By Priya Kapoor, 1&1 Internet Ltd – The case for .London
There are 839,000 SMEs in London (employing 0-249 employees) according to figures from the 2013 “Business Population Estimates” published by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills. So how can SMEs make their business stand out?
The latest development set to transform the digital landscape is the emergence of new generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs). Providing endless opportunities for the way businesses can represent their web identity, up to 1000 new domain endings are being launched across themes including geographical location, subject area, business sector and website type. Domains such as .plumbing, .restaurant, .coffee and .shop have already launched, and UK firms are snapping them up. Last Summer we saw the release of the ‘.LONDON’ domain, giving London-based businesses a push by referring to London directly in their Web identity.
How can a Dot London name help your business?
London as a brand is in great shape. Following on from the London Olympics and Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, many would agree that in recent years London has gained a real confidence and pride in its identity. London is getting bolder in showcasing its brilliance as a city for business, leisure and studying.
Londoners have long trusted London suppliers above all others. For London firms, a Dot London domain will immediately establish their status within the Capital and association with London’s economic importance. For selling within London, Londoners are likely to be reassured that a supplier is local to them and part of the London Internet community, meaning the domain is expected to help customer loyalty.
When making Search Engine searches for suppliers or products in London, it is also very likely that a Dot London domain will be useful. The result will be great new potential for capturing traffic and developing their digital branding. Search Engines have indicated that if a new domain is reflective of a website’s content, it will indeed become a key ingredient in their delivering of the most relevant search results for consumers.
Furthermore, Dot London is set to be a great new boost in helping London firms to market and sell goods internationally. London enjoys a prestige image, and now London-based retailers and service providers can tap into this image.
How the new domains are performing
With over 67,000 registered names since it launched last year, the Dot London suffix has proved to be popular with some of London’s leading icons. This includes visitor attractions, ZSL London Zoo and Museum of London; the newest edition to the city’s skyline, Sky Garden; the Michelin starred Sketch restaurant and a number of co-working spaces that are helping to build London’s reputation as Europe’s leading tech hub.
Alex Kinchin-Smith, Director of Dot London, said: “People are realising the potential that Dot London has and are seeing what it can bring to their business and identity – a unique and stronger affiliation with the global London brand.”
What do London’s small firms think?
As a London based business, Yahire business owner, Taran O’Doherty, quickly identified an opportunity to raise the profile of his business with the new Dot London domain extension.
Registering several domains such as eventfurniturehire.london and linenhire.london, which are specific to the different branches of his business, O’Doherty was hopeful the domains would support a new target marketing approach. The domains were used to create micro sites for each of the specific entities Yahire offered.
Talking about the success he has seen since the launch of the domains, O’Doherty said:
“They’ve really helped us to be a leader in the hire industry. I can honestly say with our new Dot London domains we have had more enquiries. More people are now seeing our website.
Our sites are ranking well in search engines such as Google and we are getting many calls directly from the micro sites we created. In fact, from an SEO perspective the new domains have helped us – we’re ranking number 1 for many of our individual sites such as www.barrierhire.london. If you were to google barrier hire in London our new site is the first result within the organic search.
The new domains have given us more visibility, encouraging people to look at our main website.”
If you are London-based, you can now apply for your own Dot London web address from the 1&1 website