Cosmic's Web Services Assistant Jamie Dąbrowiecki recently spoke with Nominet's Senior Product Marketing Manager Neil Dagger about the importance of great domain names for your United Kingdom based business or organisation.
Nominet are the governing body for .uk domain names - their domain services support a vital part of the UK’s online economy, and the Nominet registry is depended on by millions of businesses and individuals across the United Kingdom.
Nominet's Senior Product Marketing Manager Neil Dagger was kind enough to answer questions we hear a lot from our valued customers and partners. As the leading UK domain name registry, Nominet's advice and information comes with a tremendous amount of credibility and trust from the domain name and internet world.
Cosmic's Jamie prepared some questions for Neil that will hopefully be able to assist and guide you to online success for your UK business or organisation, as well as open you up to some new ideas and answer any questions you may have had.
JD: Is it important for a UK business or organisation to have a UK domain name?
ND: A business choosing a UK domain name will benefit from being part of a trusted, popular domain that is overwhelmingly preferred by end users searching and buying online in the UK. Also as search engines and apps are making domain names less about finding a website and more about showing the world who you are and what you stand for, this is an increasingly important consideration.
In some recent research 74% of respondents indicated that when searching for products and services online they would be most likely to click on a .uk domain name first. For more information check out www.agreatplacetobe.uk.Also to meet some of our recent .uk success stories: www.agreatplacetobe.uk/our-domains/uk/#successstories.
JD: How important is brand identity with domain names and securing multiple variations of your domain?
ND: Your website is an important part of your branding. It is important that your top level domain name (the bit after the dot) is recognised, clear and trusted. A .uk domain name conveys trust and shows that you are a UK business addressing a UK market.
Keeping the domain name short and simple allows you to put the focus back on the most important element which is your brand name. When selecting a domain name it should be easy to spell. Many businesses reserve additional domain names close to their own or with slight spelling variations and put a redirect on them to their main domain name. By doing so this prevents other people (potentially competitors) registering similar names (or spelt slightly differently) and redirecting people to their own website.
Some businesses also register multiple domain names such as .co.uk, .uk, .com, .net for similar defensive reasons as it only cost a few extra pounds per year to do so. When you are building a multimillion pound business it is worth taking a few minutes to consider brand protection and maximise web traffic. For more free advice please see our blog: www.agreatplacetobe.uk/advice/choosing-your-domain-name.
JD: What different UK extensions are publically available to register?
ND: There are four .UK domain names available: .co.uk is the original business domain name for British businesses and has been around for over 20 years; .uk is the new shorter domain name for British businesses, entrepreneurs and individuals; .org.uk is the domain for charities or not for profit businesses with a special cause; lastly .me.uk is the domain name for individuals wishing to blog or build a personal following where the domain is all about the achievements of the individual.
For more information to check how they might appear with your domain name, just click here: www.agreatplacetobe.uk/our-domains.
JD: The shorter and simpler domain name .uk recently became publically available – what are the rules and regulations to getting one of these?
ND: The new shorter .uk domain name became available in June 2014, to sit alongside its old brother .co.uk. In June 2015 we celebrated its 1st birthday. The take up has been really strong. People simply love it. We have been delighted to see so many new businesses, start-ups, small to medium sized businesses, individuals and high profile personalities adopting it. They understand the value of a shorter domain name that proclaims clearly their UK heritage and focus whilst also appreciating that the brevity puts the focus back on their domain name. Because .uk is shorter and so attractive to both businesses and individuals we didn’t want to limit it to one group or another so we promote the domain as the domain for everyone.
(To read Cosmic's domain name agreement, please click here.)
JD: Can you please explain what the deadline for .UK domains becoming publically available to everyone rather than being reserved?
ND: If you already own a .co.uk the new .uk equivalent domain has been automatically reserved for you since launch on 10 June 2014. So if you have a unique .co.uk, .org.uk, .me.uk, .net.uk, .plc.uk or .ltd.uk the shorter and sharper .uk has been reserved for you until 10 June 2019 as long as your existing domain remains registered.
For some of you, there will have been more than one domain that existed before the cut-off date which shared the same website name as yours but had different domain name endings (i.e. www.example.co.uk and www.example.org.uk). Therefore you can check whether you have the rights to the new .uk by using our rights lookup tool.
If you decide not to register the new .uk equivalent domain before 10 June 2019, it will then become available for someone else to register, but your existing domain will of course still be yours as long as it remains registered to you. If at any time you decide not to renew your existing domain, the .uk equivalent will automatically become available for someone else to register.
JD: What are the long term expectations with .UK? Do you think it will ever surpass the success of .co.uk?
ND: The new .uk domain name brings the UK inline with other two letter country codes such as .de, .fr etc. Shorter and simpler is good, it’s easy to spell. It’s easier to remember. So in time we think that more people will switch to using .uk for the above reasons but the .co.uk will continue to be available as the original UK domain space. It is all about customer choice.
JD: What is domain verification and why is it so important?
ND: Nominet believes data quality is very important to help ensure a safer internet. Improving and maintaining the quality of the data we have for registrants and that we publish in our WHOIS database is a key objective for Nominet. We believe it is an important part of ensuring that the UK namespace is a trusted and safe space. We continue to take steps to achieve this and believe that our registrars also have a key role to play.
In outline we ask registrants to ensure that the data submitted meets our data completeness check by complying with the format requirements set out in the Data Quality Policy; and that you take steps to ensure that a minimum proportion of the data submitted to Nominet can be validated when we check it against our third party data sources.
JD: If you could give one piece advice to anyone looking to register a domain name, what would it be?
ND: You must think about your audience. Your domain name should be clear and memorable. Your audience wants to know that you are reputable, trustworthy and serving customers in their location. A .uk domain ticks all 3 boxes.
We hope you found this information helpful and we would be more than happy to assist you with any domain name queries you may have.