For SMEs looking to open or grow their businesses, having an engaging and easy-to-find website is essential. But have you ever thought about a local domain name? More and more business owners are claiming local domains like .sydney – finding a way to align their brand with Sydney, Australia’s biggest city and leading cultural and business hub, and get more customers at the same time.

Make your business local

For SME owners, getting your business noticed by the right potential clients is the key to success. Choosing a strong domain name is the perfect place to start.

It is important that it’s memorable, clearly demonstrates your goals and sets your business apart from others.

For business owners like Tristan Fung, state manager of the nine-location, NSW-based International Wing Chun Academy, having a local domain name has given him the competitive edge.

According to Mr Fung the domain name means that every word of the address is relevant and it gets to the heart of the services his company is offering.

The .sydney domain was launched a relatively short time ago, and since then an increasing number of SMEs are discovering that it is a great way to tap into the ‘Sydney’ story of tourism, culture and business. Owning a .sydney domain name creates a direct link between your business and local residents or those who plan to visit. Importantly, it also increases the searchability of your website – making it easier for the right customers to find you.

Going local online for SMEs

If you are an SME considering obtaining a local domain name, the good news is that it is relatively straightforward.

When “going local” it’s important to consider the following:

  • Ensure that your domain name is clear about what you do and sells your area of expertise.
  • Use your bespoke domain as a central plank of your social media strategy.
  • Do use real words and relevant industry terms so you are easily searchable.
  • Don’t forget that your domain is a way of making an emotional connection with customers.
  • Don’t overload customers with too much information.

Cornering a market

For Mr Fung, deciding to invest in a local domain name was a no-brainer.

“When the .sydney domain space first launched I jumped at the opportunity to seize a domain name with a relevant and widely recognised keyword like ‘kung fu’. I was also drawn to the fact that it includes a location in the address, which I thought would allow us to engage with our customers from the Sydney region,” he says.

But Mr Fung wanted not only an engaging domain name, he also wanted one that gave him results and return on his investment.

“When I first registered I was very interested to test the effectiveness against our existing URL. For three months I ran a test through Google AdWords. I created two ads with exactly the same line and ad copy,” he says.

“I was very surprised to find that the ad had a click-through rate 86 percent higher than our existing ad. This translated into a significant increase in unique visitors to our website and 100 percent increase in online class bookings.”

Mr Fung says that the local domain name has allowed him to corner his market, get more people into his studios and turn them into long-term customers.

“We are getting more than twice the number of people in the door, and I can attribute that directly to the domain name. It’s more remarkable and more relevant,” he says.

Having a strong, brand-centric and searchable domain name is essential to building and growing your small business. Choosing to invest in a local domain name like .sydney can make you stand out from the pack and ensure that your business thrives by attracting both local and visiting customers.