Let the battle of .co.uk vs .com commence. A guide for freelancers.

Building the website for your new freelance business can be quite exciting.

Your shop window will soon be visible to the world, and your business is suddenly real.

The excitement is often dampened by the tirade of questions and unknowns. Building your own website from scratch can be confusing if you’ve never done it before. And I know, from the questions I get asked, sometimes people feel demotivated because they stumble at the first hurdle… the domain name.

What is a domain name?

It’s simply the web address you type into your browser, specifically the bit after www. and before .com, .co.uk, or whatever else is there at the end. It’s also the bit that comes after @ in an email address.

My website address is www.clarifiedagency.com and my email is gareth@clarifiedagency.com. So my domain is simply clarifiedagency.

domain-description-image.png

The image above, and associated article from Moz, go into further detail to explain what domain names are.

It’s all about the TLD.

What we’re really talking about in this article is the TLD (top-level domain), as shown in the image above. There’s over a thousand of these to choose from. Here in the UK, I would only normally advise going for a .co.uk or a .com in most situations.

Go for both.

Search for your domains and you’ll see that the cost to register something is minimal. Buying both the .co.uk and the .com version is a good idea for a two main reasons:

  • There’s no confusion if someone types in the wrong one.

  • You protect yourself against a competitor buying the one you didn’t purchase.

So which one should I actually use?

If you buy both, you’ll still need to pick one that’s used for your website. The other will then be set up to forward to your website. My advice on this is a little more complicated.

Firstly, I would advise going for .com as your primary domain. It’s easier to remember, and recognised around the world as a ‘normal’ and trustworthy domain name.

However, for us UK-dwellers, we sometimes need to set ourselves apart. If you are competing with lots of international brands/people/services, you may want to ensure you’re shouting about the fact you are based in the UK. Using your .co.uk domain is a great way of doing this. Let people know you’re based in the UK from the moment you show up in a Google search.

Gareth K Thomas