Your domain name is a big part of your business and it's amazing how many people don't even know who owns theirs, let alone what to do if there's a problem. Read on to find out what to do to make the most of this vital business asset.

First things first

It is fairly obvious that the most important thing is the name itself. This should either tell the searcher what your business name or brand is, or if you are buying secondary domains, display the service or product you provide. The domain name used to be very important to match keyword searches - this is decreasingly the case but still carries some relevance. In addition to our digitalacorn.co.uk domain we carry a 'website-repair.co.uk' website, and this does very well for us for people searching for exactly that service. Name is the most important thing.

Buy your own domain

The second most import thing is how and from whom you buy the domain. It is extremely important you retain control of your domain. You should buy your domain yourself, and from a large reputable domain service*. I would recommend keeping the domain on a separate bill/payment plan from any web hosting or email services. This will mean much easier management if you upgrade your site or move to another hosting provider.

Who should own the domain?

If you have an official business name, or limited company; seriously consider assigning ownership to the company, rather than to yourself as an individual. Should you come to sell your business, the domain name would be included. If your business is primarily online - the domain-name may represent a substantial proportion of the value of the business.

Do I need to do anything technical?

No. Grant temporary access to the domain control-panel to allow your trusted developer or IT-support engineer to configure the domain for you. Then change the password afterwards. It's your domain, and once it's set up nobody needs to change anything until you add-to or move web or email hosting.

Take care at renewal time.

Always know from whom you bought your domain and never respond to mail shots to 'renew' your domain without careful consideration. Email reminders may come from your actual provider, but they could be phishing attacks, or at best be vaguely worded speculative attempts to take over the management of your domain. Often overpriced, a malicious or erroneous domain-transfer could be hard to reverse and may result in email and website downtime.

I'm not sure who manages or owns my domain!

We deal with many customers who simply do not know who they bought the domain from. Often this is a small web agency which no longer exists. The domain can be recovered to put it under your control, however this can be time consuming. There have been occasions where small independent agencies buy domains in their own name and just let the client make use of it, thinking they own it. This can be resolved, sometimes at considerable legal expense. If you let someone else purchase your domain on your behalf, make sure you do actually own it.
* We have a list domain sellers on our links page which we have found to offer are reliable service and competitive prices. http://www.digitalacorn.co.uk/links

Article by Peter Davies of Digital Acorn Ltd.

NBSL LogoThis article is brought to you by NBSL's North East Business Support Fund which funds the costs of business improvement projects such as website development, marketing strategies, external consultancy – click here to find out more

The North East Business Support Fund  has hundreds of registered providers offering a wide range of business support. NBSL has used its best efforts to post on this web site the most accurate and reliable information given to us by our providers but does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any information. The thoughts and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors and are licensed to NBSL for publication on this website.

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