Part of the process in creating a website is to decide upon a domain name. This may have some relation to the company name you are operating under, or may be specifically targeted at improving your Search Engine rankings. Whichever domain name you decide upon, you also need to decide upon which domain name suffix, or type, you intend to use.

3d illustration of magic hat with domain names signsExact Match Domain Names
Google can penalise Exact Match Domain Names (EMD) i.e. those that exactly match the search query a business owner wants to rank high in Google for.

This is a change to the Google algorithm and something that SEO consultants and business owners should be aware of as – up until recent years – having an EMD was a bonus for website ranking above competitors.

However this is now seen more as “black hat  SEO” – where people are manipulating the search results, making them less natural.

Domain Name Suffix
The domain name suffix usually indicates something about the resident website, perhaps geographical location (e.g. “.co.uk”) or type of organisation (e.g. “.com”, “.org”) or even a combination (e.g. “.org.uk”).

It is important to note that you are generally not restricted on which suffix you choose (though there are exceptions to this, for example only Australian residents can register a “.com.au” domain).

Here is a list of the most common domain suffixes in use today:

Domain Type

Minimum Registration Period

Domain Usage

.co.uk

2 years

Most often used by UK-based businesses

.org.uk

2 years

Often used by not-for-profit organisations

.me.uk

2 years

Ideal for UK-based individuals

.ltd.uk

2 years

For UK limited companies – domain name must match registered company name

.plc.uk

2 years

For UK public limited companies – domain name must match registered company name

.co

1 year

Similar to the “.com” suffix for businesses, says “COmpany” “COrporation”, “COmmerce”

.com

1 year

Perfect for all international uses

.biz

1 year

Often used as an alternative to “.com” especially for businesses

.org

1 year

Often used by international, not-for-profit organisations

.net

1 year

Used as a worldwide domain for multiple brands linked from one website, or where “.com” is not available

.info

2 years

Increasingly popular alternative to “.com”

.eu

1 year

Relatively new so availability is often better; available for anyone operating out of Europe

.name

1 year

The international domain for individuals

.tv

1 year

Intended for use by television programmes and companies

.mobi

2 years

Designed specifically for the delivery of web content and services to mobile devices

Brand Protection
Some people acquire all possible suffixes that match a domain name in an effort to stop the competition from setting up a similar website, its down to each individual as to whether this is “over the top” or not. However, if you have the “.com” as your primary address, it is often worth acquiring the “.co.uk” also.

At RKJOnline we can arrange for both addresses to be routed to your website, so the visitor sees your website regardless of which of the 2 addresses he/she types in. Of course the real answer is to get some good Search Engine Optimisation established so that it is your website (regardless of the name) that the customer sees and clicks on, and not that of your competitor.

Subdomains
As well as the all-important domain name suffix, domains also have a prefix. This is usually seen as “www” and will generally result in your being directed to the website home page.

It is possible to specify additional prefixes to your domain name, for example “blog.mydomain.com” or “membersarea.mydomain.com” – these are known as subdomains.

A subdomain is a domain that is part of a larger domain. For example, “mail.example.com” and “calendar.example.com” are subdomains of the “example.com” domain.

Subdomains are commonly used where you wish to assign a unique name to a particular department, function, or service related to the website concerned. At RKJOnline, we have chosen to host our blog in a subdomain of the main site, called “blog.rkjonline.com”. This has advantages in administration and also makes it easier to type!

In all cases, please feel free to discuss your domain requirements, (be they prefix- or suffix-related!) with us at RKJOnline Web Design in Cheshire.