We’ve all been there. You have a unique, one-of-a-kind name for a new business or venture. Your mind runs at 100 miles per minute, imaging it up in lights or on a billboard. Smugly, you search online to register your domain name, only to find someone nabbed the .com 15 years ago.

With over 1.7 billion existing websites, having a truly unique idea is rare, so don’t beat yourself up too much. Just because a .com domain isn’t available, doesn’t mean that you need to begin removing vowels, adding consonants or trundling back off to the drawing board in a strop just yet.

There used to be a certain amount of snobbery around domain names – “if you can’t get a .com domain, don’t bother”. Thankfully, with the increase of new domain extensions, and many household names now embracing the wide variety out there, this is no longer the case.

As a UK business, you have a huge variety of other options that may actually offer an even stronger domain identity than you initially imagined.

Why does your domain extension matter?

In a web address, you have to convey as much information about yourself as you can in an extremely limited space. While domain extensions may seem like a minor aspect of this, choosing the right one can be the difference between standing out from the crowd or slipping under the radar.

There are plenty of ways to do this without using a traditional generic domain extension, that may well suit you better. More and more businesses are looking to alternative domain extensions when setting up their sites, so selecting something unique for yours should be seen as a creative decision, rather than a compromise.

So what are your options?

1. .uk and .co.uk

Let’s start simple. You’re a UK business, with UK customers - can you guess where this is going?

The most obvious choices for a British business would be either a .uk domain, or a .co.uk domain. Affinity goes a long way, and whereas .global may suggest scale, .uk evokes an embodiment of pride around British values, something that a lot of customers respect.

In fact, the majority of British customers still prefer to purchase from websites with .uk or .co.uk domain extensions, despite the overwhelming popularity of .com throughout the world. This is why British customers visit amazon.co.uk instead of amazon.com, for example. So, while .com may still reign supreme for global businesses, .uk or .co.uk is perfect for targeting British audiences in particular.

Registering multiple domains by snapping up the .uk and .co.uk domains for your site is a fantastic way to strengthen and protect your brand. Not only will this help you catch all potential traffic to your site, but it will also protect you from brandjacking and typosquatting, which involve people registering a closely related domain to deny it from you and steal traffic. This is usually done to sell your domain back to you at a grossly inflated price in the future, but in some cases, this can result in your customers being taken to fake websites where their personal information is stolen by cybercriminals.

Plus, premium .co.uk domains are typically much cheaper than their .com equivalents. This can make it easier for you to register multiple domains without breaking the bank.

2. .london domains

Housing over 800,000 businesses with origins across the globe, London is certainly something to shout about. A .london domain conveys the influence and connectivity of operating in a thriving capital. When you register a .london domain name you show that, as a UK business, you mean business.

With so many new businesses being created every single year, it can be hard to stand out from the crowd. By choosing a unique domain extension like .london, you can stick in people’s minds and establish a memorable brand identity. Plus, you’ll be especially memorable to Londoners, who’ll be more likely to support your business if you tap into a sense of London identity and pride.

3. .scot

A lot of businesses benefit from appealing to local audiences. As a Scottish business, a .scot domain name is the ultimate branding tool for showing that you're a reliable local business that Scottish customers can put their trust in.

Did you know that 71% of Scottish customers would prefer to buy from websites with a .scot domain? Not only is a .scot domain unique and eye-catching, but it’s also the perfect domain for Scottish businesses that want to make Scottish culture an integral part of their branding and appeal.

4. .wales

Similarly, a .wales domain provides reassurance to the locals that you are proud to be Welsh and are connected to your local culture. Whether you're a small UK business in Bangor or a large enterprise in Cardiff, a .wales domain nails it!

Plus, if you really want to fly the flag with a site written in Welsh, you can register a .cymru domain name.

Local SEO

Whether you’re using a traditional country code top-level domain (ccTLD) like .co.uk or a new geographical TLD (geoTLD) like .london, these location-specific domain extensions can do wonders for your website’s local SEO. This is because Google search results give more weight to UK-based domains if the searcher is based in the UK. 

By including relevant keywords and geographical terms in your domain name, you can increase your chances of getting highly relevant traffic from your target audience. This will boost your search rankings and your conversion rate thanks to the increase in traffic quantity and quality.

Finding out that you can’t have your first choice is a downer in any context. But, when it comes to registering a domain, as a UK business, you don’t need to see your other options as compromises.

Want to suss out your options? Use our domain name checker to find out what’s available to you. You can also find even more interesting reads on our blog, whether you'd like to learn the basics about what a domain name is, or you're looking for guidance on how to choose a domain name.