So what is a domain name?
A domain name is the bit that follows the www or http:// in web addresses or the @ symbol with email addresses. Domain names are translated by the Domain Name System (DNS) into an IP address; the location where your website or email server is found on the internet.
As a business why should I care about domain names?
First and foremost a domain gives you control because it allows you to change your website and email hosting providers as your business needs evolve without having to change your address.
Customers also see businesses that use domain names for website addresses and email as more professional and trusted.
Domains should form part of any branding strategy. Are you a New Zealand business or a global one? Do you want to highlight your .nz origins to the global market? A domain can help reinforce with potential customers the type of business you wish to be perceived as.
How does Google treat domain names?
Google have released a post that helps provide clarity about how generic Top Level Domains and Country Codes are treated when it comes to weighting results in search.
What domain name should I use?
There is an abundance of choice when it comes to choosing a domain name, so many that it can get confusing as to which ones you should use. In addition to the country code top level domain extensions (ccTLD), you can now choose from over 800 (and counting) generic Top Level Domain (gTLDs).
With all this choice it’s best to be strategic and start with some high level questions:
What kind of business do we want to be perceived as? .nz for example clearly helps businesses leverage the ‘NZ Inc’ brand. Some of the new top level domains on the other hand may provide opportunity for businesses to target a specific vertical market. And .com remains as the elephant in the room as a default decision for many global businesses.
What do our customers trust and look for? Most internet traffic is driven via online search queries and as part of the process customers instinctively go through a selection process that includes filtering content in part based on the domain extension. Wild Rivers Rafting use a .nz name to show inbound tourists that they are a New Zealand business and relevant to their search.
Use one domain name or several? If you want to have content that is specific to different audiences, then there are pros and cons to considering how to implement this. Helala Vanilla for example implemented multiple domain names with clear strategic intent. Google also have some useful advice on this.
Once you have some clarity on which domain extension(s) you want to use the next step is to find a name that is available. From there ,the next steps are to put your domain name to use as your email and website address. If you are not sure on how to do this, seek some technical support to ensure things are set up correctly.
Whatever your business, we are behind you.