There’s always something new that comes around and has everyone questioning if this is going to be “the thing” to make domain names irrelevant. First, it was changes to the Google algorithm (and every change since), and then it was the rise of social media, followed by apps, and URL shorteners. With every new challenge, the Internet prevails and domain names stay winning.
Google algorithm updates
The Internet used to be a strange place. Stranger than it is today, hard to believe I know. There has been a long-running debate on whether it’s better to use a keyword domain or a branded domain name for your business. When the Internet first began, many keyword domains were used for the sole purpose of advertising. Users would search a keyword like airlines directly in the browser and add .com at the end. This was known as direct navigation searches, and these domain names, premium domain names as we know them today. These searches would bring a ton of traffic to the lucky domain owners who had secured these keyword domain names early on. It wasn’t long before the domain owners began using them as parked pages that showed advertisements from other websites. Google quickly picked up on this and changed the Google algorithm to exclude landing pages for advertisements, and everyone thought the idea of making money on the Internet was over.
Today’s Internet users are more intentional with their searches. Someone today would never type a keyword and .com in the website browser unless they knew exactly what brand’s website they were going to end up on. Today we recognize that websites are an extension of our brand more than ever, which furthers the point that domain names stay winning. Even though domain owners no longer rely on the odd chance of gaining random direct navigation traffic, it does pay to have a short, premium domain name for your industry.
Social media originated as a place for the younger generation. We lived on Facebook until our parents took over. Facebook’s mission today is to connect people and foster meaningful interactions online which was gladly embraced by the older generation who craved these social interactions.
It was a seamless transition when Facebook ventured into a place for business. The perfect users were already there – small business owners, mom and pop shops who knew they needed an online presence but were intimidated by the world of domain names and hosting. This older generation doesn’t like to deal with learning anything new, they just want to go with what they know and are familiar with. Mastering how to use iPhones and emojis are enough of a challenge for them. With that everyone began to belive that social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram were going to replace domain names.
Social Media could never replace domain names because owning your own website is the only way for you to have complete control over your online presence. Social media users and business owners constantly complain about how changes to the algorithm that make it more difficult for them to get exposure and for followers to see the content they are putting out there. It becomes a vicious cycle of pouring money into corporations and social media advertising hoping to be seen. Once again, we are reaffirmed that domain names stay winning.
When apps first came out people were sure this was the future and that the Internet would become irrelevant. We probably only use a handful of the apps on our phone on a regular basis, but we visit dozens of mobile websites every day from our phones. With Google placing an emphasis on mobile-friendly responsive design, there is a new emphasis on investing in UX designers and the fact remains – domain names stay winning. Downloading apps is a hassle, having enough space for everything on your phone is a hassle, and finding them on your phone is a hassle (unless you’re one of those OCD people who color coordinates your app… in which case we are slightly terrified/impressed with you).
It may just be me personally, but I’ve never understood the allure of URL shorteners. Sure, there can be a time and a place for them, but when everyone was predicting they would dethrone domain names I knew it wouldn’t be so. We use them at 101domain when we want to direct people to our Google reviews. The link you have to follow to find out why people love us is obnoxiously long so we like to use a URL shortener 101d.mn/feedback. It’s decent but clearly, domain names stay winning. Your URL shortener will never say exactly what you want it to say unless you pay for the domain name. With premium domain names and cool country code domain hacks out there, URL shorteners don’t stand a chance. There’s not even a need for them on Twitter, now that long URLs don’t take up more characters than shortened ones.
The fact of the matter is that with every new trend that comes along, domain names stay winning. Domain names have become an essential part of doing business today. When your business and your domain name doesn’t match it creates a disconnect for your brand. If you need help getting started choosing the perfect domain name for your business, we have a guide for you.