Even if you are not intending to create a website for your business immediately, you'll probably be using email and want to have a presence on the web at some point in the future. This could be a single webpage advertising your business and giving contact details, or it could be a site that allows customers to browse through products, place orders and make payments online.
For further information see website hosting options.
Choosing a domain name
The website address - for example, my-new-business.co.uk - is known as a domain name. For most businesses based in the UK, a name ending with .co.uk is suitable. Your email address will normally include this name - for example, email@example.com.
Businesses and individuals that meet certain criteria can apply for the .eu domain extension - for example, www.my-new-business.eu.
If your business is active in other European Union countries, the .eu domain name can help you market your company as a pan-European business. The European Registry of Internet Domain Names (EURid) provides guidance on how to register .eu domain names.
You cannot have a domain name that is the same name as a company registered with Companies House.
Brexit and .eu domain names
EURid has confirmed the decision to revoke .eu domain names belonging to UK registrants after the UK leaves the European Union. The revocation will happen whether the UK exits with or without a deal. GOV.UK provides full guidance on .eu domain names - what you need to do if there's no Brexit deal.
Registering your domain name
- Decide on a suitable domain name for your website - if you are unable to use one that exactly matches your business name. You can use numbers as well as letters. Hyphens can be used to separate words - but you can't include spaces, full stops or other punctuation. It's a good idea to have a few alternative names in case your first choice has already been taken.
- Check whether the name is available - you can check if your chosen domain name is available with Nominet, the official registry for UK domain names.
- Register the name - this is a simple process which you can carry out online with any registration agent. Nominet provides further information on domain names.
Structure your business
Name your business
Register your business
Choose your premises