Whether you’re starting a new business website or email address or starting a personal project, your domain name is a big part of your brand, and you’ll be building your online identity around it. The sooner you register your domain, the more chance your first name choice will be available.
This article will tell you everything you need to know about how to choose a .wales or .cymru domain name that will best suit your website.
Your website or email address is all about making a great first impression to your customers, and that starts with your domain name. Your domain name needs to ‘do what it says on the packet’, as the saying goes, and it needs to be distinctive to you.
For example, if your website is going to act as your personal CV or portfolio, your own name would make an appropriate domain name, because the website is all about you. Using a .wales or cymru. domain would also help to promote your location and your Welsh identity. If you’re starting a blog, your domain could be themed around what you’re blogging about – lifeinCardiff.wales, for example.
If you’re choosing a domain for your business, it’s essential to ensure that it matches your business name. This is because people will often guess a domain name based on the name of your business.
Not only that, but having different domain and business names could be confusing; in a list of search results and in emails, it may not be obvious which business is yours if your domain name doesn’t match your business name.
A notable example of a business that doesn’t match its brand name to its domain is B&Q, which uses DIY.com to reflect its position as the go-to place for DIY supplies. However, they have also secured bandq.com and bandq.co.uk, which both redirect to DIY.com, so if anyone guesses the domain name, they will still reach the right place.
When you’re choosing your new domain name, it’s worth bearing in mind that search engines like Google aren’t the only way for people to find your website.
You might mention your website to someone so that they can look it up later, for example, and it might be printed on your business cards or other marketing materials. Either way, they’ll have to type the website address into their browser for themselves, and they might also want to tell their friends about it.
That means your domain name needs to be easy to remember, easy to say and easy to type. In other words, keep it short and simple.
To keep your domain name simple, it’s best to avoid:
The exception to the rule on hyphens is that if you have your heart set on a particular domain name that isn’t available, you might find that a hyphenated version is available.
For example, sweetshop.wales might be taken, but sweet-shop.wales might be available. However, “sweet hyphen shop dot wales” is more difficult to say than the non-hyphen version, so try to avoid them if you can.
Quick memorability checklist
With shorter domains in short supply, some companies are choosing to invent new words that serve as their business name as well as giving them a distinctive and memorable domain name.
In fact, domain name availability has become a key consideration in naming a new business. Some Welsh businesses use the Welsh language to their advantage when it comes to naming their domains.
For example, crwst.cymru uses “crwst” which is Welsh for ‘crust’, as their domain name. This indicates directly to the customer what your business is offering by using the Welsh language. The word “crwst” is also much shorter in comparison to “The Cardigan Cafe”, and can be easily represented in logo graphics.
Image source: https://crwst.cymru/ © Copyright 2021 CRWST August 2021
Another Welsh business example is cwtchbox.wales. Who use the Welsh word ‘Cwtch’, that cannot be directly translated into English, giving them an advantage in owning in a very unique domain name. In Welsh ‘Cwtch’ is described as the sense of home, comfort and emotional embrace. This helps to build a distinctive identity, as well as special connection to Wales and Welsh heritage.
The only potential issue with it is that, as mentioned above, it’s important to ensure it’s intuitive to spell and pronounce. Crwst and Cwtch have the advantage of being short and snappy, but are harder to spell and pronounce, so might not translate well to a wider English-speaking audience.
So, if you’re thinking of inventing or using the Welsh language for your domain name, make sure you think about the audience you want to target and subject it to our quick memorability checklist.
Although it is possible to move your website onto another domain in the future (see our article on Domain Support for more information), it’s better to pick a domain name that will stand the test of time.
Moving to a different domain name presents SEO issues, as well as potentially damaging the brand you’ve worked hard to build up.
Most obviously, you should avoid domain names with dates in. If you run a local fun run, for example, pick a URL such as newportfunrun.wales rather than newportfunrun2021.wales. This way, you can reuse the website each year rather than starting from scratch each time, and you’ll benefit from the strength the domain name has gained from people sharing and linking to it over the years.
If your website is for your business, you’ll need to think about where you see your business going in the future and make sure your domain name doesn’t limit your offering.
For instance, you might start out as a nail bar, with a domain name to reflect this, but what happens when, a few years down the line, you want to expand your services to include hairdressing?
The domain name itself isn’t your only consideration when you’re choosing a domain; you’ll also need to decide what extension to use.
The bit that comes after the full stop in your domain name is called a ‘Top-Level Domain’. The domain you choose may have an impact on how your website is perceived; for example, .wales domain name appears more accessible to a non-Welsh speaking audience and clearly demonstrates your location. Whereas a .cymru domain name, is much more accessible to a Welsh speaking audience and would limit your audience reach to areas in Wales.
Most commonly businesses tend to register a .wales and .cymru domain to tailor content to English and Welsh speaking audiences, by using the .cymru domain as a redirect for Welsh speaking audiences to read their content in Welsh. However, both domain clearly define your location as well as your passion and pride for Wales and Welsh heritage.
When you’ve shortlisted your favourites from the available domain names you’ve looked at, conduct a poll among your friends (or even your customers) and see which they like best.
They may notice something you haven’t, such as an unfortunate grouping of letters that forms a new word that you might not have intended.
It’s also worth asking a few people to have a go at spelling your domain and reading it out loud, as this will highlight whether your domain is simple enough for others to type and pronounce.
Having settled on your favourite domain name, it’s worth spending a bit of time researching it to make sure it isn’t legally protected.
If it’s very similar to that of a competitor – particularly a big competitor – they may well have protected their domain name and its variants with trademark or copyright. For example, you might be a small local cider producer, but if your domain name contains the word “apple”, it’s definitely worth checking you won’t run into problems with the Apple of iPhone fame.
You can search for trademarks in the UK on the Government website and in the US here.
It’s also important to check out what’s on similar domains. If someone trying to find your website ends up landing on a page with a similar domain name – perhaps that of a competitor, or even some kind of unsavoury content – you could end up either losing customers to a competitor or managing a reputation problem.
As well as purchasing your chosen domain, try to buy variants of it.
For best practice if you have a .wales domain, for example, get the .cymru version as well. This protects your domain name and stops others from capitalising on your success. For instance, it means that nobody else will be able to set up a competing website on a similar domain, attracting customers who may actually have been looking for your business.
You could also buy possible misspellings or typos of your domain name. For instance, if your domain was mischief.wales, you might want to acquire mischief.wales as well.
To make the most of your purchases, make sure all your domain name variations are permanently redirected to your main domain so that anyone who tries to visit them ends up on your actual website. This can be done through your domain registrar.
Please note: The examples shown here are for illustrative purposes only. Nominet is not endorsing the companies or products shown.
Originally posted on the UK Domain.
© Nominet UK 2023