Most companies look for a .com or a national top-level domains (TLD) when they first start up. But should companies and organisations only look for addresses based on geography? Is there an advantage to using more than one domain address?
New TLDs are on their way and will greatly increase the number of domain names available.
Good news for new businesses perhaps, because companies and organisations will be able to register a domain name for a specific interest; a place like .manchester or .scotland; or a subject like .house, or even .how!
But how can companies make sure they have a useful domain name strategy? Should companies have more than one domain name? And what else should businesses consider when deciding on a name that will be the foundation of their online presence?
We discovered that 64 per cent of SMEs own at least one domain name, either to include different languages, protect their company name, or in anticipation of growth. Traditionally companies have gone for a national, country code top-level domains; .co.uk or .de.
While this may be a good place to start, it can be limiting when a company wants to expand.
.eu covers the whole of the European Union, so you can add this to your national address, start in your local market and then expand to other EU countries when the time is right for you.
In addition, recent market research has revealed that users look for a trustworthy quality domain address, rather than a gimmick.
Businesses targeting consumers should also consider their need for reassurance about the company they buy from, or the organisation they engage with online. Your domain address needs to clearly signal to your customers that you are a legal entity and are therefore subject to trading standards.
So, to benefit from multiple domain names consider which suffix suits your business best, for example:
- What’s the online reach of your business; do you want it to be local, sector-specific or international?
- Remember to think large enough from the beginning and pick a top-level domain that leaves you room to grow.
- Think not only about the reputation of your company, but also the reputation of the suffix. Is it reputable and trustworthy? Is it favoured by other businesses? How well-known is it compared with other TLDs?
For the domain name itself:
- Consider variations for different regions. Is it important that your domain name is the same in each region?
- What are the internal possibilities; does your email address need to be the same as your website across the company?
- Have you investigated the security issues; for example, will there be any overlapping with internally used SSL certificates?
We think that even with the arrival of the new TLDs, country-specific addresses will remain important for businesses. Increasingly including a .eu TLD acts as a statement of intent; it registers ambition and tells an SME’s customers that it means business.
Marc Van Wesemael is general manager of EURid.
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