A survey of 615 British businesses revealed that the average business spends only between 6-12 hours choosing its main domain name. Some 61 per cent of business owners sought no second opinion before making a selection and over half did not consider options such as .biz, .net or .eu at all.
Most recognised that their domain name could have a lasting effect on their business, with one third of businesses believing that their revenue would improve as a direct result of having a better web address, and 1 in 4 businesses admitting they had concerns about the effectiveness of their web address.
Fasthosts' SME Domain Choices Study, found that UK businesses most often choose their primary domain name in haste. Some 41 per cent of businesses surveyed spent the same time selecting their domain as they did sourcing minor equipment such as their coffee maker or shredder (under 1 hour).
The average UK business admitted to spending between 6-12 hours on the decision, the same amount of time the average business spent selecting IT equipment such as PCs and printers. More than 60 per cent of business owners did not even seek a second opinion, and only 10 per cent of businesses considered the long term effect of the web address wording on their business image.
It is therefore unsurprising that many British businesses believe that their choice of domain name could have been better. 1 in 4 businesses admitted to wanting improvements in either their domain name wording or suffix. Furthermore, a significant 33 per cent believe that their sales revenue would improve as a direct result of a change in web address.
Alarmingly, some 1 in 4 of these businesses said they were unwilling to attempt a change in domain name because they believed it would involve a lot of work. There is a clear danger that a number of businesses continue to use an undesirable domain name whilst recognising it could be having a negative impact on their business.
Fasthosts' research would suggest that the way many businesses choose their web addresses could be improved. The survey found that most business owners were preoccupied with .co.uk or .com options, with over half ruling out completely less obvious suffixes such as .net, .biz or .eu. Fasthosts recommends that businesses spend at least a few days thinking about their domain name wording and weighing up the pros and cons of the various suffixes available to them.
Mark Jeffries, CTO Fasthosts Internet, commented, 'businesses should consider all available options before purchasing their primary domain name. It's often the case today that the best available domains belong to less obvious suffixes, and it is always advisable to seek external opinion on what a domain could suggest about your business.'
Whilst most UK small businesses now recognise the benefits of having a website, the research would suggest few are optimising their web presence. Some 5 per cent of business owners surveyed admit to having themselves forgotten their own domain name.
Jeffries added, 'a web address is often bought in haste at the start of a business project. Every UK business must recognise the lasting impact that a domain name can have on sales and image, and business owners shouldn't delay making necessary changes.'