06/02/2012

By Thomas Darre Medard Frederiksen, Chief Operating Officer, One.com

The internet has helped level the playing field and enabled small businesses to compete for the vast sums that are spent online each year. British shoppers spent £31.5bn online in the first half of 2011 alone. Thomas Darré Medard Frederiksen, COO at One.com discusses the value of a domain and offers some tips on selecting the best domain name for your business.

In the internet age, many customers’ first interaction with your business will be online. This makes it vital that your website is easy to find and navigate. For this reason, domain names have become big business, with social.com for example being sold for $2.6m in 2011.

Domain names can be bought for just a few pounds, some are sold for millions but for most businesses the value of a domain name lies in the connection to the customer. A well thought out and appropriate domain name will become more valuable over time as a business grows, traffic to the site increases and the page ranking of the website increases. These are all factors that could increase the value of your business upon sale.

A great deal of thought should be put into selecting the right domain name for your business, ensuring it is easy to remember, search for and find. The following three points should be considered when selecting a domain name:

1. Easy to remember

This is possibly the most important point to consider when selecting a domain name for your business. It should be simple to remember, spell and communicate. A complicated domain name with alternative spellings, for example cars4u, will make it harder for prospective customers to remember and find in search engines. A domain that is harder to find will often result in the web user clicking on competitor sites during the search, leading to a possible dropoff in traffic. Remember, less is more so keep it clear, simple and to the point.

2. Descriptive

A descriptive domain name is easier to find and understand. This also helps to set and fulfill user expectations. Although a whimsical name may sound interesting, if it doesn't describe what the user can expect to find on the site it will be much harder to remember and find. The main aim of a website is to enable current and prospective customers to find information about a business that will eventually lead to a sale. If a domain name cannot be found this will not happen. Descriptive domains also fare better in the SEO race, and as more than three quarters of Google users never click past the first three results it is clear that a descriptive domain is the way to go.

3. Extension

ICANN has recently begun accepting applications for new Top-Level Domains (TLDs), however for most businesses the existing TLDs are sufficient. Generally, .COM domains are more favourable than .NET or .INFO as they have a much broader reach than the other extensions. Of course, they are often much harder to obtain but it is easy to find out what is available when you begin contemplating your domain name. It is recommended that you secure the .COM and .CO.UK of your domain in the first instance as this will help secure your web identity and protect your business and brand.

Selecting a domain name is a vital step in the growth of a new business. A well chosen domain name will help broaden the company’s reach and, when combined with interesting content and a solid service/product it can be a winning formula. Consider all the options, take into account current offerings as well as future plans and select a domain name that will grow as you do.

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