.co.uk or .com? (or .eu, .org.uk, .WTF, .OMG!!!……..)

Domain ExtentionsWelcome to the minefield that is domain extensions!  To carry on from my last post, when choosing a business name it is also important to consider the following two factors:

  1. Is the name already in use?
  2. Is the domain available?

The easiest way to do this if you are starting as a Limited business or as a Sole Trader is to check with Companies House. A quick search will tell you if you are able to register your chosen name.

Officially you can pretty much call yourself what you like as long as you follow the simple rules provided by Companies House. A lot of people go for their own name which makes accounting simple and can often mean that you don’t have the hassle of deciding on your business name. It can also mean that your domain name (website address, url or whatever you like to call it) is usually available. For example, if my name was ‘Penelope Purple’ then the chances are that http://www.penelopepurple.co.uk would be available to buy. (For reference, I have just checked and if your name is Penelope Purple, then you are in luck!).

But how do you decide what extension to go for? There are so many options. In the beginning of the internet, back in the dark ages, you only really had two choices. .co.uk or .com. Simple. But now you can literally choose from hundreds. The reason is that the internet is getting full up! To explain this in another really simplistic way, imagine there are lots of John Smith’s out there. Well John Smith from Hong Kong bought johnsmith.com back in 1997, probably just to sit on the domain and wait until someone wanted the domain so much that they now have to pay him lots of money for it. This is called Domain Squatting and is very naughty! Now poor Mr John Smith from Hampshire set up his business selling books to students and purchased the domain john smith.co.uk. (Bear with me!…)

So what happens every time someone types in johnsmith.com accidentally like so many of us do automatically? The poor student who was looking to buy a book ends up staring at Mr Hong Kong John’s website instead.

How about when you search for John Smith on google. Go on, give it a try. Hey presto, johnsmith.co.uk should be the website that comes top of the list. Yay! So what is it I am trying to say?

It doesn’t really matter too much what your domain extension is, as long as you make sure that Google likes your website. In other words it has to be well designed to the latest standards, well written, up to date and most importantly, relevant! That is all part of what is known as Search Marketing (SEO, Search Engine Optimisation) which we will discuss in lots more detail as Purple Social grows, but for now, try not to be too daunted by it. One step at a time.

I have purchased purplesocial.co.uk and am leaving it at that for now. The .com is already in use (possibly being squatted on as so many domains seem to be these days), but i’m not too worried. If people type in purplesocial.com by mistake, I am confident that most of them will realise their error. And I am also confident that I can get my website to the top of Google for the search phrase Purple Social by using some good practise methods and building a great website.

At the moment my website does not show up anywhere in the Google listings as I only purchased the domain last month and I only put a website on the domain a few days ago. If everything goes to plan I estimate that my site will be number one for the search term Purple Social within a few months.

I will keep you posted. In the meantime, please help me out and like my Facebook page and if you have a website or blog, link to my site from it. Google loves nice links! Look out for more good practise tips for getting your site seen by Google in future blog posts.

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