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What’s the most important website metric? (Hint: it’s not traffic)

by | Feb 22, 2018 | Public Relations

Among the many challenges of creating a new name for a product or business, getting the URL is often one of the most difficult. With over 130 million .com domains registered, securing a domain name for your brand can prove difficult, costly, and sometimes impossible.

For your new brand, the good news is that URLs with a brand + descriptor + .com suffix are both easier for you to secure and the preferred format for your customers to find.

In a 2017 survey of more than 1,100 adults, Lexicon Branding found that the most important website metric is searchability.

David Placek, founder and president of Lexicon, set out to learn how consumers actually use URLs to find websites that are new to them, as well as those they had visited in the past. The design used a traditional market research survey format coupled with an active search component to observe respondents’ online search behavior in real time.

Dr. Aaron Snyder, Lexicon’s Director of Special Projects, was shocked to find that, in the real-time observations, almost no one typed in a complete URL when navigating to a new website.

Here is what they did instead:

  • Over 95 percent used a search engine, relied on autofill with a partial URL, or followed a hyperlink to find a new website.
  • Fewer than 3% of people claimed to use the full URL address when navigating to a new website.
  • When asked to find Lexicon’s website, 86 percent quickly found www.lexiconbranding.com, which uses a descriptor in its address, without typing out the full URL.

Interestingly, although this test was randomized across a variety of name types, a single URL configuration was preferred. The winning formula was not the BRAND + .COM pattern.

Instead, respondents revealed a preference for URLs with a BRAND + DESCRIPTOR + .COM patternThis held whether the name was a made-up word, a real word used arbitrarily, or even a descriptive term.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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