The .uk domain explained: What it is and how it could impact your business
You might not have paid much attention to the end of a domain name. But for most people, the domain name of a website is used to indicate where the organisation is from and improve search engine rankings. In the UK, most domain names finish in ‘.co.uk’, ‘.org.uk’ or ‘.net.uk’.
Remembering a website’s address can be difficult, and it is common for people to forget the domain name of it. Even if you have a well-designed website, people need to be able to find it. SEO is an important way to get you found, but some people rely on their memory.
According to the rules from the global domain name system, the same characters before the dot (or the ‘string’) can be used by different organisations with different endings. This can be a problem for some organisations as it can cause confusion amongst people who are looking for their website.
The .uk domain
The .uk domain is shorter and snappier than the current domain names which most people use. It is easier to remember that the more long-winded domain names, often shortening a web address.
The . uk domain has only been available for just under the last five years and Nominet – the business who is responsible for the . uk domain name is keen to remind people with existing ‘.co.uk’ and other domains that the deadline is looming for them to claim their ‘.uk’ domain.
Ask any online business expert about the power of a good domain name, and they will tell you that it is important to be memorable and easy to use for marketing and promotions. That means simple yet powerful. And this is a particular strength of .uk
In terms of customers finding you, .uk has more benefits. Most countries around the world have an ending based on this model. This means that people from all over the world are more likely to look for you at ‘whattheythinkisyourwebsite.uk’ than any other. If you don’t have a ‘.uk’ name, therefore, they might not find you, or, worse, they could find your competitor first.
Changes in .uk Domains
Nominet has been implementing the change to ‘.UK’ for the past five years. Anyone who has a ‘.co.uk’, ‘.org.uk’, ‘.net.uk’, ‘.me.uk’, ‘.plc.uk’ or ‘.ltd.uk’ domain are able to register to get the ‘.uk’ domain. That is until 25th June 2019. This has been running since June 2014 and now an estimated over 2 million people have registered for their rights of having a .uk domain.
If you have one of the domain names above, you can find out what your options are if you are wanting to claim your ‘.uk’ domain. You can visit Nominet’s website and use their checker to see what the situation is:
- You will have the right to claim you .uk domain name
- The .uk domain will have been claimed already
- You will be able to register for the domain name but with no rights
If you have the rights to register the domain, just get in touch with your domain registrar (the person who you registered your first domain name with), or you can transfer it over to a different registrar (speak to your hosting provider to find out how).
In July, all of the unregistered domains which had previously been ‘reserved’ will be up for grabs, and Nominet has been in touch in as many ways that they can to get website holders informed.
If you have a domain that you like and don’t want to change, you also have the option to not change anything and carry on exactly as you were.
Why should you claim your .uk domain?
It really is up to you whether you want to claim your .uk domain. However, experts are predicting that those which are not claimed by your legitimate business are likely to be snapped up by unscrupulous people who might want to trick people or carry out fraudulent activity.
This could become a problem when you find people pretending to be you, and, as they are expecting an influx of complaints when this comes into practice, it might take a while to become resolved.
It is important that as many people as possible know about this change so that businesses and other organisations can make an informed decision about whether they want to embrace it or not. It means that businesses can take advantage of the benefits of the introduction of .uk, or at least be aware of the potential problems that could occur if they don’t.
If you haven’t registered your .uk domain and feel that you have the right to, time is running out, so get it done today!
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