A well-chosen domain name can be very beneficial to a business or individual. It’s capable of conveying a website’s purpose, from self-titled company ecommerce sites to enthusiasts or blogger platforms covering specific topics or markets. Domain names convey additional information, too: the country of origin, the level of site security on offer, and even terms which will appeal to search engines as they calculate the homepage’s SEO ranking.
Registering domains can be a stressful experience, not to mention intimidating. For the last twenty years, UK2.NET has been helping clients find and register the domains they need to make their website a success. We’ve created this guide to help you feel confident before you finish the domain checkout process and begin building your website.
To get started, sometimes knowing the right way to do something can come from knowing the wrong way. Below find five things to avoid when choosing a domain name to get started on your way to domain success.
What to avoid when choosing a domain name:
1. Avoid picking an obscure TLD.
Although search engines don’t discriminate against less popular generic top-level domains (gTLDs), they do markdown sites whose gTLDs are commonly associated with low-quality domains. Examples of this include .gq and .club. At UK2.NET, we only sell respectable gTLDs – if it’s not on our directory of available domains, there’s likely to be a good reason for its absence.
2. Don’t buy a proposed domain without asking friends to review it.
There’s a legendary story about Susan Boyle’s record company registering a domain name for a new album launch party. The chosen URL was www.susanalbumparty.com. Two very different messages are spelled out, depending on how you read the first few letters. Always get a second opinion when choosing a domain name.
3. Don’t try to mimic competitors.
It might seem like a clever approach to register an ecommerce company called Azamon or Amazoon, but plagiarism is viewed dimly by search engines. Traffic reaching your site will probably depart as soon as the deception is discovered, and high bounce rates from a landing page also damage a website’s SEO performance by suggesting the content is low-quality or irrelevant.
4. Don’t choose a foreign country code TLD.
Nation-specific ccTLDs are designed to identify a site’s country of origin. Search engines elevate domestic top-level domains in their results while downgrading foreign ones as less pertinent. For this reason, it’s inadvisable to try and spell a word or phrase out with a ccTLD as the final letters, like www.gotitma.de. If your business is multinational, use a .com domain.
5. Avoid pigeonholing a brand or business.
Companies often evolve far beyond their original remits, as new opportunities open or as they become niche specialists. Choosing a domain name which is overly specific could cause problems, such as a removals company registering studenthousemoves.com, only to find that most of their business ends up coming from families and downsizers.
Finally, it’s worth noting that a five-year moratorium on the .uk domain suffix ended in late June 2019. Until then, companies with a co.uk web address had exclusive rights to acquire the matching .uk domain as well. However, this is no longer the case. After June 25th, .uk addresses went onto the open market. A competitor can now buy the .uk version of a .co.uk for the purposes of promoting their rival products or besmirching your own site, as could a disgruntled customer or a vengeful former partner.
Having two separate websites is both confusing and counterproductive in terms of SEO. We recommend reserving the .uk counterpart to any co.uk website. Having secured it, install a permanent redirect on the .uk site’s homepage so any visitors are swiftly redirected to the correct website…
Which brings us to our next point. As you search domains, you may wonder what the real difference between co.uk and .uk domains are as well as which will better serve your purposes. Learn more below…
What’s the difference between .co.uk and .uk domain names?
When the World Wide Web debuted in 1991, developers had anticipated limited demand for website domains. Alongside the ubiquitous .com and .org suffixes, country code top-level domains (or ccTLDs) were released for nations and principalities from the Ascension Islands to Zimbabwe. Every nation had a ccTLD to identify domestic businesses, enabling citizens to establish their origins through their web addresses and email accounts.
Nobody could have predicted the meteoric growth of internet traffic or the subsequent boom in website registrations. Following a protracted free-for-all, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) was established in 1998 to regulate the supply of domain names. Creating new top-level domains has been a key focus ever since then, reducing demand for the limited number of global and country-code TLDs initially released.
Today there are over 1,500 TLDs to choose from. The co.uk address is one of fifteen third-level domains allocated to the United Kingdom, alongside ac.uk (for academic institutions) and org.uk (for non-profit organisations). However, the company-oriented suffix rapidly became our dominant ccTLD. Its widespread adoption eventually inspired the launch of the .uk namespace in 2014, to alleviate the growing demand for co.uk sites.
A handful of public websites were able to use the second level .uk TLD prior to its public release, such as parliament.uk and nhs.uk. Its universal release nonetheless represented a fairly significant change in the UK’s domain name system.
However, there’s more than one difference between co.uk and .uk addresses, as outlined below:
One clear difference between co.uk and .uk domains involves the latter’s superior availability since it’s only been with us for a fraction of the former’s 26-year lifespan. New businesses often have trouble finding a suitable co.uk domain to register, unless their company name is highly unusual. There are unlikely to be availability issues with .uk suffixes unless your firm has a generic title like Astra or Acme.
As we mentioned above, although search engine algorithms don’t discriminate against newer TLDs, they do factor in traffic volumes. People are naturally wary about entering an unusual address into their browser, particularly a ccTLD they’re not familiar with. A key difference between co.uk and .uk domains involves a greater willingness among consumers to visit the former. Since lower traffic volumes reduce a site’s overall SEO performance, that’s worth considering.
Because we’ve had a quarter of a century to familiarise ourselves with co.uk addresses, they trip off the tongue with no ambiguity. A .uk suffix, on the other hand, could cause confusion. People might enter the co. part out of habit, leading them onto a completely different website. It’s always important to choose a website address that can easily be dictated down the phone, yet the difference between co.uk and .uk isn’t always evident straight away.
At the moment, a private company can differentiate itself from a charitable organisation or an academic establishment by using a third-level domain. There’s no scope to do this with a simple .uk suffix. That’s fine for brands with highly unusual titles, but potentially troublesome if different institutions with the same name ended up competing for the same domain. There is greater potential for confusion and accidental site visits with a .uk suffix.
Many overseas countries avoid third-level domains like our .org.uk or .sch.uk, preferring two-letter ccTLDs. Choosing a second-level .uk web address brings British organisations and companies into line with foreign audiences. India has gradually transitioned from co.in to the simpler .in, and industry observers predict the UK might follow suit once the .uk suffix is derestricted in 2019.
Given the potential confusion between co.uk and .uk domains outlined above, why not acquire both? Anyone who’s already registered a co.uk site has until 2019 to claim the .uk counterpart before it goes on public sale. Owning both will ensure people are safely delivered to the canonical URL identified as the main destination page with a redirect or a homepage link.
Now that you know that there is a huge benefit for registering both co.uk and .uk domain names, we can move onto our next topic. Let’s create a hypothetical situation where you find that either one or both domain names that you are interested in are already registered by another individual or organisation, what can you do about it? Let’s investigate below…
How to find out who owns a domain that you want:
Far too many website owners have experienced this frustrating experience: You’ve thought of a brilliant small business; you meticulously planned out the business details; you chose the perfect domain; and without notice, your plans fall flat because when you tried to register the domain, you find that the domain name has already been purchased by someone else.
Even worse, the domain is parked and not even being used. All your website dreams are instantly blown away into the breeze.
If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. In this post, we will walk you through the steps of finding out who owns the domain you want. Even better, we will help you prepare to discuss the transaction should you decide to approach the owner.
The WHOIS Lookup tool is a database with every domain name and basic registrant information. It includes information like name, phone number, and the date the domain was acquired. You can usually find the information you need by visiting whois.net.
Once you have set your browser to the WHOIS lookup, you can enter the domain you are trying to locate. Click the search button and you will have access to the following information. Below you will find the information you will see as well as descriptions of what the information means:
Domain Name: Most likely the name you just searched or the host domain if a subdomain was searched.
Registry Domain ID: An identification string that defines the administrative autonomy authority.
Registrar WHOIS Server: Names the registrar accredited by ICANN or where the domain originated and the server where the domain is served.
Registrar URL: The domain name for the accredited registrar.
Updated Date: The most recent registration renewal date.
Creation Date: The date the domain was first registered.
Registry Expiry Date: When the domain is set to expire if not renewed prior to the date listed.
Registrar: The ICANN accredited registrar.
IANA ID: The identifying number for the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA).
Abuse Contact Email: The email to contact if the domain is engaged in abusive activities.
Abuse Contact Phone: The phone number to contact if the domain is engaged in abusive activities.
Domain Status: The current status of the domain which describes whether the domain can be transferred.
Nameserver(s): Defines the nameserver(s) currently employed by the domain.
DNSSEC: Describes whether the domain has been assigned DNS Security (DNSSEC).
ICANN Information: Basic information for contacting ICANN about the domain name.
Contacting the domain owner
From the information found above, you should be able to determine who owns the domain and some basic information about them. The abuse contact information should get you in contact with either the owner or someone nearby. However, it is important to determine when the domain is up for renewal, whether the domain can be transferred.
Note, if the domain is for sale, the domain information will reveal it. Rather than cryptic or hidden information, there will be clear information for the contact. If you choose to contact the domain owner, an email is most likely the best method. Take note that top-level domains purchased from resellers tend to be pricier than from domain hosts. Your level of interest will most likely determine the price you are willing to pay. Good luck and happy domain hunting!
Ask for domain help
Be sure to contact UK2.NET should you have any questions about the domain registration and transferring process. Our expert technical support staff is available around the clock to help you guarantee the domain name that you need. Once your domain is secured, you can move onto the next section of our domain guide where we answer the question: what comes next?
I registered a domain, now what?
Congratulations! You’ve just purchased a domain, meaning you now have an address for your website. The only problem is, where do you go from here? You know you need to create a website. However, it sometimes seems that the more you research building a website, the more confused you become.
In this section, we will cover your options for building a website, as well as feature some helpful platforms that can get you online in minutes. Note that for the purposes of this article, we will assume that you are planning to build a website yourself, without an expensive development team.
Options for creating your new website
After purchasing a domain from UK2.NET, you have a few options for creating a website. Each option requires very little technical experience and is a lot cheaper than hiring a website designer. See our three favourite options below:
Perfect for brick-and-mortar retailers and restaurants, or for users who prefer a single-page website.
You may not be looking to set up a website with lots of pages. Instead, you may only need a single web page for others to search out information about you, for example, if you own a retail shop or if you would like to publish your CV online. StarterSite website is the perfect way to accomplish this goal. Even better, the StarterSite tool comes free with each domain registered with UK2.NET.
StarterSite can help you create a web page in minutes. Simply choose a few images, enter the necessary contact information, link to your social media accounts, and press Publish. Your business or personal contact information can be online and ready for views in no time at all. Learn more about StarterSite on the UK2.NET website by clicking here.
Perfect for visual websites and ecommerce shops.
Our Website Builder software tool is perfect for online beginners as well as for those who do not wish to invest a lot of time on their website. Simply choose your favourite look from the 100+ options available, then drag and drop your website elements into place. If you are looking to build an online shop, you can quickly add a shopping cart feature.
Website Builder’s dynamic functionality lets you control the appearance of your website. Whether you favour a clean, simple look or if you are looking to add multiple image galleries, Website Builder can quickly help you get your vision uploaded online. Learn more about the Website Builder tool on our website by clicking here.
Perfect for anyone and everyone.
The WordPress platform is easily one of the most popular methods for getting your website online. Estimates claim that more than 75 million websites are currently using WordPress. From blogs to ecommerce stores and news sites to video repositories, WordPress has it covered.
You may be wondering what makes WordPress Hosting packages so great. A significant aspect of the platform’s greatness comes from its open-source nature. WordPress code has always been available to developers. So, from this original code has sprung thousands of helpful tools, called widgets, and beautiful themes to help make your website a success.
UK2.NET for domain success!
To learn more about the power of WordPress Hosting visit our website. Now that you are considered a domain expert, all that’s left to do is register your own domain names and start building your digital presence. Remember that our expert tech support team is available 24 hours a day to help get you on your way. For a limited time, save 10% on shared hosting to make your web hosting experience just a bit more rewarding. Partner with UK2.NET today!