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Choosing the right Domain strategy for your site

In the next blog in our series about expanding your business into new international markets we will cover how to decide which domain strategy is right for your business. If you’ve not yet read part one of this series about the options available to you as a business please read this here.

Getting this phase of your business expansion right can save you time and money and help to ensure that you are able to get the best results as quickly as possible in your new market. The core element of this stage of your move into a new market is to ensure that you get your domain right from the beginning and don’t find that you’ve chosen a domain strategy which hinders you in the future, or that you take a path which you have to change in the future.

The first element to the implementation of your domain strategy is your technical set up, so the first port of call should be a conversation with your development team to ascertain if there are any limitations to which strategy you can choose. Such limitations could be based on the CMS or server your site is hosted on. Having this conversation at the beginning of the process will ensure that you don’t go down the route of choosing a solution which isn’t available to your business, which could set your launch date back.

Deciding which route to take can be influenced by the market you are going into. So spend some time looking at what’s going on in the search engines in your chosen market to see if having a ccTLD (a country code Top Level Domain, such as .co.uk or .de) will benefit you. If you are working with an SEO agency they can help you review the benefits of doing this.

We’ve done a lot of this kind of research and have found that the results vary from country to country and in different industries, so it’s worth doing this kind of research for your specific business needs and not trying to use a “rule of thumb” to work this out.

If you are looking to expand your business into China or Russia or another region where Latin characters are not commonly used, it’s worth reviewing how the competitors are employing page names. In these markets you have two options, either to have Latin script page names or to have these URLs in the local script. Again, if most of the ranking pages have gone with scripted URLs this could be considered a ranking factor for your business. Once you’ve reviewed the search results in your chosen market and seen which domains rank best for your industry you can assess which solution you will use for your new market.

If you choose to go down the route of migrating a ccTLD site to a generic domain then you will need to consider a migration plan to ensure that you don’t lose any of the existing authority from your original site. In the next part of this blog we will cover the basics of this process. Keep posted to the Oban site in the next week for the next installment – or subscribe to our RSS feed.

‘Just a face in the crowd’ photo by Scott Cresswell