If you are British and want to know the latest news, you will probably visit bbc.co.uk. If you are looking for a bargain, ebay.co.uk might be your port of call. Need a book for a holiday read? Amazon.co.uk is where you'll head. Need help with a school assignment? Google.co.uk.
Here in the UK, we instinctively default to websites that end in .co.uk because of our online experience. We probably know that there is an ebay.com and an amazon.com, but experience has taught us that they are probably American sites with prices in dollars and so on. So we stick to websites that tell us immediately that they are British.
No wonder then the biggest players online use .co.uk domain names to target the UK market.
Nominet research consistently shows that more than 80% of British internet users prefer to use a .co.uk website over a .com when buying goods and services.
That one fact is dynamite and should be centre stage when you are choosing a domain name for your business.
Established and trusted by millions, .co.uk is the most popular domain for business and enterprise in the UK. And to be honest, that's where your search should begin and end, with .co.uk.
There are other UK extensions available such as .org.uk and .me.uk, but none are designed for commercial use. The .org.uk domain name is intended for use by not-for-profit organisations while the .me.uk domain name for individuals to use for a blog, portfolio, hobbies and so on.
Currently, the intended use for .org.uk and .me.uk domain names isn't enforced by Nominet and this has led some businesses to use these extensions when the .co.uk version of a domain name is taken.
This is a big mistake. Not only does it make your business look amateurish, but you will inevitably lose business to whichever business owns the .co.uk because your customers will regularly default to the .co.uk and discover your competitor.
The more time, effort and money you put into promoting an unfamiliar domain name extension, the more you benefit your competitors!
We also see the odd business using a .uk.com domain name. Talk about confusing potential customers! It looks like a typo! Not only is it not a .co.uk or a dotcom, but a mishmash of both, it isn't even a top level domain name. You are simply renting a sub-domain from the owner of www.uk.com. We would never recommend this option.
Our advice for British businesses is to use a domain name that customers will know best - and that means a .co.uk domain name.
Then get the best domain name you possibly can.
It could be that your perfect .co.uk domain name is available to register. You will find that most of the best .co.uk domain names have been registered, but not all of them are in use, and some fantastic domain names are available on the aftermarket.
It is on the aftermarket that you will find opportunities to get an amazing domain name for your business that will go on working for you year after year. That's the power of a great domain name.
If you get it right from day one, it will save you from expensive re-brands further down the road.
Here at Brandwise, we specialise in helping UK businesses get it right by finding the perfect domain name on the aftermarket. And if you don't find what you want on our website, feel free to email us with your requirements and we will do our best to help you secure that perfect domain name for your business.
One To Watch - The Rise Of The Shorter .uk Domain Name
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George is a Nominet Member and a Nominet Registrar, bound by both the Members' code and the Registrars' code of conduct. Specifically this requires Members to deal with any person, business or other organisation in a respectful, professional and courteous manner.
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We guarantee that all domain sales and transfers are dealt with promptly and we continue to work with customers after the transfer of ownership to ensure that they have complete control of the purchased domain name via a Registrar of their choice. In short, we'll look after you.
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