The internet is big news. We don’t have to tell you that — you’re reading this online. You get it. But let’s lay down some facts and figures.
A recent survey by We Are Social and Hootsuite revealed that there are now 4 billion people around the world using the internet. That’s over half the population of the planet. And it’s growing.
The rise of affordable smartphones and data plans means that more of the world than ever can get online.
That’s a big audience to be missing out on if you don’t have a strong web presence.
Having a website is vital in the digital age, but some free hosting space from your ISP or an Angelfire website won’t cut it. While Angelfire might have been great for hosting fan pages and blogs in the noughties, it’s not ideal for showing your business to its full potential.
For that, you need a domain. A short, snappy web address that your potential customers and fans can use to find you quickly and efficiently.
Why Do I Need A Domain?
As a business, image is vitally important.
The internet has been in the news lately for all of the wrong reasons — security breaches and misuse of data has left everyone feeling jumpy and protective of their personal details.
A domain is a good way to gain trust in your brand. It’s a solid piece of real estate on the internet. It says you’re here to stay.
It’s a great way to build up a professional and credible image for your business, both online and offline. It sends out a message to your customers that you are an established, legitimate business and that they should put their trust in you.
Speaking of trust, there are a number of websites online that you may not want linked to your brand. As great as the internet is, we all know those sorts of websites. If you don’t register your business domain, then someone else could.
And no-one wants to find out that the brand they have worked hard to build up is suddenly linked to counterfeit goods or pornography. There’s very little you can do after the fact, so it’s a good move to reserve any linked domains as soon as you can to avoid this sticky situation.
A domain is your space. It’s a place to really showcase your values, services and the human side of your business. In a crowded market, people will always notice the business that has a unique perspective and your domain is your place to really shine.
Once you have your shiny, new domain up and running you should consider adding some video content - whether that’s an introduction to your brand, or a FAQ section. 51% of marketing professionals state that video is the content with the best ROI so why not let us show you how best to harness that power?
One further reason to have a domain is marketing. Knowing how to market is the key thing that’s going to help your business survive.
A domain can help hugely with this. It makes you visible and searchable. More than ever consumers are turning to the internet to explore businesses — whether it’s checking reviews, social media or shopping. By having a domain of your own, you can ensure that your website comes out on top when people Google you.
The Decline Of The .com
Once upon a time, holding a .com domain was the measure of your success and legitimacy as a business. It was the mainstay of a website, as important as the www.
The www has long been ditched, so isn’t it time to change the way you think about the .com too?
There are over 1.5 billion websites on the world wide web today, that’s a lot of people fighting for a unique, easily memorable domain name.
The chances are the domain name you’ve been coveting, has been coveted and bought by someone else.
Even if that’s not the case, a good .com name can cost upwards of $10k, and that’s a hefty sum for a small business.
But, it’s not bad news. Domain names are changing, and while a .com was once highly important, it’s not the case anymore.
In 2012 internet regulations changed which ended the restrictions on suffixes.
Peter Dengate Thrush, chairman of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), told reporters:
“We have provided a platform for the next generation of creativity and inspiration.”
And it’s true. By lifting the restrictions, people are getting creative, even music streaming service Spotify have got in on the domain hack market and registered spoti.fi.
It really is all about using your imagination to build the best brand image you can.
The Rise Of The .io
In the past, the .io domain was reserved for websites from the British Indian Ocean Territory. A group of mostly uninhabited islands somewhere between Tanzania and Indonesia.
The only inhabitants are around 2500 US and British military personnel and associated contractors so, as you might imagine, they don’t build an awful lot of websites!
The .io is gaining popularity with tech and startup businesses. There are multiple reasons for them turning away from the .com.
The tech and startup scene is a counterculture movement, so turning away from corporate bureaucracy is an attractive proposition. Adopting the .io and turning away from traditional suffixes is perfect for an industry that prides itself on being disruptive and innovative.
There are also practical reasons. A good name should be short, memorable and unique and in an oversaturated .com market that’s getting increasingly hard.
Why pay tens of thousands of pounds/dollars to get your second or third choice of .com when you can have your first choice of .io for a much more reasonable price?
It’s also a statement on your business. Adopting the .io is a strong indication that you’re in an innovative and forward-thinking tech or start-up business. This can foster a sense of understanding and empathy in the industry — which in turn gains trust.
And as things stand, trust is your most powerful currency as a small business.
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