When you decide on a domain name (www.your-business.co.uk), to use for your website, it’s not a decision you should take lightly. In fact, we’d go as far as to say that it could have significant long-term implications for your business.
Firstly, let’s look at the two types of domain name you could choose – there are actually a few more but these are the most common.
Type 1 – Location & Industry Domain Names
This is typically where the location and/or business type are included in the domain name, for example:
Type 2 – Brand Domains
If the company simply uses a brand in the domain name, for example:
Short-Term Gain, Long-Term Pain
There has historically been some advantage in having a domain name that includes your business location and/or industry sector as the search engines such as Google, Bing, etc have given increased ranking credit for such domains.
For example, the domain name www.SurreyHouseClearance.co.uk still ranks highly in Google.co.uk if you enter the search term ‘Surrey House Clearance’, despite the website itself having very little in the way of content. So, if you happen to run a house clearance company in Surrey then it could be argued that having such a domain will give your website an advantage over your competitors as it will rank higher.
In the short-term, there is certainly an advantage to using a location/industry related domain name however, that initial advantage comes at a price. Consider these factors:
- What if the company want to change business direction and target other markets? For example, what if Allied Builders want to start offering a plumbing service? As a consumer, if you were looking for a Plumber online, would you click on a link for a company that patently states that they are Builders? Probably not.
- What if you need to move premises or want to expand your target area? Again, if you include a location in your domain name such as www.SurreyHouseClearance.co.uk, what happens if you want to relocate your business to Hampshire where business rates and rents are typically cheaper? Equally, if somebody is searching online for a house clearance firm in Hampshire, are they going to click a link for a company that patently states in it’s domain name that it is Surrey-based? Again, probably not.
Think About The Brand
Let’s look at a few examples of what could have happened if a few major web-based businesses had decided to use location/industry related domain names rather than a brand-based domain name:
- Amazon.com – now one of the biggest online retailers in the world but what if they’d called themselves ‘BuyBooksOnline.com’ or ‘OnlineBookStore.com’? As Amazon’s original business model was to become the World’s largest online retailer of books, you could easily have imagined that using an industry related domain would have made sense. But where would Amazon be now if they had? Could they have used either of the above examples as their domain and still sell the myriad of products they do today? We don’t think so.
- Facebook.com – Now with over 645 million users, Facebook was originally founded in Cambridge, Massachusetts as a way for college students at Harvard University and laterlly the Boston area to share information. What if Mark Zuckerberg had decided to use the domain name ‘BostonStudentBook’, or ‘HarvardStudents.com’? It’s difficult to see how Facebook would ever have reached the masses if Zuckerberg had thought small when choosing a domain/brand for his new website venture.
So Where Do You Want To Go?
Ultimately, we all assume that anyone who sets-up a business wants it to grow and become more successful. If your aspirations are no more than to run a small business in a very specific niche or sector then by all means, a location/industry related domain name will help your business in that sector.
However, if you want the ability to diversify and grow, not to mention add real value to your business then a brand-based domain is really the only way forward.
For more information about choosing the right domain name, feel free to give us a call on 01252 416 222 or you can use the contact form on the right of this page.