How to choose the right .uk domain suffix for your business
There are a variety of domains you could select for your business, so how do you pick the right one for you?
If you are looking to set up a website for your business for the first time, chances are you have agonised over the appropriate web address.
Pick the right option and you send out a clear message to visitors of what kind of company you are and even what sector you are in – get it wrong and you can end up confusing potential customers, or worse still, putting them off entirely.
Brought to you in association with .co.uk, the UK’s number one domain for British business, we reveal how to select the best .uk domain suffix for your needs.
Addresses ending in .uk are the preferred option for many UK businesses, but there are a number of different forms of this suffix, such as .co.uk or .plc.uk: these are known as second level domains (SLD).
All of these domains are looked after by Nominet, the registry for all domains ending .uk, and home to the .co.uk team, but what is the difference between them all?
We’ve outlined the benefits of the three most popular .uk domains, with details of what they’re used for and how much they might cost to help ensure you make the right choice when registering a web address.
Each of these domains can be easily registered and purchased through most approved registrars in the UK – you can find a full list here. Registration for these domains is fully automated and you don’t need any special credentials, but they are available on a first come, first served basis, so before you try to register your domain, try using the handy WHOIS service to see if the name you want has already been taken.
As well as a tool to check domain availability, the WHOIS service provides full contact details for businesses that have registered a .uk domain. If you are an individual registering a domain for personal use, you can opt out of this service.
However, if you’re a business you will be required to submit this information, and display it on your website. If you’re just starting up a business or working from home, remember that you can use your registered business address if you are concerned about your personal contact details being online.
The most common second-level domain in the UK, .co.uk is a good all-purpose option for most businesses as it is intended for general commercial use across all sectors. Research conducted in 2012 by blue-chip marketing firm Insight Engineers found that four out of five UK shoppers preferred to look for a .co.uk domain when searching online, so this domain is a safe option to help signpost your status as a trustworthy British company – whatever your industry.
Sweetie Pie Sweets and Tregothnan are examples of UK companies that said purchasing a .co.uk address had the effect of boosting their business. It is also offered by many registrars as a very affordable option; and you can get a .co.uk address for as little as £3.
This non-commercial domain is most commonly used by charities, non-profit organisations of public services and community groups such as the National Trust, Oxfam or the Citizen’s Advice Bureau to denote their status, although anyone can register one.
However, a .org.uk address is advisable if you plan to set up a charity or non-profit enterprise, otherwise you run the risk of undermining your credentials and confusing visitors if you use a commercial suffix. Some registrars offer .org.uk for around just £4 per year, so shop around to find the best price.
Another open standard, this domain was created by Nominet Trust for personal websites or blogs such as dan.me.uk – named registrants should be a real person as opposed to a company or enterprise, so it is generally less suitable as a general-purpose business suffix.
However, some companies use it as a way of creating a memorable play on words in their web address, such as children’s educational website show.me.uk. Again, you can expect to pay around £4 a year for a .me.uk suffix.
What if I just want to register mybusinessname.uk?
The domain name industry is evolving, and more and more domains are becoming available, including the top level domain .uk – without .co or any of the suffixes for the very first time!
Expected to launch in July 2014, .uk is a shorter, sharper choice for business and is an important new addition to the .uk portfolio.