THE BLOG

Future-Proofing Your URL

24/07/2014 12:28 BST | Updated 21/09/2014 10:59 BST

The Internet is always changing, and for the most part we've grown accustomed to keeping up. With new website platforms and software updates occurring seemingly each day, adapting to the fast-paced Internet scene has become second nature. The latest change, however, is set to disrupt the very nature of the web, from how we search our favourite products online to how companies brand their websites.

Dot-com is undoubtedly today's most common top-level domain (TLD), currently taking up about 42% of all web addresses, but this is soon to change. Businesses are beginning to opt for new descriptive and customisable URL endings to suit their online business needs, and this will only increase further as companies become aware of all the advantages that come with owning a specific TLD.

In the coming months, hundreds of new TLDs are being created, all reflecting different regions, languages, and industries. The recent launch of .London, .Berlin and .Wien (Vienna) is only the very beginning of an entire revolution that will transform the Web as we know it. Already, thousands of businesses are jumping on the .London bandwagon and branding their websites with the location-specific TLD. Soon, it won't just be cities that brands can associate themselves with, but buzzwords as well such as .news or .travel.

So with this transformation already taking place, how can businesses be sure their website domain will keep up with the times?

The answer is still unsure, but there are some things that businesses should consider when choosing their web address ending.

While customisable domain names are on the rise, dot-com is not likely to disappear anytime soon. Some of the most important sites on the web are on dot-com domains, and it will be a long time before the big names already receiving high traffic give up their URL and switch over for localised options.

That being said, there are some clear advantages to more specific domain names, primarily when it comes to growing companies and SMBs.

First and foremost, a customised domain name makes your company more accessible. The web is limitless, and there are innumerable companies in your industry battling for visibility online. By differentiating your website from the countless other ones out there, you'll be making your website memorable, helping consumers to know exactly what they'll be getting from visiting your site. It will also make your website easier to find, as consumers are more likely to go directly to your site through its URL rather than relying on search.

Another way to look at your website domain name is to consider the branding opportunity that comes with a URL. Adopting the .London domain, for example, aligns your company with the brand of London. Doing this can benefit your business in many ways; ultimately, it will bring further appeal to your business from local customers, businesses, and all those who associate with the city.

A barber, for example, might choose to register a .London domain because it helps to personalise his brand and differentiate his business from the hundreds of others consumers have to choose between. Consumers viewing his website will know instantly that he is a local business, and that the service they receive will be unique to London, which is appealing to locals and visitors alike.

The introduction of new domain names has already taken off, and making sure your URL is future-proof is a challenge that all companies will need to contemplate if they want to stay on top of the times. Considering the audience you are trying to reach is a good first step to choosing your domain name. While some are still looking for the branding that comes with a dot-com address, choosing a generic web address ending could prove detrimental as people grow accustom to the new branch of TLDs.