How to choose a domain?

A few tips for finding your perfect domain

Who is this tip for?
It's for new business owners who are not sure what domain name to choose.

There are many websites with suggestions, such as ‘10 tips to find your ideal domain’.

We’ve concluded that there are far more than ten factors to consider when choosing a domain name.

By combining items from the many lists we’ve encountered, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of criteria to consider when choosing a domain name.  We’ve put items in priority order, but your priority may vary depending on your business.

Important
Jot it down and ensure it doesn’t look odd or inappropriate. Read it out loud repeatedly a few times to make sure it doesn’t look or sound weird.
Keep it short and concise, aim for no more than three words.
Target your area if possible to do so - If your targeted audience is local, you can add a local characteristic to your domain, e.g. including the name of a town.

Main principles:

Make it easy to

  • type
  • pronounce
  • read
  • interpret
  • remember
  • spell

Avoid numbers and hyphens?

Yes and no - it depends. Sometimes people choose a domain with a hyphen because their preferred version of the name is not available. We strongly recommend you don’t do this, so as not to provoke the original domain owner who may think you are attempting to gain an unfair advantage. But if you already own the original domain and would also like to register the hyphenated version, there is no reason not to go ahead. However, bear in mind, people tend to forget the hyphens and type the words only.
Using numbers can be okay, if it represents a vital part of your services, for example, ‘plumber0-24.co.uk’

There might be occasions when the exact domain name you’d like to register has already been taken. However, you should be able to find a suitable and unique alternative.
It may take some time, but if you’re persistent in your search, you will find a suitable domain name for your business.

Domain extensions

A domain extension is the last letters of the domain name, such as ‘.co.uk’, ‘.com’, ‘.info’, etc.
Use an appropriate domain name extension - Notes: Don’t choose a ‘.international’ domain extension for local business. Just use your common sense.

Register other domain extensions, too.

Note: If you think your domain name quite valuable, you can go for com, net, info, domains too. The bad news is that you can choose from more than 1300 top-level domains and domain extensions. But you can select ‘.consulting’ or ‘.services’ for a local business as well. We recommend using ‘.co.uk’ or '.uk' for a local UK business because people in the UK tend to type the ‘.co.uk’ extension first.

If you register additional domain names that are similar to your primary domain, use redirection so that all traffic is redirected to your primary domain.
Note: You’ll need a proper redirection method. Your webmaster can help you with this.

Using keywords

You don't have to use your most crucial search phrase as your domain name. Doing so doesn’t harm your search results, but it doesn’t help either. Google has decreased indexing domain names which focus on manipulating search results by using keywords as a domain name. You can still choose a domain name which contains keywords but use it only for representing your services and don't expect to get better rankings. Read more about SEO.

Domain name generators

Some websites suggest using a domain name generator tool to gather ideas. We've found these domain variations are quite odd and not very useful.
We still prefer to trust in the 'old human brain'.

Domain ‘dealers’

Some companies have a strategy of buying up potentially desirable domain names and waiting for the opportunity to sell them. In our experience, unless a domain is critical to your business, it’s probably not worth buying one that has been previously registered for re-selling.

A couple of examples of odd domain names are already registered:

  • iShoes.co.uk
  • iCarpet.co.uk
  • iWindow.co.uk

Let's see a few even stranger domain names that have already been taken:

  • iSomething.co.uk
  • iWhatever.co.uk

Yes, we agree: 'IWhatever', or 'IAnything' still seems to be a little bizarre…

The good news is that ‘iAnything.co.uk’ is still available :-)


Privacy protection

You can protect your privacy - If you use your private data during the registration process, it’s worth opting to protect your privacy. It will cost you a few extra pounds to do so, but your data won't be visible for the public.

Since GDPR 'uk' domains are protected. However, you still might need privacy protection in case of other domain extensions, such as 'com', 'net', 'info', etc.

Domain research

Check availability on social media sites and trademarks and avoid copyright infringement.

You can read a few technical details of domain registration here

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