Registering domains to protect your brand can be complicated. If you are one of the many thousands each year who set out to register a new domain for their new business or website idea, then you might have felt similar domain woes: finding the perfect .com domain can be frustrating and expensive.
If you already own a domain name and have a branded website parked on it, odds are your domain name, as well as your brand, are very important to you. Whether you host an ecommerce store, blog, or forum, websites are a lot of work, and can also be expensive.
The amount of time, energy, and capital invested in your website is significant and worth protecting. You may be wondering if it is worth registering additional, if not all, variations of your domain name to ensure domain and brand protection. Read on to learn more about how much you should invest in alternative versions of your domain name.
Why register additional variations of your domains?
There are several reasons why domain name owners are interested in registering variations of their web addresses, including:
Registering domains that others could use for malicious purposes can save your brand reputational damage.
For domains that are easily misspelled or mistyped, registering domains similar to your domain could hold an advantage.
If you are lucky enough to own the .com and .co.uk versions of your domains, it may be worth investing in the .uk or other gTLDs like .guru, .info, or .site.
Before you register…
Prior to organising, researching, and spending additional capital to register variations of your domain name, spare a moment to gauge the interest in your brand, and take a few moments to prioritise the domains you are most interested in. The questions below can help you prepare for your new registrations:
Are the domains available?
Before you complete your domain shopping list, it’s important to make sure that the domains you would like to register are available. You can easily search for available domains using the UK2 domain search tool.
What’s your budget for your new domains?
Once you confirm that your required domains are available, make sure you run a quick price check. How much are the domains per year? Can you save money by registering the domains for a longer period of time? Will the price of the domains change after an introductory period? Once you have assessed the cost, it is important to compare that amount to what you intend to spend.
How long do you want to register each domain for?
Since registrations range from one to ten years, it’s important to choose your registration period wisely. While it may cost more upfront, you can usually save money over time with a longer registration period. It will also save you the hassle of remembering to register your domain, and potentially allowing it to lapse, or worse losing the domain to the highest bidder.
Do you feel that domains similar to your existing brand are at risk?
If you feel like your domain is at risk of domain squatting, make sure you register as many domains as you feel comfortable. While it is unfortunate, there are many malicious individuals around the globe who are looking for successful websites to try to extort or copy for financial gain. But, what if the domain you want to register is already taken?
The Best Domains as Alternatives To .com
Having celebrated its 35 year anniversary recently .com is the giant of the domain name world. As the most widely used domain name across the globe, most businesses don’t think twice when registering their very own .com to use for their website. However, following the release of thousands of new top-level domains (TLDs) it has become a more popular practice for businesses to register an array of domain names which are relevant to their business plan.
These could be geographical domain names – which appeal to a local audience. Or domain names – which represent your product or services (think .pizza for your local takeaway).
It has long been decided that .com domains are the king of web addresses, with .co.uk and .uk domains close behind. However, domains are a limited resource with a finite number of letter combinations available, especially when you consider that there are currently over 1 billion websites online.
Generic Top-Level Domains
Luckily, the eventual shortage of .com domains has led to a variety of web address endings, called gTLDs. These domains exist as helpful and legitimate alternatives to the .com you may not be able to claim. So, let’s take a look at the gTLDs you should consider if the .com you wanted is unavailable.
Note: You also have the option to make slight changes to the .com domain you were hoping to register. Our easy-to-use search tool helps you find similar domains that might meet your requirements. Start searching at UK2.NET.
Best alternatives to .com domains:
As the go-to domain for websites based in the United Kingdom, this second-level domain has served the UK well.
Next to .co.uk, the .uk TLD is quickly becoming a British favourite with more than 12 million .uk domains currently registered.
With almost 1.3 million .online domains currently registered, this gTLD is on its way to mainstream success as an excellent generic alternative to .com.
The .co domain extension is everything you are looking for in a domain but with one-third less bulk than .com domains. Consider the .co TLD the diet .com version.
If you are looking for a domain that is more specific than .uk but also identifies your UK location, then a .london domain is exactly what you are looking for. Also, you may want to consider registering both the .uk and .london domain to protect your UK brand.
As an ecommerce favourite, the .store domain extension is perfect for anyone operating an online store. It also works great for a brick and mortar location with an accompanying online retail portal. With 265,000 .store domains registered, you are bound to find the perfect .store domain.
The .website domain ending is almost as generic as the .com TLD, however, there are many more domain options available. Currently, there are only a little over 300,000 .website domains registered. This means that the odds of your domain being taken are very low.
Don’t forget about additional geographic options like .wales or .scot as well as industry-specific options like .photography or .design. From .tech to .company, you are bound to find the perfect domain name for your website, business, or blog. Thanks to ICANN (The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) the options for domain names are endless…
Brand Protection: Domain Name Registration
As there are so many domain names on the market it has become vital for businesses to register a range of web addresses so as to protect their brand’s online presence. A lot of time and effort goes into the creation of your brand and the development of your brand DNA. So, you should make every effort to protect its online image.
By neglecting to register the relevant domain names you put yourself at risk of:
- A direct competitor registering domain names with your brand name and redirecting them to their site. This is done to poach potential customers who misspell your web address or simply use the wrong domain name.
- Competitors or unhappy customers registering a domain name containing the name of your brand to use as a platform for deterring future customers. The upcoming .sucks domain name is to be released to allow brands to provide a platform for criticism which they can monitor and respond to. However, if you leave yourbrand.sucks on the market you could find yourself on the wrong end of internet troll abuse.
- Missing out on a market share within your local community by registering a geographical domain name. We find that .london is a popular choice!
- Missing out on the chance to show off your expertise to the world. Using our earlier example, a pizza company without a .pizza domain could be missing out on a large slice (get it?) of the pizza-loving online audience. Using an industry-specific domain name can shorten your web address and make it more memorable.
Get in touch with us to explore which domain name could be perfect for your business. Search for your perfect domain today on our domains store.