A local domain name is important

Nomensa reports that ‘the .co.uk domain name is now an essential part of a company’s brand presence in the UK’, according to research by Sedo (a global domain name marketplace, funnily enough).

I’m not that surprised, really. For many global companies, for example, a regional domain name is a key part of their localisation strategy.

Inspires trust and creates credibility

The Nomensa article goes on to say that ‘the research, undertaken at Internet World 2009 revealed that two thirds of respondents said the domain extension inspired trust and security in a website’s credentials. In addition, 45 per cent of respondents highlighted that .co.uk was their primary domain’.

You’ll notice that this website’s domain name is .co.uk too, which was a deliberate choice on my part. I freelance from Spain and I felt sure that a .es domain name would put some potential clients off, rightly or wrongly (well, wrongly in fact).

Also, I think (correct me if I’m wrong) but .co.uk sites rank more highly in an English-language search …

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‘Thoughtful, investigative pieces don’t work on the web’

An interesting article on the Guardian’s website today. Aida Edemariam looks at the issue of search on the internet and how this influences online writing in contrast to offline articles.

This, of course, links in to how content for the web must be structured differently in general. Unfortunately, she thinks it makes ‘depressing reading’, interpreting it as meaning that ‘long, thoughtful, investigative pieces don’t work [on the web]’.

‘Write great content’

She quotes Paul Roach, the Guardian’s head of SEO, who says that for successful search results, ‘you just have to write great content’. Good advice. She then refers to the following advice from Jakob Nielsen:

“Stick to simple presentation formats in all ways: a logical progression of the story, mainly active sentences, simple words, short sentences, and a plain, scrolling page. Also, keep people looking down the page by scattering attractive elements throughout the page in the form of subheads and bulleted lists.”

Edemariam concludes that: ‘Short pieces work. Lists work even better. Long, thoughtful, …

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Who are you writing for?

This is the first question all writers (should) ask themselves before putting finger to keyboard.

When you know who you’re writing for, you can create an article that’s relevant and interesting – quality content for your readers.

At the most basic level, online writers usually consider two main audiences – people and computers. Humans and spiders. Your readers and the search engines.

By writing primarily for one audience (your readers) you can also satisfy the other (the search engines).

If you create a targeted article for a specific group of readers, it is likely that it will be keyword-rich fodder for the search engine spiders.

Readers are also more likely to share the article with their peers and link to it – something else the spiders look for when searching out results.

But when you begin to write for the search engines, rather than your readers, your writing becomes less useful.

As Copyblogger says this week, ‘it’s only natural that once your readers realise you are no longer providing quality content and shifting instead to …

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