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Understanding Domains A basic guide for politicians by Simon Coopey simoncoopey.com @SimonCoopey
What are domains?• Domain names are the Internet addresses users type in to visit websites. e.g. google.com is Google’s domain name.• Without domain names we would have to remember websites’ IP addresses e.g. 126.96.36.199 to reach Google.• Domains make life easier for humans.
Types of Domain• There are many different types of domain extension, usually the extension indicates the intended use and/or the country of the site.• As a politician, you would be wise to secure .org and .org.uk versions of your name, as well as .com and .co.uk
Types of Domain• .org domains are intended for non- proﬁt companies and other non- commercial entities (including political).• Fictional AM Claire Jones might register clairejones.org to inform constituents of her work with clairejones.org.uk redirecting to the .org site.
Types of Domain• But “.com is king” and .co.uk is very important in the UK so I would recommend registering and building on .com ﬁrst and foremost, with the same .co.uk domain pointing to the .com (to avoid any loss of trafﬁc).
Choosing a domain• Ideally, a UK politician should have their own name. Claire Jones will have clairejones.com and/or clairejones.org• There is no problem in opting for a variant, e.g. clairejonesam.com, but if our example AM decided she wanted to become an MEP she’ll need a new domain.
Choosing a domain• Likewise for speciﬁc campaigns, by all means create a domain and a site for it- but keep all your main content on your main domain (helps search rankings).• At the end of the campaign you’ll be left with a domain you may have to renew indeﬁnitely if you want to keep content.
Choosing a domain• Say our example AM was running for party leader, she should keep all her usual posts on her work as an AM on clairejones.com for constituents; if she wants a claireforleader.com domain to target party members for the leadership contest she can segregate the content- if she’s unsuccessful and decides to drop the domain next year - it’s no big loss.
Other Extensions• It is probably best to avoid foreign extensions such as .co, .us, .de if you’re not living in these countries- they could confuse UK users.• Two extensions that are foreign, but transcend their status by brandability are .me (Montenegro) and .tv (Tuvalu).
Other Extensions• It is probably best to avoid .me as this may look a little unprofessional (it is branded as being for ‘personal’ sites).• However if you’re producing a lot of video content, a .tv domain supplementing your main site could be worthwhile. You could point to your YouTube channel for example.
The Telephone Test• It is recommended that you do the ‘telephone test’ on any domain you plan to use. Say it aloud and think of what people might type in.• If Claire Jones wanted to register clairejones.com, it might be worth getting clarejones.com too.
The Telephone Test• Recently Elin Jones AM launched a campaign site at elin4wales.com• She didn’t register elinforwales.com, look what you now get when you type that:
The Telephone Test• If you had heard ‘Elin for Wales dot com’, what would you type? (As an aside, I believe it is unlikely that the Liberal Democrats are the ones who have registered the name elinforwales.com, despite it going to their website- anyone is capable of registering a domain and forwarding it in this fashion and I’d guess it’s a supporter of one of Ms Jones’ rivals acting independently. It is used here as it’s the most recent example I have come across and is what prompted me to create this presentation).
Typosquatting• Typo Squatting is when unscrupulous characters register a domain with a spelling similar to yours. They have the intention of making money either by putting adverts on the site and hoping users mis-spell your domain to see them, Or by trying to sell the domain to you at an inﬂated price.
Typosquatting• Typosquatters take advantage of domains that fail the ‘Telephone Test’ and common spelling errors (e.g. example.com - exampel.com).• There is a lengthy and costly process to try and win these names (UDRP) that is made more difﬁcult by the non- commercial nature of political names.
Subdomains• Obviously buying lots of domains can be expensive, so utilising subdomains is a useful cost-saving measure.• Any good registrar/host should allow this to be done at no extra cost.• A subdomain looks like this: subdomain.mydomain.com Where mydomain is the name you own.
Subdomains• Our example AM, Claire Jones might want a blog. Instead of registering clairejonesblog.org (and then clarejonesblog.org to avoid typing errors), she could set up blog.clairejones.org saving herself £10 per domain.
Registrars• Where to register?• Factors to consider: -Price -Extensions Offered -Management System• Do you want to keep all your names together, or spread them around between multiple registrars?
Registrars• Use a well-established company with a good reputation.• Register your domain yourself and make sure you’re registered as the owner. Do not let your web design company do this for you.
Registrars• Established US registrars for multiple extensions: Name.com, Moniker.com, eNomCentral.com GoDaddy.com.• UK-based: UKReg.com, 123reg.co.uk• European: EuroDNS.com, Switch.ch• (I could plug my own here too: domains.coopeymedia.com)
www. or not?• If set up correctly, example.com and www.example.com should lead to the same page. The www is superﬂuous.• From a branding point of view, omitting the ‘www.’ makes sense and gives a cleaner image.
www. or not?• BUT - Amazon redirect all of their trafﬁc from amazon.com to the www.amazon.com domain. They’re aware they don’t have a tech-savvy audience and might not trust a domain without www. at the front
You are free to use this presentation as you see ﬁt. You can remove the slide (number 24) with registraraddresses if you wish, but other than that you are not permitted to modify any slides. You must credit its creator, Simon Coopey. SimonCoopey.com @SimonCoopey SlideShare.net/SimonCoopey