I have been teaching a lot of website design students recently, it’s important website designers understand how hosting and choosing domain name works. They don’t need to understand servers and networking but they need to understand how to get their website’s online and stay online.

I work with a lot of sole traders often people who are venturing into self employment, usually they don’t “need” their website to make a living but they should have a website to help with reputation and referrals but they do need a professional e-mail address

e.g. contact@onlinetoolbox.corather then123plumber@gmail.com.

Domain

A professional e-mail address is associated you with your domain, your website address. The first thing you should do when thinking about naming your business is to check to see if your business name is available, you must check with Companies House (UK) or Companies Office (NZ) if you plan to register as a limited company. If you are a sole trader, providing your name isn’t trademarked or copyrighted you can call yourself what you like. But it is very important you check the website address is available.

Domain Suffix

The websitehttp://whois.comis a database which tells you who owns all the domains and whether they are available. You can have a variety of suffix’s, there are now hundreds available from the weird to the logical:

Popular: .com, .org, .edu, .net, .gov, .info

Country based: .co.uk, .co.nz, .au, .uk, .cn, .nz,

Weird: .online, .global, .blog, .design, .tech, .xyz

There are hundreds to choose from. My advice is to try and get the .com, as well as your country based suffix. If you cannot get the .com is it because somebody else has the same name as you will this be a problem in the future. Imagine reading out your e-mail or website address over the phone, if they don’t catch the last bit they will assume .com or your country based.

Note: Google favours a country based domain for local SEO, I have www.onlinetoolbox.co.uk and www.onlinetoolbox.co.nz so I can promote my business in the both the country which it trades.

I will leave the weird suffix’s to your decision, do they look professional? Will somebody remember your e-mail address? If you are only buying the weird suffix’s because somebody else has the .com or .co.country then bare in mind the name of your business.

Also be careful when using hyphens, I wouldn’t get www.online-toolbox.co.uk because it’s another thing to go wrong or to read out over the phone. Underscores are not available.

I confess I cannot get www.onlinetoolbox.comand I knew this when I started my business 6 years ago, it’s reserved by somebody in the USA who wants $2000 for it. I refuse to pay it and they aren’t trading under the name so I have www.onlinetoolbox.cowhich I use to re-direct the country suffixes.

How many domains can you have?

You can have unlimited, a website is hosted on 1 domain then a redirect can be applied. For example my website sits on www.onlinetoolbox.cobut the domains www.onlinetoolbox.co.nzand www.onlinetoolbox.co.ukre-direct to the same website. I worked with one company who had 75 domains which re-directed to their website. 10 years ago this would have an SEO benefit but not anymore, Google has got cleaver to this trick. Don’t buy up domains for SEO benefit it doesn’t work anymore. Only buy domains if you think it’s beneficial for your visitors.

My uncle won’t mind me mentioning, I host his website www.ajbryan.co.ukhe proudly got his vans sign written with his website address and sent me a photo. I realised they’d put the wrong website address www.a-j-bryan.com. When I saw it I quickly reserved the domain www.a-j-bryan.com(which luckily was available) and re-directed this domain to his website, at an extra cost of £20 per year, until he buys a new van it’s worth it to save on getting his vans re-branded.

Spelling

When naming your company obviously you plan to spell it correctly don’t you? Or you might have a unusual spelling of your name. Consider when getting a Domain name is the misspelling a good idea, I the website spynedoctors.co.nz got my attention, not clients of mine, but it got me thinking, how is somebody supposed to read that out or remember the incorrect spelling of spyne.

Reserving a domain

If you are looking to get a domain I recommend reserving one don’t pay for hosting, just the domain. This way when you approach a website design like myself you can give them your details of the reserved domain and they can do the rest. You know what your website address will be and you’ll be able to print business cards and vans before your website has been built.

Good places to reserve domains:

UK: 123reg.co.uk, goddaddy.com(but I’m not a fan of them for hosting), hostpresto.com

NZ: freeparking.co.nz, goddaddy.com(but I’m not a fan of them for hosting)

Or Me, just ask and I can reserve you a domain in any country and make sure it’s held ready for when you need a website.

At Online Toolbox we offer website and e-mail hosting this is a major part of business, we have our own dedicated servers and you have a human to talk to so get in touch if you need domain or hosting help.