Why did we go .co?
In February 2015 we moved our website to the gibson.co domain.
For nearly 12 years we’d been busy over at thisisgibson.com, our original domain name. Whilst it had a good spoken rhythm, it meant that clients sometimes referred to us as This is Gibson. Which is understandable, if they didn’t have a business card or invoice in front of them, with our logo on it.
The old domain worked well but it was never going to be as pithy as gibson.com or gibson.co.uk. Both of those were in use when we opened for business. Inventing a new and unique name for the practice was always an option, given that we develop brand names for clients all the time. We could certainly have guaranteed ourselves a .com address, but Gibson was the preferred (if obvious!) choice back in 2003.
In early April 2010, the .co domains were launched in the US to some almighty noise. The new .co domain was going to be blessed with TLD (top level domain) status and was marketed as the new alternative to .com. By June 2011, more than a million .co domains had been registered in over 200 countries and territories worldwide. By January 2014, that number had reached over 1.6 million. Now that’s tiny compared to over 100 million registered .coms, but we’re Brits and we thrive on a little eccentricity.
Since the release of the .co domains there have been discussions all over the web about what makes a good, memorable domain name. They go something like this: Do we need the www bit anymore? Probably not. Isn’t .com the daddy of all domains? In a US-centric world view, maybe, but the world’s a big place. Can people remember your alternative to .com? Of course, they can. They probably won’t need to, if we’re showing them a hyperlink or a printed document. Has that .co had an ‘m’ snipped off? Stick it in a browser and find out.
Very occasionally someone does ask ‘Is it really just .co?’ and we have a little chat. That can only be a good thing because our domain then sticks in that person’s brain and we’ve started a new relationship.
And SEO? Google ranks .co domains perfectly well, if the content is well written and properly targeted. Our domain is no less effective, in SEO terms, than our old one. One web page here in particular is a featured snippet on Google searches.
The .co discussion is really just the beginning. Take a look at any of the domain registrars and you’ll see that you can now buy a wide range of different types of domain (not to mention the TLDs).
Here’s a handful for an imaginary brand:
Choosing a domain name that is a perfect fit for your organisation is now a lot easier. And if it’s not a traditional .com? So what. That’s a positive point of difference in itself. Don’t be timid with your branding.
There is no status quo on the web. That’s the joy of it — it’s always evolving.