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Top tips for registering a UK domain

1.            Choose your domain name quickly

.uk domain names are being registered at a rate of one every 20 seconds and allocated on a first-registered, first-served basis, so a delay in decision making could mean someone else gets there first.

2.            Choose a name that suits your business

You should choose your domain name so that it best represents your company’s interests.  Bear in mind the brand, what you offer, your unique selling point and the implications of being alphabetically listed.

Think about domain names that solve a problem or names that describe the products or services your company provides e.g. ‘marketing solutions’.  Either way, your name will help drive targeted traffic to your web site if you take this approach.

3.            Be flexible and creative in your choice of domain names

There are approximately 120-130 million domain names registered worldwide.  It may be useful to think about a few alternatives in case the name you ideally want is already registered.  Consider using hyphens and acronyms.

4.            Decide which Top Level Domain (TLD) to use

Companies based in the UK usually register a domain name ending in .co.uk, and recent independent research suggests that British Internet users are six times more likely to choose a .uk rather than a .com address when looking for information via an Internet search engine.  72% of respondents also said they would visit a British web site above any other.

There are however a number of other alternatives including .com or other Second Level Domains such as .org.uk (or non-commercial organisations), .me.uk (for individuals), .ltd.uk and .plc.uk (for Ltd and Plc companies) and .com, .info and others for generic usage. 

5.            Register your domain name in other suffixes

It’s not a bad idea to register several similar domain names.  If you have ‘yourname.co.uk’ you could register ‘yourname.org.uk’ so no-one else can come in at a later stage and capitalise on your brand name using another major domain name type.  You could also register your full company name and a shorter, easier to remember version.

6.            Check whether your chosen name has already been registered

Use the WHOIS search facility on the Nominet home page – www.nominet.org.uk to check the availability of all .uk domain names.

7.            If it has been registered, you could check if it is for sale

If your first choice domain name is unavailable the cheapest solution is to choose something else.  However, if you have your heart set on a particular name, you could try buying it from the current registrant.  There’s no guarantee you will be able to acquire the domain, and even if the current registrant is willing to sell, it could cost you anywhere from a few hundred to many thousands of pounds.

8.            Make sure the web address is registered in your name

This will make it easier to transfer a domain name, even if your registrar subsequently goes into liquidation.  Pay particular attention to your rights to move your business and your domain name to another registrar, and whether there is a charge for doing so before you sign the contract.  Use the WHOIS service to check the name has been registered in your name. 

9.            Make a diary note of the renewal date for your domain name

All .uk domain name registrations are valid for two years from the date of registration; others may vary so check your domain name certificate.  Your registrar will normally contact you before the expiry date to ask if you wish to renew it for another two year period. 

For .uk domain names, we will also contact you before cancelling the registration.  Be aware that ‘Notices of Expiration’ demanding payment from sources other than your agent or Nominet may be a scam, so check correspondence carefully and contact your existing agent or us if you have any concerns.

10.         Tell your registrar if your contact details change

Your details must be correct for the domain name registration to remain valid and your registrar will not necessarily prompt you.  You can change any of your contact details using our Online Service.  Log on with your account information and update the relevant details – it’s as simple as that!