix e.g domains4U.com etc
Clare Lawrence is CEO of Discount Domains Ltd – A leading UK provider of Domain name registration and Web Hosting services. Please feel free to re-publish this article provided this reference box remains together with a hyperlink to http://www.discountdomainsuk.com Clare can also be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org.