People expect that when they type in a website domain name, the correct page appears. Few of them understand the work that goes on behind the scenes to make sure the trick keeps happening. Nor are they aware, for the most part, of the administrators who maintain the address book of the internet to keep surfing the net safe, secure, and seamless.
For those of us in the business, we understand the complexity of the job. Nominet has worked as a registry service provider for the .UK domain for over twenty years and now provides registry services to .wales and .cymru as well as 72 gTLDs. We work hard to maintain our operations, but we also focus on expansion and improvement, conscious of how survival is linked to evolution in this era of high competition.
Our sustained focus on expansion possibilities has given us some methods that could prove useful to other registry service providers eager to find means of growing their own business in a competitive market. Some of these might not be pertinent to all, but what follows is advice on how you might approach the task of remaining relevant.
Prioritise cyber security; our customers expect a secure service from their registry in a time of increasing threats. Pay close attention to providing a robust, secure system protected by the best security provisions finances can muster. It’s worth having in-house expertise or software provision that can keep the registry secure from cyber threats. Invest time in creating a thorough business continuity plan so you can recover quickly if attacked. In this climate, it’s more when than if, so be ready and let your customers know how seriously you take their protection.
Customers relish good service. Consider investment in an enthusiastic and educated customer service team to ensure that help is available for those who aren’t confident or lack knowledge in areas of their domains. Extend this into raising awareness of domains and their potential, whether it be for businesses or individuals, and expanding on the opportunities for those who invest in an online footprint. It’s surprising how few people realise the full range of domain names available and what possibilities these can offer in a digitally-dominant age. Be the loudest voice and you will attract more business.
This is where your marketing team can step up. Task them with spreading the word about the benefits of owning a domain, whether that’s a website for their business, their online portfolio or just a professional email address – there are plenty of reasons to get your customers excited. The most impactful strategies target wisely and share key messages with the demographic of interest. We targeted local tradespeople to encourage them to get .UK websites, then considered students who might want to improve their online presentation ahead of applying for jobs. Different demographics have different needs and will respond to different approaches; be creative about how you target them.
Acquiring new top-level domains to sell and manage is an important part of growth, although this depends on your business model or the availability of domains that pique your interest. If you are interested in running more, carefully consider your potential reach and try to seek domains that will attract more of your existing customer base, as well as new areas in which you would like to gain traction. Do you want to get a location-based domain or target lifestyles areas? These are sizeable investments so should be approached with caution and careful thought, but can be pivotal in development of the registry. It is also important to ascertain whether you have the correct infrastructure to manage these additional domains or whether to consider outsourcing the management to a backend provider to allow you to concentrate on the commercial aspects of your business.
Finally, the key to growing a registry is to keep your eyes open. Monitor the moves of others in your sphere and push out into all possible avenues. It’s a constant race to keep ahead but one that can be won with ambition, drive and lots of hard work. Whatever you do, don’t neglect your existing operations and commit to being the best you can be at what you do. Quality of service counts for a lot as businesses look to invest more in registry service providers; make sure you are the cream of the crop.