What’s the big deal about domain names?
Back in 1985, the year the first ‘.com’ domain was registered, there were reportedly a grand total of six registered domain names in existence. The Domain Name System (DNS) was officially up-and-running, which meant no more having to remember a long string of numbers (remember that?!)
Now, fast forward to more than 30 years later, and the domain name arena is packed full of hundreds-upon-millions of different domain names, of all different variations. The most well-known are generic top-level (gTLD) and country code top-level domains (ccTLD).
The domain name arena is a place that’s also seen, and will continue to see, lots of trends come and go, such as the creation of new restricted domains, such as ‘.london’ or more ‘creative’ top-level domains, such as ‘Bit.ly’ and ‘About.me.’
With this world of increased variation comes a world of opportunity for many businesses
As a result of today’s digital era, customers’ first exposure to businesses is increasingly online these days. According to Retailing Today, 81 per cent of shoppers conduct online research before making big purchases.
Which is where domain names come in.
They’re not just simply an internet address, they’re a key tool in helping businesses create a strong online brand identity. They’re also the first thing website visitors notice, so it’s important they give off the right first impression. As well as their initial impact, domain names are also crucial to the long-term success of a website.
With the right domain name, businesses can:
- Set the right tone for their organisation
- Easily stand out in people’s minds
- Enhance their credibility by linking their online brand with the rest of their branding
So, what makes a good domain name? While there’s no right or wrong way to picking out your domain name, there are some best practice steps you can follow to ensure you achieve the points listed above, at the very least.
For instance, the shorter your domain name, the better. Not only are shorter domains easier to remember, they’re obviously quicker and easier for people to type into their browsers (which is vital given the increasingly fast-paced society we now find ourselves in where time is of the essence). It’s precisely why we opted for bbpress.uk, rather than the ‘more traditional’ bbpress.co.uk and why so many companies with longer names, use acronyms for their domains.
Just because shorter is generally better in the domain world, doesn’t necessarily have to mean that businesses can’t be creative with their domains. Yes, the character restriction does makes it slightly trickier to be creative, but it’s not impossible. Dropping vowels, misspelling words, using other top-level domain names, such as ‘.be’ and ‘.ly’ and including call to actions - like getpocket.com have done - are just some of the tactics businesses are using to jazz up their domain names, so to speak.
Domains can also be used by businesses to really promote their area of expertise. For instance, if they work in the property sector, then they might want to consider using ‘.home’ or if they specialise in the art world, then they might want to use .’art.’ There’s also the location-based domains to consider too, such as ‘.yorkshire’ – the list is endless.
So, going back to the question we posed in the headline, ‘What’s the big deal about domain names?’ The deal is, they are a big deal, regardless of the size or scale of your business or the sector in which you operate. Domains provide online visitors with that all important gateway to your online presence and can make all the difference between people clicking on your site and clicking away.
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