alan charlesworth . eu
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Arrived on this page from a search engine and wondering what it's all about?
The first two paragraphs of tips, hints and advice on domain names will explain all.

WHY REGISTER A DOMAIN NAME?


You haven't got your own Domain Name ..... so what?

Well ...... you know what they say about first impressions? On the Internet it's your Domain Name that people see first; whether it be at the top of your webpage, or your email address. So, .......... what first impression do you want to give to potential clients?

Email Addresses

My email address is Alan@leighton.com - my name is Alan, I'm at an organisation called leighton. That's it; end of story; there is no more. And there shouldn't be anymore - no extra dots and squiggles to confuse my customers and certainly no advert for my service provider!

Websites

Our website is called DomainNames.com and its URL (website address) is www.DomainNames.com. Wouldn't you like to say the same for your website? By the way, if you are thinking 'who are these people to offer me advice on registering Domain Names?' - well, in the field of global Domain Name registration services THE Domain Name to have is DomainNames.com ... and we registered it.

So what are your first impressions of the organisation I represent?

Advice when choosing your name

Choosing a Domain Name is an art, not a science - therefore we can offer advice, but not a strict formula which will work every time. We hope that this page will give you an introduction to that art. There are several issues to conside before you register your own Domain Name.

First off - what characters can be used to form a Domain Name?

Only alphanumeric characters and punctuation marks may be used, the choice, therefore, is from:

  • A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
  • 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0
  • dash (-)

An address must begin and end with an alphanumeric character. Punctuation characters must not be placed together. NOTE - Domain Names are NOT case sensitive. UK domains must be less than 63 characters excluding the suffix (.co.uk .org.uk .plc.uk .ltd.uk). Domain names can contain letters, numbers or hyphens(-) NO spaces or other characters are allowed. Two character domain Names can only be registered if they are a registered trade mark of that company (e.g. BT.co.uk is registered Trade Mark of British Telecom).

We would advise around 15 as a maximum. Using a zero is allowed, though we would caution you about it being confused with the letter 'O'. In general when picking a name, 'less is more', in other words a short name is preferable to a long one. However, if your organisation is 'Clough and Taylor Associates' you have little choice. If the organisation's name is commonly abbreviated then that may work - consider the National Basketball Association for example, they made the right decision in registering NBA.com Some suggestions for 'Clough and Taylor Associates' might be:

  • CandT-Associates.co.uk
  • CTAssociates.co.uk
  • CandTassoc.co.uk
  • CTassocs.co.uk
  • C-TAssociates.co.uk
  • Clough-Taylor.co.uk
  • CandT.co.uk
  • CandTAssociates.co.uk
  • C-T.co.uk
  • Clough-and-Taylor.co.uk
  • CloughTaylor.co.uk
  • CloughandTaylor.co.uk

This is not an exhaustive list, but it should give you an impression of the possibilities. Considerations are many, but there are two main factors:

  • How easy is the name to use / remember?
  • How is the name aesthetically? - how good/bad does it look in print, on say, a business card or corporate brochure? You will notice, in the list above, my use of upper and lower case.

Don't forget you may use your Domain Name for your email address as well! (we give more advice for email addresses on the email page. Depending on your priorities it is worth considering having one Domain Name for your web site and another for your email address.

In our example it is unlikely there are many, if any, organisations with the same name. However if there are other organisations with a similar name to your own, (don't forget we could be talking world wide here) they may have got the best one first - there's a warning here, act now so it's you that gets first choice!

If your first choice name has gone, or your trading name does not lend itself to being a Domain Name, you may consider a generic name. Be aware that the best have already gone, but that should not stop you giving this idea some thought. An example might be an organisation providing services to airlines registering Airline-Services.co.uk - even though their trading name is Bloggs and Co.

Of course there is nothing to stop Bloggs and Co also registering Bloggs.co.uk - which introduces another aspect to Domain Name registration; that of multiple registrations for your organisation. OK you're now saying 'what's the point?' - other than to give us three times the money.

The answer is this. Your Domain Name is likely to be your first point of contact for other organisations, so what if you trade in several different markets, or segments of markets, and in each of those markets you want to present a specific image?

Let's consider Any Name Motors of Anytown, part of the Any Name Group. They have a second hand (whoops, sorry 'pre-owned') car lot, a dealership for new Fiats and they also specialise in imported sports cars. Same business, three different markets. The chances are they would have only one web site with different pages devoted to the different products on sale. The problem is that a web site under the URL of AnyNameMotors.co.uk is unlikely to attract someone seeking an imported Toyota MR2 sports car, it is too bland to target specific markets. Consider the following; all Domain Names will 'point' to the same web site but each will be used independently when marketing the web site, be that on search engines, TV / radio, printed-media advertising or business cards for the sales staff.

  • AnyName.co.uk - the 'corporate' name
  • Budget-Motors.co.uk - for the used cars
  • AnyName-Fiat.co.uk - the Fiat dealership
  • Imported-Sports.co.uk or Exotic-Motors.co.uk - the imported sports cars
  • AnyName.com - the email address when dealing with overseas clients and/or suppliers

A total of five names, at five times the cost certainly, but compared with other marketing costs, very little to create five 'different' entities on the Internet.

Email Forwarding

Email forwarding is a relatively simple technical procedure which allows you use your own Domain Name as your email address. You will still require an Internet Service Provider (ISP) for your 'dial-up' - and it is the email address they give you which actually receives the mail. We can simply take any email addressed to your Domain Name address and 'forward' it to your ISP address. Your ISP address (i.e.AOL or Compuserve); is not replaced, it is simply duplicated with a more appropriate name.

Having email forwarding is rather like having a PO box for your post. Any letters addressed to the PO Box are re-directed to your home address, if you move house the PO Box number remains the same, but any post addressed to it is 'forwarded' to your new home address. In the same way, this means your email address remains the same even if you change your ISP - remember your email address may be on business cards, sales literature or in the memory of your customers' computer. Should you change your ISP, simply inform us of the new address and we re-direct the forwarding. In case you are concerned - forwarding adds only seconds to the delivery time of email messages.

Single email forwarding

This involves setting up a single named account. The user can have any name before the @ sign All are directed to one ISP provided email address. For example:

Jane.Smith@YourName.co.uk - forwarded to - Janesaddress@demon.co.uk
Jane@YourName.co.uk - forwarded to - Janesaddress@demon.co.uk
sales@YourName.co.uk - forwarded to - Janesaddress@demon.co.uk

Multiple email forwarding

For many organisations multiple email forwarding is an attractive option. This allows a variety names to be used before the @ sign. You can have them all directed to the same ISP address or to several. For example:

Jane.Smith@YourName.co.uk - forwarded to - Janesaddress@demon.co.uk
sales@YourName.co.uk - forwarded to - Janesaddress@demon.co.uk
Dave@YourName.co.uk - forwarded to - Davesaddress@compuserve.co.uk
Bill@YourName.co.uk - forwarded to - Billsaddress@virgin.com

Far be it for us to suggest you be economical with the truth, but this can be used to give the outside world (your potential clients) a certain perception of your organisation. One email address could equal one employee. Sales@, info@, billing@, product1@, product2@ might suggest an organisation with several departments - and if you do have all those departments you should let people know. Choosing a Domain Name as an email address

If the primary use of the name is for an email address then this should be taken into account when choosing the Domain Name to register. The main considerations are:

  • that the name is always used after @
  • the name is used extensively in print i.e. on business cards
  • the address is frequently given verbally
  • what is going before the @ - long/short, formal/informal etc

It may sound simplistic, but the best way to check potential names is to put them to the test in practice. You will need to enlist the help of a willing friend or associate to help - if they laugh too much you have chosen the wrong Domain Name!

  • How does the address sound? - say it out load, is it easy clearly understood?
  • How does it look? - mock-up letter heads/business cards etc
  • Is it easy to remember? - test it on your friends, tell them your email address and then ask them to repeat it 30 minutes later
  • Could it be easily confused - if, say passed verbally over the phone i.e. if I said my address was Alan at seaking - is that Alan@seeking - Alan@seaking - or Alan@cking
  • Be objective, get the opinion of others, after all it is someone else who will use your address, not you.

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