Choosing between .com or .co.uk extensions… or both?
If you are starting a new online business, choosing your business name and setting up your online presence is the first step. When it comes to setting up a website and buying a domain name, the most common question we get asked is – Do I need both .com or .co.uk for my business? And do I need to buy both? What about .net .org or any of the new-era extensions?
There are things to consider when choosing your TLD (Top Level Domain). The most common domain name extensions are .com, .org, .net, .co.uk and other country-specific TLD’s, but there are hundreds of new URL extensions that have been created. Here we will go through everything you need to know about choosing a domain extension for your UK business.
Choosing .com for your business
Everybody recognises a .com domain extension, however, technically it indicates an American or an international website. Being an international web address, it appears in search engine results around the globe and is a popular choice for many businesses. If you are a UK business with a global audience, then .com is a good option.
Who should use a .co.uk domain?
Using the common domain of your country will localise your web content. This is known as ccTLD or country-specific top-level domain. Using your country TLD, for example, yournewbusiness.uk, yournewbusiness.de or yournewbusiness.fr will help you to appeal to your local market. If your business is targeting primarily a UK customer base only, then .co.uk is the right choice for you. For example, if you are a UK based service, an estate agent, electrician or any business with local or UK customers only.
.com or .co.uk – Benefits of registering both
In addition to protecting your brand, there are some technical benefits to registering your business with both a .com and a .co.uk. When running your website with both .com and a .co.uk domains, your website will appear in UK searches as well as international searches due to the .com extension. Therefore registering your site with both a .com and a .co.uk may have some benefits regarding your search engine results. If you decide to buy multiple domain extensions, you can redirect them to your primary domain.
What about the new-age TLDs? .io .tech .guru .business .uk .anything really?
While the main frequently asked question is always: Should I buy both .com and .co.uk for my website? They are most used TLD’s; however, these days there are a lot more options available. There are a few reasons to register additional domains. Firstly, to protect your brand and prevent anyone else from using it. Secondly, is to use a new domain to reach new audiences. Finally, to take advantage of additional SEO benefits that come with domain redirects.
ICANN manages all official domain names (The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) click here to see the full list. ICANN is an internationally organised, non-profit corporation that has responsibility for Internet Protocol (IP) address space allocation, protocol identifier assignment, generic (gTLD) and country code (ccTLD) Top-Level Domain name system management, and root server system management functions.
Protecting your brand
When you are choosing your website name and domain, you want to make sure that your brand is protected and that no one else can register your business name with another domain. Imagine the scenario. Your business is performing well online, and you are selling lots of products or offering an excellent service. Then one day, somebody buys your domain name with a different TLD and begins to trade. Suddenly, another business is showing up in the search results with the same name alongside yours. If this could negatively affect your business, then it may be wise to register a couple of options. If your branding is critical to your marketing strategy, you may want multiple domain names for one website. Ultimately, the more that you own, the more control you have over your business branding.
Google search results
Regarding search engine results, there are technical SEO benefits to each domain. If you are a local business attracting local customers, you want to have a domain that reflects your local area. This could help your website to show up on the local search engine results.
IP address geolocation
Search engines promote results based on the IP address of the hosting server. It makes sense to offer websites that are more local to the user. So if your business is trading in the UK, make sure that your hosting server is also located in the UK.
Domain migration – Switching from one to the other
Migrating when a business has several different domains and needs to create a single top-level-domain (TLD). Here at HelpDesk Heroes, we have had clients who have wanted to switch from .co.uk to .com and vice versa and in some cases purchase an additional TLD. Changing your domain from one to the other must be done with care, to avoid the common mistakes when implementing it. This includes, among other things, making sure your hreflang attributes are set correctly for the different versions of your website. Here is an in-depth article about Getting hreflang right: Examples and Insights for International SEO, from Moz.
An e-commerce business combining multiple sites, each aimed at a different country, into one main home site. Creating individual language and content within the main site (e.g. yourbusiness.org.uk/fr/).
Future-proofing for expansion
In some instances, you may want to incorporate a multiple domain strategy. Will your business be expanding in the future? If you think you will be operating in another country or running any specific marketing campaigns, then having alternative TLD’s could work best for you. Maybe you will need a separate microsite for one of your brands, products or promotions.
Now that you’ve got that sorted, it’s time to start thinking about your business website.
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