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How the internet works: Tips for registering a domain name

Last time on our How the Internet Works Series, Jon Dainton discussed the history of domain names, and how they work. With that in mind, here are a list of tips for registering new domain names.

tips for registering a domain name
  1. Choose your domain name extension – Select a domain name extension that suits the purpose of your website. If you will be selling products on your domain name then a .com or .co.uk may be useful. If you wish to trade internationally choose a gTLD, if you want to show that you are based in a particular county it may be worth registering a ccTLD. While if you have a club or an organization, it will be better to use .org or .org.uk extensions.
  2. Keep it short and make it memorable – Customers need to remember your domain name and will have to type it in. If you are registering a domain name for your company then you'll probably want to use your company name. Choose a domain name that is both easy to remember and quick to type. For example 'Southam-ladies-over-eighties-high-wire-and-trampolining-club.org.uk' is not quick to type while 'southamladiesclub.org.uk' is easy to remember and quicker to type.
  3. Linkability – This is closely related to keeping it short and memorable. At some point you will want other websites to create links to you. Links that are short, snappy and look nice are more likely to be added to websites. Look at your site, would you prefer 'southam-ladies-over-eightys-high-wire-and-trampolining-club.org.uk' or 'southamladiesclub.org.uk' at the foot of your page?
  4. If possible use a keyword – It can be helpful to your rankings if you can add a keyword into the domain name. In the previous example, we could imagine the website having the keywords, Southam, ladies, high wire, trampoline, trampolining, club, association, etc. The domain name 'southamladiesclub.org.uk' uses three of these keywords and so will be friendly to search engines.
  5. Check for double meanings, hyphens can help – Domain names are all lower case and you are not able to add spaces, so re-read your domain name and make sure there are no double meanings. If there are double meaning then consider the use of hyphens, but keep in mind that hyphens can be less memorable. Imagine how you would give your website address out to someone, imagine giving them the same address but with hyphens. For example, imagine 'choose-spain.co.uk' or 'teachers-talk.com' without the hyphens, and think where the confusion could lie.
  6. Look at related domain names to increase your internet presence – If you really want to make your presence felt on the internet consider registering multiple domain names with different domain extensions. In the above example, we may wish to choose southamladiesclub, southamladies and ladiesclubsoutham, all with the .org, .org.uk and .info extensions. This secures the brand and makes it easier for people to find the website. If we wanted to really protect our interests, we may wish to register more extensions to ensure that people find our site. 
  7. Ask your friends – Once you have chosen your domain name tell your friends and colleagues and look at their reactions. Do you have to explain your choice? Very often you will receive suggestions or feedback that can help you tailor your domain name.
  8. Check the spelling of your domain name – Now, this sounds straight-forward, but it's an important step that is too often forgotten. When a domain name is registered, it cannot be ‘unregistered’. Check that the domain name is spelt correctly before you finish the registration. That said, sometimes it's worth registering a few domain names that are spelt incorrectly, after all, if you made a mistake it is possible that other visitors looking for your site will make the same mistake too. And you can redirect the user from the typo domain to your real domain. 
  9. Watch for copyright infringement – Be careful of registering domains that infringe on existing trademarks, as this can get you into legal trouble with the trademark holder. If you're registering a domain name for your business then it's possible that you'll own the registered trademark to your business name, in which case you probably don't need to worry. 
  10. If your perfect domain name is taken – If you have chosen the perfect domain name that is ideal for you and find it has already been registered consider placing a bid for the domain name on the domain exchange marketplace SEDO. SEDO will contact the domain owner and negotiate a sale of the domain name on your behalf. Alternatively, consider adding ‘the’ or ‘my’ at the start of the domain name, for example 'thesouthamladiesclub.org.uk'. 

Whatever you choose as your perfect domain name, Fasthosts is currently running special offers on all the most popular extensions – from .co.uk to .blog to .xyz. Visit the Fasthosts website to register your perfect domain name.

James Norman's picture

James Norman

Content Editor James is a writer and content editor for Fasthosts. He contributes articles on upcoming trends in web hosting and technology to the Fasthosts blog.