8th December 2014 Web 0 comments

In 2014, Nominet announced the biggest news to UK domain names since the launch of the ‘.co.uk’ suffixes.

Registration is now open for .uk domain names giving us shorter, more memorable web addresses. Effectively the compulsory ‘.co’ part has been dropped meaning you can now register ‘example.uk’ instead of only ‘example.co.uk'.  This brings us more in line with other countries like France with .fr and Germany with .de.

Nominet CEO Lesley Cowley said. “We’re excited to offer the option of a shorter, snappier domain name that we believe will appeal to both our existing customers and the businesses and bloggers of tomorrow.”

A recent Nominet survey of UK business decision makers found that 72% thought direct ‘example.uk’ registrations should be an option, while only 2% thought they shouldn’t.

All Nominet’s existing domains (.co.uk, .org.uk, .net.uk, .me.uk, .plc.uk, .ltd.uk and sch.uk) will continue to run as normal.

Those with the respective .co.uk versions have first rights to the .uk equivalent until 2019 at which point it will be released to the open market for registration.

Shorter is Sweeter

It means we can now place more emphasis on the brand and cut out some of the ‘technical noise’ from domain names. It looks cleaner and should be easier to remember for your consumer.

There are also further steps to make your address even shorter by implementing the following changes:

Drop the www

If the DNS records have been setup correctly you can lose the ‘www’ from your URLs making the non ‘www’ version the default. Make sure to redirect one to the other to prevent duplicate content and usability issues.

Drop the http://

Most web browsers autofill the protocol element ‘http://’ on behalf of the user meaning you do not need to mention this when citing your web address.

With the 3 steps above you can go from http://www.example.co.uk to example.uk. A much shorter, cleaner and user friendly online identity. It also means you can fit more on to your print and offline marketing material!

What does this mean for your Online Marketing?

Google has stated that it will treat all new domain extensions equally and rank each website based on its own merits. Google does however assign country specific extensions to their respective international markets. For example .fr has more prominence in France and .co.uk / .uk extensions are favoured in Google UK.

Consumers Trust UK Websites

Research shows that TLDs influence our shopping and browsing habits and in fact, three quarters of people in the UK prefer websites ending with .uk when searching or buying online. So if your company is using a General Top Level Domain such as a ‘.com’ but you are a  UK based business, then maybe now is a good time to migrate.

Take Care When Migrating Domains

It is not something to be afraid of but the process must be handled sensibly. We have witnessed unfortunate circumstances due to botched domain migrations without measures being put in place. It is not wise to switch over your website without expert help first. Common issues include 404 / “Not Found” errors for users and loss in rankings and traffic due to “starting fresh” in Google.

Google provides a change of domain process which enables you to transfer all existing authority and backlink equity over to the new domain name. As long as the correct measures are put in place the process can be almost seamless for the end user.

.UK The Patriot of Digital United Kingdom

Here at GWS Media, we are an official Nominet registrar meaning we can register your new domain directly for you. We can explain the pros and cons of making the switch to assist you in making a decision.

If you are ready to become a forward thinking, UK web pioneer then get in touch with our marketing team for advice. Alternatively, see the official DotUKLaunch for further information.