2. Domain Name Registration | Choosing and registering your website domain name

1. overview 2. domain name 3. website hosting 4. web design 5. website optimization 6. submission
7. ranking 8. directories 9. link building 10. pay per click 11. development 12. ecommerce

You know you need a website, but what domain name are you going to use?
You need to carefully consider how your domain name will affect your future search engine rankings and user friendliness. It is very important to know exactly what it is you want your website to do at this point.

Should your domain name be your company name?

Maybe not – unless your company has a name that is well-known, and instantly recognized.
Otherwise it is a good idea to go for a for a domain name that represents the type of product or industry you operate in. If your company is Jones & Smith Ltd and you are accountants you then have the choice of 
www.jones-and-smith.co.uk, or

domain name registration

This is vital to good search engine optimization because domain names with valid key words will ultimately rank higher on searches for those keywords.

How do you choose an effective name?   

This is a name that is going to be connected with your business forever so it is important to make sure you are 100% happy with your choice. Take some time here to really think carefully about your choice. Your domain name, if correctly chosen, can alone be a powerful marketing tool!

The older a website, the more credibility it has within the search engines, so you cannot afford to come back later and change it!

A domain name should be relevant and easy to remember. It should reflect the keywords of the industry it operates in. This is important because it can impact on your search engine rankings at a later stage. A sensible and pertinent choice, like www.expert-accountants.co.uk.is great, but beware of overdoing the keywords - www.expert-accountants-for-quick-cheap-tax-returns. There is a balance, in fact it has been suggested that Google prefer two-word domains, and we would certainly not recommend more than three. Apart from what you do, where you do it could be important too. If your business only covers a certain geographic area, it might be useful to include that in your name i.e: instead of www.best-plumber.co.uk, your domain could be www.best-plumber-dorset.co.uk. This would greatly improve your rankings within your local area but do think carefully about future expansion.

That wasn’t too tricky! But hang on, should those keywords be hyphenated or not? Google apparently does have the ability to distinguish between words without hyphens, but not all the other search engines can. It is therefore better to hyphenate if you can. It is particularly important where a string could become tricky to spell (i.e:  www.yellow-widgets.co.uk is easier than www.yellowwidgets.co.uk). Also, be careful that you choose words that are easy and unambiguous to spell and understand – optimisation/optimization; program/programme -  your searchers have a 50% chance of getting it wrong! Also, don’t be tempted by trendy spellings and mobile phone type abbreviations, they may not be recognized by many.

domain name registration

Which domain extension is right for you - .co.uk  .com  .net ?

This can be a bit confusing, as there are more and more extensions appearing all the time. Partly you are limited to what is available, and it’s not a bad idea to have a look at who owns the others, then you need to consider carefully if your business focus is a certain geographic area.
A website ending in .co.uk is seen by Google to be based in the UK. It will therefore feature more strongly in searches in the UK.  (The choice of hosting company can also have a bearing on this, please refer to domain hosting page for more information.)
A .com extension is viewed as international and will not feature as highly in a UK wide search. The .co.uk extension is no longer the only way of being recognized as a UK website, .uk.com is an alternate domain for the United Kingdom, and extensions such as .org.uk and .me.uk could also be used. New extensions are being introduced regularly, some with restrictions on usage (.name for individuals, .mobi for mobile devices). Have a look at what’s available to you. Also, bear in mind that the physical location of your hosting company will impact on this. This will be explained in more detail when you get to the Hosting page, but briefly if your hosting company is based in Germany, your website (and therefore your business!) may well be seen as being based in Germany, particularly if you use a .com extension.

Should you try and buy all the extensions for your domain?

If you can afford it, why not, simply to prevent anyone else from buying them – but be careful, you could end up owning a lot of unnecessary websites. A lot of UK companies try to buy both the .com and the .co.uk. If your site is well designed and well optimized, it will attract visitors regardless of other similarly named sites!

How do you register your website domain name?

Your hosting company should be able to register your domain name for you, and it is probably best to keep it all together if you can. However, there are masses of domain registration websites out there, and if you have a domain name registered with someone other than your chosen hosting company, your hosting company will be able to have it transferred. Your hosting and registration company should remind you when your domain is due for renewal, but you can always check yourself by using www.whois-search.com/whois/.

Always check that you will own the domainname, as some domain registrars will insist on having control over the domains they register. Ensure too, that you can transfer the domain to another registrar, should you choose to, and also will a transfer incur any fees. Nothing worse that being stuck with a hosting company you don’t like. Registration can take up to a couple of day before your site appears online. Now you own a domain name for a certain time period, the next step is to have it hosted and to have a website constructed.

Have you considered your future business plans?

Although your domain name should reflect the keywords most relevant to you, be careful that you have left yourself scope to expand your business. You may have a site called www.website-hosting.co.uk.  Great – except the internet opens up and you   want to add website advertising packages. Then you expand and you want to sell website design. Suddenly, your domain name is inappropriate and does not reflect your full range of services. Maybe www.internet-marketing.co.uk would have been a better idea in the first place. This is also relevant if you include a town or county in your name and then decide to move or expand to other towns or counties.

Is it easier to buy an existing expired domain name?  

There are two possible reasons you may want to do this:

  • The domain name you want is already registered but is available for sale – be sure you are paying a fair price and that you are buying it outright
  • You are impatient and want a website that already has a page rank. This used to be a “back-door” to quicker page ranking, but Google have become wise to it, and any page rank or search engine “goodwill” that you think you are buying will be lost as soon as the name is purchased. If you do buy an existing domain, try to change as few details as possible i.e: keep the same hosting company, domain registrar etc. thus appearing as part of a total business transfer and not just a domain sale.

Remember, no-one has yet got rich registering and selling domain names. The value prescribed to a domain rests largely with the content.


A website is a vital marketing tool for all businesses! Choosing a domain name for your website is just the first of many equally important decisions you will need to make before your website becomes a reality.
It is not easy trying to reflect everything your business does in two or three words, but it is worth it. The value of this step will make other decisions further along the line so much easier and clearer.

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The following are a number of testimonials from satisfied clients. We are really pleased to receive these testimonials, and proudly list them here.

Thanks for the website Ian.
As you stated, I have had a steady stream of enquiries since setting me up on the internet.
Morning Ian, just a short note to say 'thankyou' for the work on my website. Not only am I pleased with the way it looks, but I could not believe it when I got my first enquiry from it only a few days after its completion. All you said would happen has indeed happened.
Thank you very much for your kind help. It is really a good advice for my marketing plan.

Thanks and best regards,
Hi Ian Just a short note to tell you we have had a very good season, an excellent sales increase so we should be ok now the autumn is here and going very soon into Winter.. . . . . . . . .
Thanks Ian. The website has certainly increased our Bookings and we look forward to next year.
Best Wishes
I am not really interested in getting back in to PPC as it cost a lot of money last time for not a lot of return. We have been without it for over a year and what you are doing is still increasing visits and turnover on the site.
Sports Outlets
Just a quick note to say I’m very interested in maintaining the website you have completed a marvellous job of so far. We are already noticing a complete change and receiving a lot higher internet inquires.
Thanks Ian
Hello Ian, came across your website via a Google search and wanted to say how impressed I am! The marketing plan template arrived within seconds of my request - it is clear, tremendously helpful and has provided me with the structure I desperately lacked as I prepare to kick off my new business on 1st September! A really super service, am sure I will be in touch again over the coming weeks to discuss other elements of your offer.

Thanks and regards

....... I have also noticed the success of extra clicks! Business is also up by at least 15 percent from last year. Regards
Owner (Dry Cleaners)

I would just like to bring a ray of sunshine to your day (well it did for me).
Since we started to work with Ian Smith, our Adwords guru, our results have improved impressively. These figures are the average across the board, ..
Our Click through rate has gone from 1% to a very credible 4.5%
Our average cost per click has dropped from 87p to 63p (just remember some clicks are still £2+).
Our average position has gone from 5.4 to 4.6
So all in all a very good result and with further input we hope to do even better.
Interior Design Retailer