What are they?

A domain name is the internet address users type in to find your company or organisation’s website – for example, granite5.com or cambridgeshirechamber.co.uk

Choosing a name

You can use your existing company name or choose a name that reflects or describes what your organisation does in terms of products and services. The latter option might include keywords – the words or phrases users type into search engines to find relevant websites.

Which ever route you chose, keep your domain name short, simple and memorable. Be individual and creative. But don’t make it too long as it may get forgotten/misspelt when typed into a user’s browser.

Dot.com, dot.co.uk or dot.org?

Many types of domain names are now available but for small businesses, the key ones are .com and .co.uk. All domain names end in a "top level domain" – the letters after the final dot. These include:
  • .com for commercial businesses and organisations
  • .co.uk if your market/target audience is primarily in the UK
  • .org for charities and not for profit organisations
  • .biz short for business
  • .net short for network
  • .plc.uk for UK public limited companies
  • .info for information sites

  • Country code top-level domains such as .uk for the UK, .us for the United States, or .fr for France are the ones to go for if your target audience is country based.
    Granite 5 recommends registering the same domain name with .com and .co.uk to help visitors find your site and to protect your brand/business identity.

    Is it available?

    With tens of millions of names now registered worldwide, check your chosen domain name is not already in use or trademarked by someone else. In the UK, all .uk domain names are kept on a register held by Nominet. You can also visit www.who.is for a global search on domain names and their owners.

    Registering your domain name

    There are hundreds of companies offering domain name registration. To find out if your chosen name is available, choose a reputable domain name registrar. These allow you to search online for free.

    Our advice is to go with a company offering telephone support – Granite 5 uses Namesco If you are happy with just email support, try which offers a very cost-effective service.

    Most companies offer free email and website forwarding. This allows you to forward mail from your domain to an existing email account.

    What does it cost?

    The cost depends on which sort of domain you choose and how long you register the name for. The cheapest option is co.uk. Names are usually registered for two years, and then renewed when the period expires. But be wary of leaving you credit card details for automatic renewal –some companies may renew registration without asking.

    Useful links:

    Namesco
    123-Reg
    Who is Lookup
    Nominet