If you are considering acquiring your own Domain Name try to follow these simple guidelines...
Your domain name is your marketing i.e. it needs to easily attract people you want.
Choose a name that is:
Short (7 letters of less)
There are still a lot of one finger typists out there! If you domain is too long to type people will give up before they start!
Easy to Spell
It needs to be a Key Stage 1 spelling. Test it out. Many of your potential customers may struggle with spelling words like business, personnel or maintenance - especially if their first language is not English. Say your domain once to a 7-year old child. Can they spell it back to you correctly? (try 5 different children)
It needs to be 'sticky' or unforgettable. Sometimes alliteration can work e.g. TastyTacos.com is much easier that remember than DeliciousTacos.com Try rhymes such as BlogDog.com or FatCat.com the point is to make your domain memorable.
It is not necessary to ensure that the domain is the name of your business. For example The National Magazine Company Limited (NatMag) use the domain handbag.com. Aimed at women aged between 25 and 45 this domain ticks all the list above.
Does the domain have to contain keywords?
Including a keyword for Search Engine Optimisation in your domain is not really necessary - After all bbc.co.uk and easykey.net get found for particular phrases that don't include 'bbc' or 'easykey' in the search.
Try to avoid hyphens as people don't always know where that is on the keyboard or might even call it "dash" or even worse "slash" (which would be incorrect). However you may need to ensure when you put words together that it doesn't accidentally spell something else.
e.g. try removing the hyphen out from this domain:
what can you read!!!
Don't use Acronyms or Initials
Unless you own an internationally famous brand like IBM do not use initials. For example if you business was Denton Thorne Financial Securities imagine saying dtfs.com over a crackly mobile phone. You would certainly have to clarify by saying "Delta Tango Foxtrot Sierra dot com".
Your Domain is part of your Marketing
By far the most important thing to remember is that your domain is your marketing. If you ensure it is short, easy to spell, catchy and descriptive you won't go far wrong.
Am I allowed any domain that is available?
Currently there is no law that prevents you from taking any name .com or .co.uk - Of course this means that anyone else can register a domain you would like. The point of law is that you must not try to pass off or pretend to be someone you are not. So if MacDonalds.com was your domain you should not be seen from trying to profit from the famous McDonalds Hamburger chain.
What should I do if I receive a cold call or letter about domains like mine?
Never take any notice of cold telephone calls that ask you whether you want to protect your identity by selling you a domain that is about to be taken by someone else. These are usually a scam trying to sell you domains at a premium price and some even entice you away from your current registrar with fake renewal letters.
How can I check what domains are available?
Click here to check whether it's available and try out your name (with no endings like .co.uk0 and our domain tool will list you what versions are taken and what are currently available. By the way (unlike some other websites) we promise not to record your searches with our domain tool. We have had our customers user domain name search tools on other websites the previous evening, contact us to register their domain the next day and hey presto it was registered last night and is now for sale for an extortionate price!