(Gawkwire.com) Many small firms may be held back due to poor web address choices, according to research released today by Streamline.net, (www.streamline.net), a leading provider of value web hosting. The study of 1300 consumers(1) finds that 1 of 5 Britons who use small business websites regularly struggle with domain registrations that are convoluted or difficult to recall.  Younger age groups are far more critical, with around 1 in 3 judging the SME domains they use to be unattractive.  A further poll of 189 UK firms(2) showed that whilst 1 in 3 (34 per cent) were not satisfied with their web sales, only 3 per cent are considering making any change to their primary domain name.  With 70 per cent of Britons are now willing to conduct business with SMEs via the Web, the ability for a consumer to easily recall a web address has never been so important.
 
Streamline.net’s study of 1300 shoppers during the Christmas shopping period, found that the web addresses of small firms are a bugbear for 1 in 4 men (25 per cent) and 1 in 5 women (20 per cent).  Younger age groups were far more critical than older ones with around 1 in 3 Britons aged 16 to 35 reporting unattractive or unmemorable business domains, as compared to only 13 per cent of those aged over 55 years.  In terms of region, London is by far the most critical with 32 per cent of all consumers affected as opposed to only 11 per cent in Northern Ireland and 14 per cent in Wales.
 
An additional poll of 189 UK firms found that the average small business aims to grow its online sales and lead generation in the coming year.  1 in 3 (34 per cent) reported dissatisfaction with their level of web sales.  However, few businesses recognise that their choice of domain name could be holding back their business.  Only 3 per cent of firms are considering changing their main URL as a way to improve sales.  In fact, making modifications or additions to a company’s web identity is one of the quickest and cheapest ways for businesses to optimise their use of the web.  It appears that many firms could benefit from reviewing the pros and cons of available domain options and using feedback from external audiences, such as potential customers. 
 
Steve Holford, Marketing Director at Streamline.net, said “The data suggests that many small businesses undervalue the effect their web address can have on their consumers’ behaviour. There is a real danger their work and investment on the web can be undermined by the simple fact that consumers cannot remember their URL.  Domains have reached a level of affordability whereby every business owner can now afford to experiment with alternative domain choices”.
 
Graham Jones, Internet Psychologist (www.grahamjones.co.uk), advises businesses on how best to connect with consumers on the web.  For choosing domain names, he advises, “If you truly want more people to visit your web pages you need URLs that human beings can remember (and hopefully pass on).  If a page is quite important for your business, than nothing really beats having a specific domain name that is easy for people to remember, that can then be linked to the page as necessary”.
 
Streamline.net recommends that companies explore opportunities within less obvious TLDs such as .biz, .net and .eu.  It is often the case today that the best available domains belong to such suffixes.  Domain prices have rarely been cheaper in the UK market.  Budget providers such as Streamline.net can offer a high quality professional domain service at low cost.  For example, Streamline.net offers the .LTD.UK domain registration, a good addition or alternative for many firms, for only £4.25/year+VAT.  Additionally, web hosting packages from only £1.24/month+VAT are supplied with free inclusive .UK domains and free set-up, no hidden fees guaranteed.
 
As the market leader for value web hosting, Streamline.net offers a comprehensive range of web solutions for the beginner through to the web professional. Packages include everything needed for a successful web project including free, easy to use website builder tool, graphical web statistics  and eCommerce functionality.
 
For more information on Streamline.net, see the website at www.streamline.net
 
(1) 1324 UK adults who have used small business websites surveyed via electronic feedback form
(2) 189 UK firms with a website surveyed via electronic feedback form



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