How to choose the best domain names to buy.

Craig Greenup 05/02/24, 09:00

How to choose the best domain names to buy

The best domain names are memorable. They form a great first impression of your company and they support your future branding efforts.

A good domain name also serves your company for the long term. It’s often difficult to change a domain name once you’ve got your website up and running so it’s important to get it right, first time.

Choosing a domain name is one of the most important decisions you’ll have to make in the early days of your business. So, with that in mind, we’ve put together this article on how to pick a domain name for your business.

We’re going to cover:

  • A few sample domain names
  • Tips for choosing the best domain names
  • How to buy a domain name
  • The best places to buy a domain name

A few sample domain names

Some people get mixed up between a URL and a domain name. So let’s clear things up by looking at a few sample domain names, starting with our own.

Our URL is

The https:// bit is the hypertext transfer protocol. This is a secure way to send data between a web browser and a website. And it isn’t part of our domain name.

Our domain name is

We can break this down even further:

  • The radicalwebdesign bit is our third level domain (3LD)
  • The .co. bit is our second level domain (2LD)
  • The .uk bit is our top level domain (TLD)

Anything that comes after is called a pathway. A pathway takes you to a specific part of the website. For example, the pathway /blog/ takes you to our blog page. This pathway isn’t part of your domain name.

When we read domain names from right to left, the sections get more specific. Let’s look at another sample domain name.

Online retailer Amazon has several country-specific stores. For example, and

With, we have a TLD (.com) and a 2LD (amazon).

But with, we have a TLD (.uk), a 2LD (.co) and a 3LD (amazon).

That’s the technical basics covered. Now let’s take a look at how to pick the best domain names for your business.

Tips for choosing the best domain names

You can pick a domain name that works well for your business – and stands the test of time – by doing some research before you buy. Here are our tips on how to pick a domain name that will take you from strength to strength as your business grows.

Type it out

The wrong domain name can have serious consequences for your business. It can damage your company’s reputation and take you viral for all the wrong reasons.

(Take a look at these terrible domain names to see just how wrong you can get it!)

A domain name can sound great in your head. But when it’s on-screen, all in lowercase, it may be tricky to read your chosen words in the way you’ve intended.

Type out your domain name to see how it reads. You may also like to get the input of a friend or family member in case they spot something you don’t.

Select your top level domain (TLD) carefully

As we’ve already covered, your top level domain, or TLD, is the bit that sits at the end of your domain name.

Globally, the .com extension is most popular. That’s because it’s one of the most general and it conveys a sense of credibility. But there are lots of alternatives.

For UK-based companies, the TLD is a clear contender, as are .org and .net. These are all considered generic top level domains (gTLDs).

These days, lots of companies are venturing beyond gLTDs. Some are using country-code top level domains (ccTLDs) to boost their business branding.

For example, you may have come across UK and US-based sites using country codes for:

  • Germany (.de)
  • Spain (.es)
  • British Indian Ocean Territory (.io)

Because companies are using country codes in this way, Google now considers some of them to be gLTDs.

The upshot? You have a lot of flexibility when choosing your domain extension. The right TLD is one that users recognise as legitimate. And one that signals your site credibility. So try to avoid anything too unfamiliar.

Include relevant keywords

Search engines look at more than 200 ranking factors when deciding where your site sits in search engine results pages (SERPs).

Domain names used to be a factor. But Google now denies that they impact your SEO. In fact, stuffing your domain name with keywords can actually work against you.

That being said, keywords can still play a role when choosing a good domain name. That’s because they help users to see, at a glance, what your company does.

Be sparing (including one or two keywords at most). But consider – as we’ve done with – using both your brand name and industry in your domain name.

Keep it short and easy to spell

You want a domain name that people remember. This is good for branding. And it’s good for users too. Because it’s easy for them to enter your domain into a search bar when they next need your product or service.

So keep domains short and easy to spell. Use 20 characters at the most. If you have a long company name, an acronym can work well.

Also avoid complicated words that people might misunderstand. People who’ve only heard about your company through word-of-mouth should be able to enter your domain name without making any mistakes.

Avoid numbers, punctuation and doubled letters

Is it 4, for or four?

This is the kind of question users will ask themselves if you include numbers in your domain name. Punctuation also causes problems.

Another problem with numbers and punctuation? They slow users down when they’re typing your domain on a mobile device. They have to switch between keyboards, which makes mistakes, confusion and frustration more likely.

Here are a few other things you want to avoid when picking your domain name:

  • Using numbers instead of letters:
  • Misspellings:
  • Text speak abbreviations:
  • Hyphens or underscores:
  • Doubled letters:

Check availability

Every domain name has to be unique. So if someone has already taken your favourite, it’s back to the drawing board.

If you find that your preferred domain name is already taken, try not to use an alternative TLD. There’s a chance it could cause legal complications for you further down the line.

You’re usually fine to use the expired domain name of another brand. Just be sure that the pre-owned domain name doesn’t come with any unwanted baggage, like search engine penalties or sanctions.

Snap up multiple domains

Even if your first choice domain name is available, you can buy TLD variants to protect your business and make it easier for users to find you online.

For example, if you’re lucky enough to bag your preferred domain with TLD, see if you can also get your hands on or other variations.

You can then set up redirects to your main site from these domains to make sure you’re not losing out on any traffic.

Align your social media channels

If you’re planning to use social media to reach and engage with your audience then it’s best if your social handles are aligned with your domain name. This makes it easier for customers to find your profiles.

When choosing a domain name, check the availability of your preferred social handles. It may be that a small edit allows you to keep all accounts in sync.

But don’t worry too much if your exact match isn’t available. Lots of businesses use variations on their socials. It’s just a nice-to-have.

How to buy a domain name

Still with us? Good! The next thing you need to know is how and where you actually buy your domain name.

Businesses that specialise in selling domain names are called registrars. They’re responsible for assigning IP addresses to the domain name you’ve chosen.

Registrars usually supply a range of TLDs so you’ll have the option to register a .com domain name or something location-specific like a

To help you navigate the process you’ll want to be familiar with the following terms:


The individual, group, company or organisation that is registering the domain – in your case, that’s you!

Registry Operator:

An organisation that manages and records domain names – kind of like a domain name manufacturer


An ICANN accredited organisation (like 123-reg or GoDaddy) that sells domain names to the public; if the registry operator is a domain manufacturer, a registrar is a salesperson


A company that sells domain names on behalf of a registrar for a finder’s fee; they’re not always ICANN accredited

Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN):

An organisation that accredits domain registrars and makes sure every domain name is unique

WHOIS privacy protection:

Some domain registrars charge an extra fee for WHOIS privacy protection – this anonymises your details in WHOIS domain records

The best places to buy a domain name

Ready to check availability and buy a domain name? Here are the best places to buy a domain name with a few example prices.

Prices at some of these registrars are advertised in US dollars. So they’re subject to change depending on the exchange rate. All of the prices below were correct at the time of writing – but be sure to double check before you buy.


  • .com – £7.23/year
  • – £3.70 per year

Cloudflare prices don’t go up when you renew so you get the same price next year too.


  • .com – free for the first year, £14.79/year when you renew
  • – £1/year for the first year, £11.99/year when you renew
  • .store – £9.99/year for the first year, £64.99/year when you renew


  • .com – from £0.01/year for the first year, £18.99/year when you renew
  • – from £0.01/year for the first year, £12.99

WHOIS privacy protection is included in the price.


  • .com – £8.12/year for the first year, £12.54/year to renew
  • – £5.51/year for the first year, £7.48/year to renew
  • .io – £35.51/year for the first year, £38.67/year to renew

WHOIS privacy protection is included in the price.


  • .com – £7.09/year for the first year, £15.76/year to renew
  • .io – £31.53/year for the first year, £35.48/year to renew

Our verdict

All domain name registrars do a similar job. But our standout favourite is Cloudflare.

It may not have as many TLDs as a company like GoDaddy. But there are still hundreds of domain extensions for you to choose from. And new ones are added regularly too.

For us, Cloudflare is one of the best places to buy a domain name because pricing is so transparent. Most other registrars entice users with a low first year price. But then the amount you pay is subject to change.

Cloudflare only ever charge you what they pay to the registry for your domain. They don’t charge a markup and there are no surprise fees.

With Cloudflare, you know exactly how much you’ll pay each year, which is one less thing for business owners to worry about.

I have a domain name. Now what?

Once you’ve chosen and bought the best domain name for your business, you’ll need to renew it each year.

We recommend using the auto-renew feature that all registrars provide. Also, remember to keep your payment method updated. If it expires and renewal fails, it can cause issues, like website downtime.

With all the domain stuff sorted, you can move on to the exciting bit – getting your website up and running.You need website hosting, design and development to create a company website you can show to the world.

Here at Radical, we do all of the above. We can even help you with domain name registration if you’re struggling to decide on a name or a registrar.

Get in touch with our friendly web experts to find out more.