Which domain should you get?

If you have ever used a website or visited a website, you will probably know what a domain is.  It’s the address that you type in to get to your site.  To get here, you may have typed in “cocode.co.uk” or “google.com” or another address.  That part of the address is usually called your “domain name”.  You can get a domain from many different places, but that’s not what this post is about.

Way back in February 2015, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) announced that over 500 new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) had been introduced into the Internet.  These domains include:

  • .design
  • .agency
  • .club
  • .cash
  • .express
  • .tech
  • .wtf
  • .xyz

This was in addition to the .com, .net, .org, .info, .biz and .mobi gTLDs that have been available for many years.

Just to note, though, this applies to generic top-level domains, and not to country code top-level domains.

Country code top-level domains (ccTLD’s) are domains that are usually specifically assigned to a certain country.  You can use these (most of the time) to ascertain whether an address is based in a certain country.  For example, I have cocode.co.uk because my business is based in the UK.  Most every country has been assigned a ccTLD – .de for Germany, .jp for Japan, .fr for France, .ru for Russia, and so on.

With all of these TLDs available, it begs the question …

Which TLD should I get?

The short answer is “Whichever you want,” to be honest, but it does tend to depend on a few factors:

  1. Which TLDs are available?
  2. Which TLDs can you afford?
  3. Which TLD(s) do you prefer?

So let’s start with #1

Which TLDs are available?

Most domain registrars will offer more than your old TLDs.  Name.com, for example, will offer a vast number of domains – Domains from Name.com.

Now, just because I’m linking to Name.com here, I do not explicitly recommend their services.  You are free to use them if you wish, but I’m not going to say whether they are great to use or not.  I’ve never used them, so I really don’t know.

Anyway … you’ll notice that there are hundreds of domains that you can choose from, and most of them will have something available for you and your needs.  You can use any registrar to search for your domain of choice (you can use Name.com by visiting https://www.name.com/domain/search) and you can register it with any other registrar that will accept them.

It’s worth noting too that, just because Name.com or GoDaddy says your domain is available, doesn’t mean 1&1 or someone else will offer it.  Not every registrar will offer every TLD, and some may be cheaper.  Also, if GoDaddy says your chosen domain is available, it’ll be available all across the Web.  Registrars don’t block purchase domains so that another registrar can’t get them.

Which TLDs can you afford?

If you look at the list of domains, you’ll see that many of them have different prices.

Just a handful of the domains that GoDaddy offers.

Just to note, these came from GoDaddy today (17th July 2017).  There are also two prices, as some registrars (GoDaddy being one of them) will make an introductory offer for one year.

Different domains will be valuable to different people, and as such will cost more or less than other domains.

You certainly don’t need to get every single domain available.  If that were the case, registrars probably wouldn’t make special offers like these.

There’s also another thing to know: each domain on this list is the actual domain you will get.  I remember someone who wanted and bought the .co TLD for their company but they assumed that this meant they could use .co, .com, .co.uk and others that started with .co.  This isn’t the case.  “mycooldomain.co” means you can use “mycooldomain.co” and nothing else.

Once you’ve seen which ones are available and know which ones you can afford, you’re left with one step.

Which TLD(s) do you prefer?  And which ones fit your needs?

That’s the only important thing to have.  I have a few domains. I have cocode.co.uk, cocode.org.uk, and just cocode.uk.  They all do different things and have different purposes, but I can do with them as I wish.

Now, I could always get cocode.design, if I chose to. I could get cocodedesigns.com.  I could get cocode.net … except it costs over £1,000 as it’s listed as a “premium” domain with GoDaddy (I’m sure someone else would offer it cheaper.)  But what’s the point in getting “cocode.baseball” when my company has nothing to do with baseball?  Or “cocode.cymru” when I’m in England, not Wales?  Certain TLDs, certain domains and certain variations of those domains are going to be better for me.  But definitely not all.  Sure, you can have whichever domain you want, but if you’re a plumbing business and decide to get .school as your TLD, you had better offer plumbing lessons to people from there.  If your domain doesn’t fit with your business, you will lose customers.

Some don’t matter what your business model is.  .co, .com, .net, .xyz are generic enough to fit any business.  But see which one looks best for you.

What should I do next?  Should I get more than one domain?

Once you’ve picked your domain, you can use it for your website, email or both.  You can use your address to redirect to your Facebook page or your Twitter feed, you can run a blog on there, you can collect money through it, you can do whatever you wish (providing it is legal).  If you want to have your own blog or site, then you will need to find hosting to attach it to.  Many registrars will also offer web hosting as a separate service, often charged monthly or yearly.  You can find hosting from £40 per year up to thousands, depending on your needs, but remember: more often than not, you are paying for what you get.

You can also get multiple domains if you so wish.  “cocode.co.uk” is the main website for the business, but we also have cocode.uk, which is the address we use for our custom URL shortener.  That means, instead of typing in something like “cocode.co.uk/2017/07/this-really-cool-article-with-a-really-long-url/”, I only need to give something like “cocode.uk/f4oD8-D” and visitors will be automatically redirected to the right page.  “cocode.org.uk” also redirects straight to cocode.co.uk.

You could even use one domain solely for email and one for your website.  It all depends on what you wish, and setting them up is relatively easy, providing you understand what you want and you have access to the right support.

So there’s our quick guide of what to consider when getting a domain.  What questions would you like answering next?  Leave a comment below and we’ll do our best to answer them.  You can also get in touch with us if you’ve got a wonderful idea for how to use your domain that we could help with.

Nathan is the Creative Director and Founder of Cocode Designs.  A web designer since 2007, Nathan has had an interest in all things technological for many years.  He has a breadth of experience working in the non-profit sector, as well as working with a few new startups in recent years.

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