If you own a small business, your domain name could be one of the most important assets you own. Creating a clear domain for your website both makes you look credible and provides you with the rights to your trading name. For instance, if you were called Helen and ran a boutique clothes store, you may want to call your website something like www.helensfashions.com. Getting your domain name should be one of the first steps in naming your business, shaping how easily new customers find you.
The process of buying your chosen domain name from a host is in itself inexpensive. Registering a name can cost as little as £3.32 per year from sites like www.cheapdomainnames.co.uk for small businesses and can be purchased in no time at all. It is surprising, however, how many small companies fail to remember to register their company name early on – for any small business it can be frustrating (and help you to lose potential clients) if you don’t register a logical domain name at the beginning.
Forgetting to register your domain name could really backfire. Every year thousands of domain names are registered and more and more options are taken every single day. While being the victim of a cybersquatter is a rare case for a small business, you could equally be victim to another business or competitor owning the .co.uk address you truly desire. A more malicious competitor may even try to set-up a website similar to yours and try to steal customers with a close website address.
In rare occasions for a small business you may be the victim of cybersquatting – particularly if your business has attracted press attention or gained an audience very fast. You are unlikely to have to pay the vast sums of a Google or Microsoft to get back your website address, but I’ve heard stories of small media businesses having to pay a few thousand pounds to get back their website address. Quite a mark up on a domain usually costing less than a fiver a year!
The costs can easily add up if you have not bought your desired web address in the first place. So how do you make sure you have your domain name early on?
The first thing you need to do is protect your small business’ domain name as soon as possible. Let’s take the example of Helen’s fashion store again. You’d want to register the address www.helensfashions.com, but consider the variants of this too. Domain name “extensions” (the end part to the web address) such as .co.uk, .org, .biz, .net and .info are all worth registering so that no other business or cybersquatter can create a site with your name and profit off the publicity of your website.
You should also register both the singular and plural version of your name, and if your company name has more than one word in it, make sure you register the hyphenated version of your small business: www.helens-fashions.com. It’s worth noting that registering www.helensfashionssucks.com gives you even more protection against malicious third parties wanting to take away the positive attention from your brand. Lastly, registering the differently spelt versions of your name are helpful to stop other companies and individuals using it: in this case, this includes www.helenfashion.com, www.helenfashions.com and www.helensfashions.com.
Also remember that your domain names need to be renewed annually. This is standard practice, and the act of re-registering will safeguard your small business from being attacked by small time cybersquatters, who will often comb through lists of expired domain names and buy them to sell on for more money. Domain name registration services like Cheap Domain Names will send you warning emails notifying your small business about renewals when needed.
However, small businesses like yours should also consider purchasing domains for longer periods of time to save money and get rid of the hassle of annual renewals. For example, you might want to purchase a domain name for ten years and pay £15 a year in one bulk payment. This will help prevent other businesses being able to purchase your own domain name and give you peace of mind for your company’s web address. The rules on this changed only this year and it’s a great call to make sure you own your domain name for longer.
As a small business, it is in your interest to secure a suitable domain name for your company as soon as you can – before someone else gets to it first. You may feel you have a million things to do in setting up your new venture, but registering your domain will add an asset to your company brand straight away. As a customer of your company, it is equally as important to be able to look at your website, to learn more about your goods or services and to find our more information on your products through a memorable domain name. It pays off to choose wisely.
Take a look at Cheap Domain Names for more information on creating your own domain. When purchasing your domain your company can also get free access to web pages, email-forwarding features, web page creators, online control panels and expert advice.