By Simon Yeoman, Fasthosts Internet Ltd

Standing out from the crowd can be difficult; online it’s even tougher because of the large volume of competition so easily found with just a basic search. One corner of the world making their mark online is Wales. The Welsh Minister for Economy, Edwina Hart has even recently been quoted saying “Wales is punching above its weight on the world stage in terms of digital innovation”. A key emerging tool helping online marketers in Wales are new domains – such as .cymru and .wales.

A study commissioned by Fasthosts Internet found that 44 per cent of Welsh consumers expect the use of .cymru and .wales domains to speed up their online searches for local businesses and it’s obvious that many Welsh businesses are excited about the possibilities presented by the new Welsh domains too. The quick adoption of the two domains by many well-known Welsh businesses such as Portmeirion, S4C and the Welsh Rugby Union shows the existing support for .cymru and .wales domains.

If as a smaller business, you are still looking to make your mark on the world wide web, adopting one of these domains could mean that you can be found faster and more easily online. The addition of .cymru and .wales domains open up a flood of shorter, more memorable and descriptive domains without having to rely on dashes and abbreviations, so you can get a domain that describes your brand perfectly.

Ian John of OBI Camping & Leisure, an early adopter of the new .wales domain, says “We wanted to secure the obicampingandleisure.wales domain because more and more of our sales happen online via our website. We promote ourselves as a local welsh business and the .wales domain reinforces this, giving us a strong welsh identity, which is important for us.”

Research shows that 1 in 3 consumers prefer to use local firms, regardless of whether they are shopping in the high street or online. This strongly suggests new geographical domain names are an opportunity that shouldn’t be overlooked. They mean that smaller businesses can start to rival larger enterprises in search engine rankings, capture larger volumes of internet traffic and enhance digital marketing campaigns.

Tying a business to a place with a geographical domain establishes the brand or business as a part of that community. As a result of this, your brand inherits the characteristics of the location, whether it’s known for excitement and energy, bustle and enterprise or even its natural beauty. When people identify with a location and have loyalty or pride in it, they are more likely to support a business linked with it, resulting in excellent exposure for you.

Regional identity across the UK has been particularly well received by website owners, with demand for, wales, .cymru, .uk and .london all being especially popular and there are now high hopes for .irish which launches on the 25th June 2015.