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One of the first things you’ll be asked by any web development company is “what’s the domain name”? If you already have one, then the answer is easy enough. If you’re starting a new project however, it’s worth putting some serious thought in before committing.

Here’s a quick checklist to go down when choosing:

  • Common Sense – Make sure it’s easy to remember, not too long and also doesn’t spell something rude when the words are butted up against each other (trust me we’ve seen it before). You have to remember people will type the domain in and you will have to give it to people over the phone. If it includes lots of dashes and letters this could become a nightmare.
  • Capitals – These make no difference when it comes it to domain names but can help when with readability writing a domain name down on a business card for example e.g. EngineRoomWeb.co.uk is much easier to scan read than engineroomweb.co.uk.
  • Punctuation – Domain names can be formed from the set of alphanumeric ASCII characters (a-z, A-Z, 0-9). In addition hyphens are permitted if they are surrounded by characters, digits or more hyphens, although you are not able to start or end a domain with one.
  • Top Level Domain (TLD) – This is the .com, .co.uk, .org etc… bit of the domain. There are loads of options for these flying about at the moment with the recent move to allow people to create custom TLD’s. If you are a UK based business it’s always a safe bet to go with .co.uk. You have also got the option of grabbing one or more alternative TLDs and pointing them towards your site so bear this in mind. Click here to view a Wikipedia article showing all available TLDs.
  • Price – Different TLDs cost different amounts so before you become deadset on a domain, it’s worth double checking the price as you will need to pay this every 1-2 years (dependant on the TLD).
  • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – Google and other search engines will take the domain name into account when ranking you in the search results. So having the name of your company in the domain and possibly what your company does wouldn’t be a bad idea. This is bearing in mind the common sense note above! No one wants to sit and type in JosephBloggs-WidgetCompanyWorldwideLimited.co.uk to get to your site.
  • Email Addresses – again related to the common sense rule, it is worth noting that your email addresses will (and should in my opinion) include your domain name at the end. Again, you don’t want people to have to type out an essay simply to send you an email. This is where an additional domain name might be good to look into as it is possible set your emails to come to both domains. For example, emails will come to you if people send it to [email protected] or [email protected]. Something worth considering at least.
  • Is it Available? – This is obviously one of the most important points to consider as if someone has already registered the domain name then it will be a non starter. You can check whether the domain is available using our handy tool here: http://whois.engineroomweb.co.uk/. There is always the chance that even if the domain is registered the person who registered it might not want it and may be open to selling it. If there isn’t a site on the domain when you visit it then this is even more likely. You can sometimes find the contact details in the WHOIS data which is available from our tool above. If you need help with this then just get in touch with us and we can guide you to the right place.

Choosing a domain name can be tricky but by taking into account the above points you should be on the right track for the first step in getting yourself onto the web! 🙂