Around three in four (74%) Dutch businesses have websites with a .nl domain according to research carried out on behalf of SIDN, the .nl registry. And among those planning to register a domain name for business, 79 per cent intended to use a .nl domain.
And even the growing number of top level domains around the world, over 400 more since the introduction of the new gTLDs, hasnât dented the desire of Dutch businesses to use .nl domains. The research found that most businesses that don’t opt for a .nl domain name choose .com instead. Some 19 per cent of survey respondents said they used .com, usually because they were aiming at an international audience. Only a small proportion (7 per cent) of Dutch businesses use an extension other than .nl or .com, such as .info, .eu or .nu.
Most entrepreneurs viewed .nl as the best option for business use. An address that ends with .nl wa found to be associated with qualities such as ‘serious’, ‘reliable’, ‘secure’, ‘local’, ‘familiar’ and ‘fun’. People tend to think of the .com extension as being for big companies with a wide (international) reach.
When choosing a domain for business, the research found it is shaped by three important considerations: ease of finding the domain name (88 per cent), ease of remembering the domain name (88 per cent) and reflection of a serious, commercial image (81 per cent). Like established businesses, start-ups put those considerations first, but were more likely to also want a catchy or amusing domain name (48 per cent).
Start-ups were also more likely than established businesses to have a lot of trouble finding a good domain name. Some 41 per cent of new businesses reported difficulties on that score.
As well as highlighting the popularity of .nl with the Dutch business community, the research showed that most business people (57 per cent) expect the importance of a good website to increase further. A further 41 per cent anticipate websites remaining about as important as they are now. Only two per cent foresee a decline.
A quarter of Dutch entrepreneurs think that it’s essential to have a business website. Another 46 per cent see a business website as important but not essential, while just 5 per cent say that a website plays very little role.
Although having a business website is considered important, some entrepreneurs said that they are thinking of replacing one of their websites with some other internet-based medium, e.g. a social media page (38 per cent) or an app (36 per cent).