The WEBPRO guide for choosing a domain name
.com or not to .com? That is the question
Even the earliest stages of getting a website comes with some big decisions. One of the biggest is picking out a domain name. If you’re unsure what a domain name is, what type of domain name you need or if it should include SEO key phrases, we have the answers below.
And remember, WEBPRO is on hand to offer domain support. Contact our experienced team for expert advice.
What is a domain name?
A domain name is a website address. It is what internet users type into the browser URL bar to find a particular website.
Just like your house has an address that can be typed into a satellite navigation system to find it, your website has an address you can type into a browser to find the website. When you enter the domain name into the URL bar, it sends a request to a server known as the Domain Name Server (DNS) to find the correct website.
You can buy a domain name from a domain name registrar for a year or longer (up to 10 years) which you can then renew as many times as you need to. WEBPRO is a domain registrar and we are here to answer any questions you have.
Should I use .co.uk or .com?
After deciding to get a website for your business, one of the first questions you need to ask yourself is what website domain do you need.
For example, do you want a Top Level Domain (TLD), such as .com or .org? Or do you want a Country Code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) specific to your country, such as .co.uk?
You should choose .com if you intend to be a global business with trading partners or clients overseas. If you only want to target the local market in your own country, a ccTLD domain is preferred. There are some SEO benefits of choosing .com, but for most businesses, these are negligible.
Some businesses prefer to purchase both versions of a domain and redirect one to the other, as it means they will never be confused with another business with the same or similar names. Remember, if you have a .co.uk domain, other people are still free to purchase the .com version if they want to.
How long should a domain name be?
The recommended length of a domain name is between four and sixteen characters long. Unfortunately, many of the best domain names with around four characters were scooped up many years ago. If you cannot make your domain name fit into few characters, try making sure the domain name is catchy or easy to remember.
For example, notonthehighstreet.com is quite long, but it is brandable and simple to remember.
Should a domain name include SEO key phrases?
There has been an unspoken battle between SEO experts in recent years, with many saying you should put key phrases into your domain name and others saying it is not worthwhile. In late 2020, this debate was cleared up by Google’s John Mueller. The SEO guru said it is a common question he gets asked, and the answer is there is no benefit to adding key phrases to a domain name.
He went on to say that if you search for a product or service right now, the proof is out there. The top results on search engines don’t typically have the same key phrases in their domain names. Thus, there is no real benefit to using a key phrase in your domain name, but there is nothing stopping you if it fits well in any case.
Further help choosing a domain name
Choosing a domain name isn’t just about finding something that ticks off the above recommendations. You need to think carefully about what sort of impression you want to give. It’s likely to feature on all of your marketing materials, be part of your email signature and on your business cards, not to mention be part of your business email addresses. Even though you can change a domain name if you really want to, this will have an impact on your SEO if you have already been using it for your website.
WEBPRO offers a helping hand when choosing domain names. We can provide ad-hoc domain name support or help you pick the right domain as part of our website design services. Contact our team for help and advice.
Recap: A domain name is the address of your website and is used to locate your site through servers. Your domain should be 4–16 characters long and does not need to include SEO key phrases. The type of domain you choose depends on your business goals. Choose a TLD like .com if you want to trade internationally, or choose a ccTLD like .co.uk if you only want to work in the local market.
P.S. If you’re struggling to think of a creative domain name that’s on brand, why not request help and advice from our talented team?