Going global is the dream for many businesses. But how do you ensure your business' web presence is well-suited to overseas expansion? The experts at Verisign share tips. This article is sponsored by Verisign as part of Enterprise Nation's Go and Grow Online campaign.
For a small business, the goal is usually to grow. Expanding overseas can be an excellent way to do this; exposing your brand to new markets, and opening up to a broader customer base.
So how can you ensure your business is in the best position possible to successfully expand overseas? A .com domain name may just be the answer.
A website can be a vital tool for a business looking to grow internationally, offering potential customers from all over the world access to information about your company.
It can even enable them to purchase goods, provided you have ecommerce capabilities in place and are able to ship to different markets.
Given the importance of a business website, it is equally important that you get your domain name (web address) right. A domain name is an incredibly important part of your website, so you should be sure to choose one that represents your business.
Ideally, your domain name would either be the same as your company name, or contain keywords that are relevant to your business.
This would allow customers at home and abroad to better associate your online brand with your offline one, and could make it easier for your company to be found online.
It's also important to remember that, if you are looking to expand your business overseas, any keywords you use should be suitable for the market you are hoping to expand into.
If you are a British company hoping to expand to Spain, for example, you shouldn't use British slang in your domain name otherwise, potential customers may be put off.
Choosing the right domain extension
While the right domain name is incredibly important, your chosen domain extension can also make a huge difference to your company's success abroad.
When you initially select your domain extension, you may be split between two choices: 1) a ccTLD, which are country specific, like .uk, .de or .cn, or 2) a gTLD, like .com or .net, which are used all over the world and can be used for global expansion of your business.
Many ccTLDs are popular in their own right. China's extension (.cn) has around 21.4m domain names, for example, while Germany's extension (.de), has around 16.2m, according to the Verisign Domain Name Industry Brief.
However, there is a risk that by selecting a ccTLD you are limiting your company's online reach.
If, for example, your company is founded in the UK and you choose a .co.uk domain extension, this could work well in the UK market.
If, however, you decided to expand your business to Spain, use of a UK-specific domain extension may signal to search engines that your website is targeted specifically to persons in the UK, which could impact how it appears in search engine results for users in Spain.
By selecting a country-specific domain name extension, your business risks limiting its reach, which may be a drawback if you have hopes of expanding your business internationally.
If you are eager to expand your business overseas, an internationally recognised gTLD may be right for you.
For example, according to the Verisign Domain Name Industry Brief, as of March 31, 2017, .com was the most popular domain name extension in the world, with around 128.4m domain names.
It offers worldwide recognition, which could make it easier for your business to expand into new markets and secure more customers.
Building a business from the ground up can be stressful, and growing it overseas can be even more so.
An internationally recognised domain name extension can provide peace of mind, knowing that your business' online presence is in the best position to be seen by as many potential customers as possible. It also means that, if you do decide to expand overseas, you will only need one business website to appeal across different markets.
Overseas expansion should be an exciting time for your business, and a .com website can help ease this process and get your company off on the right foot. Get the best available domain name for your business by using Verisign's name suggestion tool.
This article is part of Enterprise Nation's Grow and Grow Online campaign promoted by Verisign. The campaign helps you build a better business on the web. Access more content, special offers and great events here.
 Verisign Domain Name Industry Brief, volume 14, issue 2
This article is part of Enterprise Nation's Grow and Grow Online campaign, supported by Verisign. The campaign helps you build a better business on the web. Access more content, special offers and great events here.