Website Design – Choosing A Domain

A domain name for your website is the first step in the process of building your website. A domain name is not a website just the name of it.  Often people new to websites thing that the domain name is also the hosting (where the website is stored).  For a new website you need to get both a domain name and website hosting

Here are some tips to help you in the process.

Selecting A Domain Name

In the first case the domain name that you wish to choose may not be available.  This is understandable as there are of course hundreds of thousands of website out there already and the most popular ones may be gone.  To check that your desired name is available go to any hosting company (I tend to use Blacknight) and they have a search engine that allows you put in a name to see if the one you want is registered.

Registered means that someone else has paid for it and owns it and in most cases have a website on it.  Often you may even see that there isn’t a website on it or that they are trying to sell it.

MAny popular domain names can sell for thousands of euro as there are companies who specialise in selling high priced domains.  My advice of course is to avoid this and pick the one that suits you best. Here are some simple tips to help you choose a domain.

  • Keep it short
    • Pick one that isn’t too long as people won’t be able to type it if it is a meandering title. Of course more and more people just google businesses but making it short and easy to type is still important.
  • Avoid Dashes:  Avoid dashes in the website name john-the-pluber.com for instance.  In the first case it is hard to type and dashes don’t  inspire trust and are not great for search engines.
  • Brand: If you already have a business in place then try and stay as close to the business name as possible. Many people will search for your business name online (called branded search)  so trying a new name won’t help you get visits .
  • Make sure that you can say it easily so for instance if you meet someone you don’t  get tongue tied spelling it or saying it

Should I Choose a .com or another extension?

Short and sweet where possible choose a .com or for country specifics .ie and .co.uk for instance.  Ignore .org .co and others if at all possible as people tend to trust them less.

If possible get the ,.com AND the country one if people do type in the country specific one they get redirected to the .com

If you really want a domain and only the country specific one is available then go for it but be prepared for some confusion.

Where Can I Buy a Domain?

There are countless places to buy domains and the prices vary very little.  Our only tip is to avoid GoDaddy.  just do they are awful.  Other than that Blacknight here in Ireland are very good price wise and have great support.  You can buy the full range of extensions from them and search by keyword for your desired name.

Note you need to renew your domain every year.  All too often people ignore reminders and lose their website.

Most domain registrars allow you pay for a domain name for multiple years often for as many as 10 years..  This is a good idea and removes the risk of forgetting about the website.

Multiple Domains

If you do have a website name or domain name that isn’t taken for a range or extensions then it can be a good idea to buy the other extensions like .ie, ,co.uk and com at least so that somebody doesn’t buy it when your brand possibly becomes more popular.  It is a small cost to secure your brand name from being used.

I worked with a large Irish brand a few years back who lost their .com extension in the early years of the internet and it cost them tens of thousands of euro to get it back years later.

Domain Name Pricing