There isn’t really a debate to the question, “does my business need an online presence?” because the answer is an unequivocal yes. However, an online presence is no longer necessarily associated with a website. But even if you don’t opt for a website, you should still buy a domain name for your business, even if it is just a placeholder. Why? Read on to find out!
For many businesses, especially smaller ones, it can be enough to thrive simply by maintaining a presence on social media. In other instances, directory listings do the trick. Then there are the businesses, often smaller and with a local focus, whose tighter budgets create the sense that investment in digital marketing would be better spent elsewhere.
So if you don’t see the value in a website, or it’s something for another day, then there’s no reason to buy a domain name, right?
Well, no, actually. It could be argued that it’s in the best interest of every UK business to buy a domain name, sooner rather than later, regardless of current or future marketing strategies.
Let’s take look at a few of the arguments.
SAVE MONEY FOR YOUR BUSINESS!
Why do I need to buy a domain name?
Domain name availability: Beat the clock and your competitors
The pace at which domain names are being snapped up is almost unthinkable, with around 314 million having already been registered globally.
That means decent domain names are becoming harder and harder to secure. This is why it’s become a viable – if not somewhat shady – business model to second guess the next big thing and buy up any potentially valuable names that have been left unguarded.
We’re speaking of businesses with similar names, domain speculators or, perhaps more worryingly, competitors. A competitor could profit from your business, by redirecting your good name to their own website. Controversial and morally questionable it may be, but it does happen.
Once you buy a domain name, it’s yours to do with as you will. Build a site around it, or point the domain at your existing site, or do nothing! The point is that you have secured and protected it for the future. Just don’t forget to renew it every couple of years or you might fall prey to some of the unscrupulous tactics we mentioned above.
Project a professional image
When your client receives an e-mail from your business and sees firstname.lastname@example.org, it doesn’t look great does it? Your e-mail address is a reflection of your business, particularly if it is displayed on business cards, letterheads, vehicle livery and online directories.
Your email address and contact details need to look professional as well as being both relevant and easy to remember. This often-overlooked detail could be the difference between losing a contract and clinching it. Just think how you would feel receiving an important message from a less than serious email address – it doesn’t instill trust.
In order to obtain a professional domain e-mail address, such as email@example.com, you will need to buy a domain name.
“Just Google it”
How many of your customers are Googling your business, services or products? What are they finding? Don’t know? You should!
An online presence is essential in every industry, whether you’re in B2B or B2C. Owning a domain name is another step to expanding your online presence and covering all bases. And once you buy a domain name, it also means that you can take ownership of how your company and brand are represented to the world at large.
Put the kettle on….
…and before you’ve finished drinking your coffee, you could have completed the domain registration process! It really is that quick and simple.
Also, if you’re flexible about the name, then you can save some serious money when you buy a domain name. For some names, you could even secure a .co.uk domain for under a fiver!
How to buy a domain name and register it
Choose your domain host
The competition between domain hosts is intense, which helps to push prices down. There are plenty of companies to choose from, so when you decide to buy a domain name, take your time and don’t let price be your only deciding factor.
It’s important to remember that with such low profit margins, many companies offer poor support, or charge extortionate fees to transfer to another provider. A UK based host is also essential. Many companies offer package deals in which you get two or three-for-one on similar or related domains, e.g. a .co.uk, .london. org package.
Run a domain names check
Once you’ve chosen a host, you’ll need to run a domain names check. On the host’s website, there will be a search bar allowing you to type in your preferred domain name. A page will load giving you information on domain name availability and prices.
It’s straightforward from here, and should only take you ten minutes to buy your domain name and register it.
Set up your e-mail address and website hosting
Just because you’ve registered your domain with a particular host, it doesn’t mean you have to opt in to their e-mail and hosting services. If you choose another company for these services, then you’ll need to setup DNS information. If you’re unfamiliar with DNS, don’t panic! Check out this guide and all will become clear.
As you ponder on possible names, here are a few things to consider:
Company/brand name should be your first choice
You may have heard that having keywords in your domain name is very important for SEO. Don’t bother. The value of keywords in domain names is debatable, but the value of a brand name is irrefutable. Your brand is who you are. If someone types your company into Google or finds your business card, they should be met by a domain name that makes sense.
Don’t let it run out!
If you only register your domain for a year, then be sure to click ‘Auto-Renewal’. If you accidently let your domain name run out in a year or two, then somebody else will buy it and charge you a fortune to get it back.
The financial investment and time required to register a domain name is so insignificant, that it seems foolish not to bother. Every UK business will be striving to trump competitors and to do this, a professional image and online presence is crucial. Without a doubt, this includes securing a domain name for your business.
So, what are you waiting for? Get to it!
Once you register your domain name, you’ll need a website to direct it towards! Let us know what you need by completing the form at the top of this page. We’ll be in touch to discuss your requirements and match you to the best UK web agencies for your needs.