Should you buy various versions of your domain name, and if so which ones?
The last bit of a domain name (.com or .uk) is called the top-level domain or TLD. Country code TLDs (ccTLDs) are the domain names that represent a country such as .uk (United Kingdom obvs), .fr (France), .us (USA), and so on. There are now many generic TLDs such as .online, . shop or .xyz.
The shorter .uk domain was automatically made available to owners of the respective . co.uk domain for a 5 year period starting in 2014. So you may already have it in your account. If you decided you didn’t want it and let it expire it then it would become available on the open market for anyone else to buy and use.
Should you buy .uk or .co.uk if both are available and you only want to register one?
.uk is shorter, so quicker to type, say or read. It’s also newer… so may be viewed as up-to-the-minute, contemporary and ‘cool’.
By the same token .co.uk or .com may appear more serious or established.
If you’re starting a new venture and the .com and .co.uk are long gone, the new generic names may also give you the opportunity to buy a version of your preferred domain name.
In 2015 .cymru and .wales* also came on the market. They’re useful for businesses in the tourism and leisure sectors as well as those who want to display their welsh connection and heritage.
*Note: Nominet the uk domain name registry also look after wales domains and a number of other TLDs e.g. .london or .bbc
Sometimes it’s simple case of preference and what intuitively works for you and your brand.
Some people prefer to stick to one domain as it’s simpler and cheaper. They’re happy to build their brand and SEO on one domain. On-page optimisation such as useful content, accessible and mobile friendly pages and quality code, as well as good quality inbound links will help Google ‘see’ their site and ensure it does well for their sector and chosen key words.
However having additional TLD versions gives you control over your brand. What if someone types in the wrong version of your domain name by accident? You can use web forwarding or set up an alias to ensure they’ll still get to your website.
In addition you can stop ‘cybersquatters’ or your competition using your domain name. Unscrupulous individuals can snap up your domain and copy your site to display ads, steal your customers or scam site visitors. By registering the domains that are most relevant to your brand – for UK businesses .co.uk .uk and .com – you can stop this happening.
So in summary:
Keep things simple and cheaper and focus on one domain
Protect your brand and stop cybersquatters by registering your preferred versions