If you’re planning on starting a new online business, you’ll need to build a website, and a buy a domain name. We’ve previously talked about what you should consider when choosing your domain name, such as using location-specific extensions like a .wales domain name to define your brand.

But if you want to make sure you protect your business’s online identity, you’ll have to think about what other domains to get hold of. Due to the number of domains and extensions available, one domain name isn’t always enough.

How to protect your domain name

As your brand, and your site, grows, so does the amount of threats that your domain faces. But how can you protect your domain from ill intent?

Luckily, we are experts in securing domain names, so let us run through a few of our tips.

1. Getting started

The first thing you’ll need to do is think of a business name – you might already have one in mind. It could be related to the product or business type, but many new companies, especially those based on the web, instead go for a more ‘random’ name. These include misspellings of existing words, or completely new words altogether. Sites such as Namelix let you generate lots of options for business names from a few keywords.

One advantage of making up a new, unique word, rather than using existing ones, is that your desired domain names are less likely to be taken. However, either way, you’ll need to check all of your favourite ideas. If you have your heart set on the popular .com domain extension, you might be surprised at how difficult it is to find an available domain name. With our domain availability checker you can instantly find out if your desired domain is available, and if it’s not, you’ll be given a list of alternatives.

2. Buying extra extensions

Once you’ve purchased your primary domain name, and its accompanying extension – whether it’s .com, .uk or .blog – you’ll be able to get started in setting up a website and personalised email. It’s also worth buying alternative domain extensions relevant to your industry, even if you don’t intend to use them, and redirecting them to your primary domain. For example, a coffee shop might get a domain like thecoffeeshop(dot)com, but could also take the domain coffeeshop.cafe. Registering multiple domain extensions, or TLDs, is very beneficial, and you can even target users in specific geographical locations with ccTLDs.

While this might seem like a substantial amount of money considering you’ve barely even started, the goal is to protect your business from issues in the future. In fact, our resident domains expert here at Fasthosts told us how surprised she is that businesses aren’t investing in multiple domain extensions in order to protect their brand.

3. Why you should buy domain misspellings

Purchasing your chosen name, and extra extensions, is only half the battle when it comes to securing your domain. It’s also important to register misspellings or various versions of your domain name. Leaving key, relevant domains open gives both competitors and domain squatters a chance to take advantage of your brand, which can cost you more money in the future. Legal fees in trademark battles can greatly outweigh the yearly cost of securing all your relevant domains.

Domain squatters or typosquatters are a threat all domain owners should watch out for. They buy common misspellings of established businesses, such as Gooogle(dot).com, and may set up fraudulent websites aimed at catching the people who accidentally enter the intended URL incorrectly. These sites are often phishing websites, which present a convincing recreation of the actual site to trick users into entering their personal details. More bold squatters will simply set up websites which forcibly download malware to the user’s computer.

Because of this, you might also want to consider purchasing common misspellings of your brand name. While this isn’t so much of a problem for smaller businesses, it’s something worth considering as you grow. Again, what seems like an unnecessary purchase now could save far more hassle and costs down the line.

How domain squatting can harm your brand

A well-known example of a domain squatting incident was in April 2020, when The Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced their new charitable organisation, the Archewell Foundation.

However, shortly after the announcement, users flocked to the URL archewellfoundation(dot)com, only to find that Meghan and Harry hadn’t bought the domain – but someone else had. The person who bought it had set it to redirect to a YouTube video of Kanye West’s Gold Digger. This, of course, led to media uproar and didn’t reflect well on the foundation or its founders.

All-in-all though, this domain-squatting attempt was quite harmless – the squatter could have directed visitors to a site which automatically downloaded malware onto their computer, or to a site with inappropriate content. This could have been catastrophic for their brand, but they were fortunate that the squatter was only intending to play a prank.

This is why buying a domain should be one of the first things you do for your business – even if you don’t operate online, securing your brand name means that if you did ever want to get online, you’ve kept your options open.

Secure your domain name to protect brand reputation

Forgetting to register multiple domain names, whether that’s a typo of your domain name or extra extensions, can harm your brand’s reputation. If a customer goes to search for your website, and misspells your domain, they could end up somewhere completely different, and maybe even on a fraudulent page that could damage your reputation. No brand wants to be linked to scam websites, so it’s key to get all of those domains registered. Using multiple TLDs is also great for your brand as it makes it even easier for customers to find you. Not to mention it makes your site look more professional.

Covering all of the bases is the best way to direct customers to the correct domain and to prevent any loss of revenue or reputation you might face if they end up on the wrong website.

We’re not saying you should buy all of your domain extensions and every possible typo, as that would be unnecessary. If you’re worried about costs, we've got a range of cheap domain names for you to take advantage of. Take a look at our website to use our domain checker, and find out more about our deals.

Looking for any other products or services? Maybe you’re in need of a web hosting package, or a VPS for your new domain. In that case, have a chat with our sales team today to see what else we have to offer you.