By Stefano Maruzzi, Vice President EMEA, GoDaddy
2014 was dominated by the availability, for the first time, of new domain name extensions. New gTLDs (Top-level domains, like .com, .net or .org) create new online ‘real estate’. Geographic extensions such as .London and .NYC, and more generic names such as .Photography, .Expert and .Today changed the web forever, making it easier for businesses to create their own unique digital identity. But what trends will shape the next twelve months for those navigating the world of online business for the first time?
Here are some of the considerations and trends that I believe online businesses need to take into account for 2015:
Tailoring your digital identity for multiple audiences
Many businesses have been quick to capitalise on the availability of new TLDs. The new domains offer businesses a big opportunity to define themselves, launch new services or showcase the extent of their offering. A range of companies as diverse as West Ham United Football Club, Fortnum and Mason, Meantime Brewery and Metro Bank have already launched websites using the new .LONDON domain in 2014. I predict this will continue in 2015, with a greater number of businesses, both large and small, looking to link their company to physical locations or countries.
It will also be the year we are likely to see a growth in the number of domains a company has. This will enable them to tailor their digital identity to suit numerous audiences. For example, airlines offering trans-Atlantic flights could register both the nyc.london or london.nyc domains as a landing page for flight bookings.
2014 saw smartphones and tablets become the dominant devices for online browsing and spending. It also saw the ‘phablet’ rise to prominence, with the launch of the iPhone 6 and the continued success of larger devices from other manufacturers representing a wider shift away from the smaller phone norm.
As phones get larger, it becomes ever easier for consumers to browse and shop online, increasing the need for great looking mobile sites.
But businesses looking to optimise their website should look beyond just creating an effective UI – they should also consider geo referenced business info, hi-resolution imagery and video content, and social media integration to deliver a rich web experience directly into the palms of the consumer. The ability to make payments via mobile is also vital, and a professional, trustworthy site is essential if you want to convert a browser into a repeat shopper.
Marketing becomes more personalised
Marketing is becoming more regionalised, localised and personalised, and the Internet has levelled the playing field between small and large businesses. But if small businesses are to keep pace with more established brands, they will need to replicate how the bigger boys manage and market their global brands.
Personalisation is not a trend. It is a marketing revolution that is transforming how we think about, and manage, global brands. Companies will decentralise their structure and increase regional and local influence.
Small businesses have the chance to benefit from this in 2015. They have the speed, passion and urgency that larger businesses can’t match. They are agile and can act upon new ideas and opportunities, while creating a connection with their local customers that larger businesses simply cannot.