In many instances, having a generic domain name as a standalone brand, or forwarding a generic domain name to an existing brand’s website can play a large role in the growth of that online business. This is especially true for informational websites, and may be less important for transactional websites.
When the sole purpose of a website is to give information, and there are a number of sites that provide the same information, the consumer may be more likely to simply navigate to the generic domain name. Why bother to remember a complicated domain name when you can find the exact same information on the generic domain name?
However, when a website is transactional, whereby a visitor makes (or considers) a purchase, a generic domain name is important, but less so than for an informational website. With a transactional site, there is much more to the customer experience than simply finding information. The visitor pays close attention to brands, pricing, fulfillment and customer service. Because of this, consumers are more likely to remember the site that gives the best all around service.
The bottom line, in my opinion, is that if you are developing a business around the domain name and plan to generate revenue by selling products or services, the domain name may be less important than the other attributes in building a positive customer experience. If your website is informational in nature, and you plant to generate revenue from advertising/ppc links, having the generic domain name may be critical.
I agree with what you’re saying, but there are a couple of pieces to consider that I think makes the domain name highly valuable even to transactional sites:
1. If the transactional site expects multiple transactions per consumer, the fulfillment experience is crucial. However, you’ve got to get that consumer in the front door first, and it just might be the authoritative domain that is the deciding factor.
2. I always like to think of the off-line friendly referral. I think it’s very important to have an easy to remember and spell domain because one of your visitors might tell another and a clear and concise domain matters in that case.
I agree with your statement about informational sites. However if the site is offering information on the same topic but a better explanation/more complete than i think that the domain would be slightly diminished in importance.
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