Two domain extensions dominate the UK market. These are .co.uk and .com. And you probably know why: it’s because those two domain extensions are the ones people in the UK type in first when they’re looking for something.

However, there are loads of other domain extensions available too. And with ICANN’s forthcoming liberalisation of the domain market, we can expect to see a whole load more appearing in the next couple of years.

If you’ve never thought about registering other domain extensions before, it’s worth investigating. Sure, you might conclude that your website doesn’t need them. But equally, you might be able to use  them to capture more traffic, or target specific markets.

So here are a few reasons you should consider other domain names:

It shows international customers that you’re serious

If you’re running an online shop which allows international customers to purchase from you, consider registering local versions of your domain name. For instance, if you expect the products you sell to be popular in Italy, you could consider registering yourdomain.it.

If you don’t want to register loads of country-specific domains, but do plan to offer your goods internationally, you could consider a .eu extension instead. This extension for the European Union could help identify your business as one which is happy to do business across Europe.

(It’s worth noting that having the right domain name is a small part of going truly international with your business – check out our three part guide for some advice on what else you need to do.)

It keeps cyber-squatters at bay

Cyber-squatting is when unscrupulous individuals register misspellings of popular domain names to capture traffic when people enter the address incorrectly into their web browser. Some squatters purchase different domain extensions of well known brands. For instance, if your company trades under www.yourdomain.co.uk, a squatter might register www.yourdomain.eu.

You can obviously guard against squatters by registering variations of your domain name. We’ve got lots more information and advice.

It lets you pick up people who don’t know your primary domain

When you run a website, the law of averages dictates that some people will guess your domain name wrong. For instance, a couple of years back I started receiving emails which clearly weren’t meant for me. They were meant for a construction company with my surname, and the person sending the emails had got the domain name wrong.

Now, this wasn’t a security risk (unlike this chap, who received sensitive information in his emails), but it does demonstrate that people could be trying to contact you at another domain name, and you might never know about it.

It can help your search engine optimisation

Multiple domain names probably won’t, in themselves, help you capture more visitors from search engines. But if those domain names point at different websites (for instance, translated for each country you’re targeting), then you’ll be able to target a wider range of search terms and keywords with your sites.

It’s a good way to plan for the future

It’s hard to know where your business will be in a few years’ time. For instance, even if you don’t harbour any ambitions to trade internationally at the moment, you might spot an opportunity abroad that’s too good to ignore. So for an extra few pounds a year (a .eu domain only costs £6.99 for a year), it might be worth picking up some extra versions of your domain name.

Thinking about registering a new domain name? Try our domain search now.

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