8 Jan 2016

Your website says a lot about you, and having the right web address can be a real asset in showing your organisation’s professionalism and integrity.

With the development and expansion of the internet and its use, registering the web address that you want can be difficult. For the third sector, the .org or .org.uk extension has become a proud symbol of not for profit groups, and these domain names are considered by many internet users to be the most trusted and credible. However, buying a traditional .com, .org, .co.uk, or org.uk domain name extension that works for you is becoming increasingly hard as many of the best names are already being used.

There are now over 600 new types of domain name extension however, and choosing one of these as well as or instead of your traditional address might help bolster the reputation of your organisation. Last year saw the introduction of .ngo and .ong which are exclusively for recognised non-profit organisations.

Benefits of .ngo and .ong

To own a .ngo or .ong extension, organisations must go through a validation process to prove they act in the public interest, are not-for-profit, are 'independent of direct government or political control' and have independent staff or members. Once the public becomes more aware of this validation, owning a .ngo extension will help internet users know that your organisation is truly trustworthy.

Whilst .org.uk domain names areintendedfor not-for-profit entities, they can be bought by anyone without any validation and therefore could potentially be misused.

Benefits of .wales and .cymru

The new .wales and .cymru top-level country domains are designed to show an organisation's Welsh identity. Many Welsh organisations have now taken this up, such as the Welsh Government at gov.wales and the new WCVA Learning Zone at www.learningzone.wales.

There is the added benefit for bilingual sites that can use .wales for the English language pages and .cymru for the Welsh language pages.

Other options

There are even more interesting and specific extensions to choose from that can really highlight your organisation's activity - names like .foundation, .green, .education, .care and .club to name a few. Your organisation name might not tell people what work you do so these extensions can help your audience quickly understand your organisation's purpose.

Sometimes choice itself can be the problem. Josh Hoole, Digital Consultant at The Digital Development Company (digitaldevelopmentcompany.co.uk):

'It helps if organisations concentrate on growing the audience for their online presence as part of their overall marketing strategy before worrying too much about extensions now. However, if you're an international group then .ngo could really help boost your identity and if you're pan-Wales organisation then using .wales and .cymru is perfect for your bilingual site and to show you're proud to be part of Wales. Smaller, local groups have the luxury of getting creative with choosing a relevant extension to show your focus - visit somewhere like 123-reg.co.uk and have a browse!'