Business development 4 January 2019

Should you register a free .uk domain name for your micro business?

UK domain name
Although domain names are no longer a search engine ranking factor, choosing the right extension is still important

So, you have the .co.uk and the .com, but even if you already have one of these domain names, there are a range of benefits to registering a .uk domain name as well. Fasthosts James Norman explains the benefits of having it all.

When the .uk domain extension was released, the rights were reserved for owners of existing UK domains (.co.uk, .org.uk etc.) to claim their equivalent .uk domain. This means, for example, if you own “mycompany.co.uk”, then “mycompany.uk” was reserved for you and is unavailable to anyone else (until June 10 2019). This is known as .uk rights of registration.

In previous years, having a domain extension that showed your customers where your business operated was a vital ranking factor for search engines. Google would see that a website had a .uk domain name and boost its rankings for UK-based searches.

Times have changed, and although domain names are no longer a search engine ranking factor, choosing the right domain extension is still just as important and there are many reasons to register a .uk domain name, especially if you already own the equivalent .co.uk version.

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Firstly, and although Google stopped considering a .uk domain extension important for UK searches, customers do still find reassurance in a website if they know it’s British. If a UK user sees a .uk domain extension then they know the information they’re reading is relevant to them.

Or with an online store, for example, they’ll know they don’t have to worry about international shipping fees on their purchases because they can see the website is for a British business.

Similarly, if visitors to your website are sharing personal or financial information with you, they’ll want reassurance that your website follows all of the latest British or European data protection regulations. A .uk domain will convey that message clearly in a way that a .com domain might not.

The .uk domain is as short as an extension can be, making it catchier, simpler, and easier for your customers to remember. It also brings the UK space in line with other European countries like France (.fr), Germany (.de) and Spain (.es).

If you own the .co.uk version of the domain name it’s possible that customers might mistype your domain name when looking for your website and end up on a similarly titled .uk version instead. If you’ve registered .uk as well (using either as a full site or a redirect) then this won’t be a problem.

Although the .uk version is reserved for registrants of the .co.uk equivalent until June 2019, after this date the .uk domain will enter the public market. This could make it possible for scammers to impersonate businesses by using a similar domain name. Registering the .uk while it’s still reserved will prevent this risk, and will help prevent your customers from falling for impersonators.

So what are you waiting for? If you already own a UK domain name, then your .uk domain is waiting for you. Better grab it before anyone else does! And if you visit the Fasthosts domain checker page, you can currently claim your .uk domain name for free.

James Norman is an editor at Fasthosts

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