What’s in a good domain name? As it turns out, a multi-billion dollar industry of domain retailers and domain name consultants will tell you that a lot of strategy is involved.

Your institution may not have engaged in the domain name conversation in the last 30 years, as .edu first became available in the initial batch of extensions in 1985 (the internet stone age).

It’s time to talk about it again. The new domain extension .college is one that higher education can’t ignore. Your name is waiting for you, at least for now.

Consider your domain name as your online street address. Location, location, location really does matter to a good user experience online just as it matters in real estate.

The first advantage of a good domain name is findability. Can your target audience guess your .edu address and land on your website? If not, hopefully you have a strategy in place to help the search engines figure it out.

Your domain name also has an impact on your brand—it’s where your institution lives online. The University of Connecticut’s new visual identity in 2013 certainly complements their online presence. UConn is a straightforward jump to uconn.edu.

The question is, are you going to claim .college for your own, and how will you use it? Why bother, especially if your school already has a successful address at .edu? Claim your .college domain before someone else uses it for purposes that might make presidents and parents alike frown.

So, claim it and redirect it back to your .edu address? Sure. That is an option.

The key is to claim it before those domain marketers do, so you have the ability to make that choice.

The .college domain name is currently only available to colleges and universities. Your registration fees are waived for the first year, and you’ll pay $60 per year to keep it. Boon or bane, .college is coming to a domain near you soon. It’s time to start discussing with your team what you want to do about it. The deadline for when it is available to the public is September 29th.

Learn more about responsive websites, SEO assessment of your current website, or other digital marketing strategies from Stamats.

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