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How creating the right web address for your business can make all the difference

Dot London spoke to Elite Business magazine about how picking the perfect domain name, entrepreneurs can give their businesses’ brand a real power boost.

The introduction of new Top-Level domain (nTLD) names has made it easier to create the right web address for your business. A good web address can help you build a brand that will stick in your customer’s minds and instil confidence, whereas being too complicated or vague can scare people off.

Some old goodies

Before the launch of nTLDs, businesses could still be creative with their web addresses, despite their limited choices. For instance, the lifestyle brand TOAST made good use of the official country code domain name for the Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Principe – .st – by creating the catchy and memorable web address www.toa.st.

Another popular pre-nTLD era domain name was .travel, giving travel and tourism businesses freedom to be more specific about what sector they represent. This includes tourism board Cape Town Tourism, touring company VIVID Travel and governing bodies like the National Association of Travel Agents Singapore who were all able to venture beyond the dry and bureaucratic choices of .org or .gov.

Say what you do

The great thing about nTLDs is that there’s plenty to choose from so the chances of you getting the name you want is very high. With that freedom of choice some of the new domain names allow businesses to clearly say what they do by creating easily understandable web addresses. Your web address is an important part of your overall branding plan, so keeping it short and memorable – up to one or two words – is crucial.

An example of this is Normanton Church, the popular wedding venue, that has opted for the web address www.normantonchurch.wedding. Other businesses using domain names to help state their business sector include Light Box, the photography-darkroom company, which opted for the catchy address www.lightbox.photo; Ignition, the law firm, that choose www.ignition.law; and The Industry, online fashion-industry magazine, that left no one doubting what it was all about with the domain name www.theindustry.fashion.

The hospitality industry is also picking up the trend so customers can tell what they are purely from their web address. The London pub Ladywell Tavern is using the very simple and effective web address www.ladywell.pub and Federation, the Brixton-based coffee house, has picked www.federation.coffee. These send a definite message to people seeing their web addresses, telling them exactly what their businesses are about.

Say where you’re from

An effective way of instilling confidence and trust in customers is showing where you’re from, especially if you’re a service providing business. People feel more comfortable dealing with a local business and enjoy the feeling of helping their local economy. To help gain that trust you can use specific city domain names, such as .london. They can be used by local gyms, estate agents, restaurants or even dog-grooming parlours. Michelin starred chef Eneko Atxa chose to use a London web address for his first London-based restaurant, Eneko at One Aldwych, and luxury health club Third Space is similarly using a London web address for all of its spaces, which can be easily found at www.thirdspace.london.

A location-based web address is equally useful for events, such as the West-End show The Birthday Party and the annual drum and bass festival Hospitality in the Park that both use .london in their website. The same goes for venues like the intimate Soho-based Borderline and the vast state-of-the-art events space ExCeL London.

Having the power of a world-renowned city brand attached to your business is a good reason to opt for a city-based domain name ahead of the other suffixes. As well as London, some other major cities are boasting their own domain names, including Paris, Tokyo and Berlin. Manifest, the creative agency, has relished the opportunity to localise their web addresses and strengthening their local links by using different city domain names for each of their offices in London, Paris and Stockholm.

Something a bit different

One of the new domain names that’s proven to be very popular across the globe is ‘.club’. It’s a generic word that has a universal appeal and can be used for a number of organisations, from local London-based sports clubs like Hampstead and Westminster Hockey Club to the high-end Speedo Fitness Club on Bondi Beach.

You can also stick in people’s minds with a bit of humour, as Scotland-based waste management and septic tank services business, Grant Henderson Tankers, have done by using Italy’s country domain name. They decided to use the domain name to create an email address that suitably describes what they do – ‘info@wemovesh.it’.

When choosing your domain name it’s worthwhile looking at options beyond the obvious, because there are a lot of them. Think about how you can ensure that your customers either understand what you do or know where you’re from and ultimately trust you so that you can build a strong and meaningful relationship with them. Don’t feel that you need to rely on just the one domain name as your business might expand and your mission statement might change over time, so it’s always good to be prepared with the right domain name for the occasion.