/ Best practice
In 2012, nic.at carried out a domain strategy study across Austria, interviewing leading domestic companies about their strategic approach to internet domains. Some of them have shared their insights here on how they employ domains skilfully to achieve corporate goals: Porsche Informatik, Webhotels, the Austrian Red Cross and parkett.at.
Let the examples brought to you by these professionals inspire you!
„We have already put our domain strategy into action.“
PORSCHE INFORMATIK: Conquering the world of cars from Salzburg.
Markus Krammer is a system engineer at Porsche Informatik. This IT company is a part of Porsche Holding Salzburg, one of the largest and most successful car dealerships in Europe with locations in 21 European countries, in China and in Columbia.
What is Porsche Informatik responsible for and what do domains have to do with you?
Our primary task is to generate and operate software solutions for the automobile trade. But as an IT subsidiary of Porsche Holding, we also hold responsible for the domain portfolio in Austria and beyond. Additionally, we offer our customers domain services.
How would you describe your Group's domain strategy?
Our top priority is, of course, to have all the company names, protected trademarks and Group products registered as domains – even up to and including our technologies such as bluemotion.at. Often the location is also included in the domain name (bugatti-wien.at) or it might include additions such as meinaudi.at or ybentley.at.
Do you also register claims or slogans as domains?
Yes, often actually. When we do this, we pay attention to alternative spellings or variants with or without hyphens. But events, campaigns and services are also given a domain of their own, like spritsparwettbewerb.at (petrol saving competition) or vw-erlebnistage.at (VW event days).
What role do generic domains play in your Group portfolio?
A major one – we try to stay ahead of everyone else on the subject of cars on the internet, too. We have secured many designations as domain names that speak for themselves or the underlying service, such as: autohaus.at, gebrauchte-autos.at (used cars), flottenmanagement.at (fleet management) and many more. These are exactly the terms people search for on the internet.
What about abbreviations?
We have some abbreviations, too: rqwc.at stands for our retail qualification world championship. When it gets too long or confusing, it makes sense to use an abbreviation as a domain name. Especially when the abbreviation already conforms to the target group’s general language usage.
Do all domains serve purely the purpose of external company presentation and brand management?
No, some domains are used on an intragroup level or for staff recruiting, for example karriere-bei-porsche.at (career at Porsche) for our apprentice qualifying.
Who suggests the domain names to be registered?
Mostly, the suggestions come from the marketing departments responsible for the individual brands and the Porsche Austria "new media" department but also from Porsche Informatik itself. What’s more, we analyse our portfolio regularly, monitoring traffic on the one hand, but also checking the internet to see what our competitors are up to. Often, this will be a great source of inspiration for domains, too.
„Intelligent domain strategy reduces SEO and marketing costs.“
WEBHOTELS: from start-up to established player on the web.
Martin Pühringer co-owns the Vienna company WEBHOTELS that focuses on the marketing of Austrian thermal spas and hotels. The partner hotels are presented in a targeted manner on a number of themed hotel platforms, such as thermenhotels.at.
How many domains do you have in your portfolio?
There are currently a total of 170 domains in our portfolio.
How would you describe your domain strategy? What do you believe to be the most important thing about a domain name?
Generally speaking, our strategy is to secure domains that cover all topics. The most important thing about a good domain name is that it describes what people are looking for. So, the domain has to be "descriptive". This also has many advantages in terms of findability via search engines and for search engine ranking. What people type in first when they are looking for something will then appear in the top ranking position.
When did you launch WEBHOTELS and was this your domain strategy right from the start?
We began registering or buying the domains important to our business as early as in 2002. Back then, many good, relevant and above all affordable domains were still available on the free market. In the beginning, we made sure to cover all of our main subjects – meaning, in our case, domains related to the keywords voucher platforms, thermal spas, spa vacation and vouchers. We started out with two domains: skikurs.at (ski course) and webhotels.at.
How do you determine the terms that you register as domains?
We run five hotel and two voucher platforms – as a result, we mainly register terms related to these concepts. Our most important principle: No new project without a domain! What that means is, first comes the domain, then follows implementation. Without the right domain, we don't execute any new projects. Our partner domainquadrat.at supports us vigorously in all of these concerns.
How much does your success depend on search engine marketing and how much on a compelling domain?
I would say, more than 80% of our success is based on our domains. SEO is expensive and elaborate – with the right domains, everything is much easier and also more effective. While the Google ranking still plays a crucial role – 80 percent of our website visitors come to us via Google – the ranking is also achieved as a result of well-placed and appropriate domains.
Why do you place your trust primarily in .at?
As an Austrian company, we identify clearly with the .at TLD, because our experience has shown that our customers search primarily for the .at extension and also prefer .at search engines. We also have domains ending in .eu and a few ending in .de, but more than 80 percent of our domain portfolio is made up of .at domains.
How do you advertise your products? And how do your domains help you to be found easily?
Actually, our domains make sure that the advertising budget remains pretty low. A good domain with the proper content saves a lot in marketing budget, because after all, that's what people are looking for.
What is a good domain worth? What value does your domain portfolio have for your company?
A good domain is worth its weight in gold (laughs). We would never sell our domains, because, after all, we build our business on them. The value of our domain portfolio is priceless!
„Compelling domain names move us closer to the top in search engine ranking.“
RED CROSS: Technology for a good cause.
Gerald Czech is head of new Marketing and Communications at the Austrian Red Cross, the largest charity organisation in the country and the most recognised brand in this segment worldwide.
What significance do domain names have for the Austrian Red Cross?
We consider our domain names part of our overall communication, just like social media or classic PR. That's why as head of new media, I am where all the threads come together, and I manage our domains centrally. A first step was to merge all of our domains that were being managed by multiple providers and to consolidate the portfolio.
What is the first priority in your domain strategy?
Obviously, the most important thing is to secure the Red Cross name, which is actually protected by the Red Cross Act in Austria and even by international law beyond our borders. The Red Cross is the strongest brand in the world and enjoys a high level of confidence. This needs to be kept that way on the internet, too. No matter whether roteskreuz.at, rotes-kreuz.at, redcross.at or örk.at: We keep an eye on these terms and make sure that no one else uses them in their domain names.
What role do generic domains play for you?
The Austrian Red Cross offers much more than rescue services – our services include everything from hauskrankenpflege.at (home care) and betreut24.at (cared for 24) to erstehilfe.at (first aid) and blutspenden.at (blood donations). With regard to domain registration, it was important for us to demonstrate this breadth, thus also boosting expansion of volunteer mobilisation options.
Where do these domains point to?
Generally speaking, the domain names point to specific subpages in our portal. As a result, visitors are directed straight to the content they were looking for. Of course we also have portals for specific target groups, such as our youth portal helpstars.at. The domain freiwillig.at (voluntary), on the other hand, points to the Red Cross Facebook app.
Do compelling domain names help with search engine ranking?
Absolutely. If the term sought after is contained in the domain name, it will figure among the top search results.
How important are domains in the non-profit field?
Very important, because they constitute an efficient and inexpensive means of communication. With domains, we can dominate topics online that are relevant to us, thus preventing other players from occupying them. This was pivotal with regard to domains such as blut.at (blood), notarztwagen.at (emergency ambulance), katastrophenhilfe.at (disaster relief) and gesundheitsvorsorge.at (health care).
What else is included in your domain collection?
We have registered our claim "aus-liebe-zum-menschen.at" (for the love of people) and we also combine digits with letters, such as in notruf-144.at (emergency call). Sometimes it makes sense to add alternative spellings or terms with or without hyphens into the mix or to mention a location such as in hospiz-salzburg.at.
„I don't believe in new TLDs, we are expanding our presence on .at.“
PARKETT.AT: the domain name as a sales argument
Roman Romanenko has been dealing in parquet flooring and running a showroom in the 9th district of Vienna for the past five years. Very soon, it became clear to him that his domain parkett.at was the perfect tool for new customer acquisition – which led him to turn it into a trade platform for parquet floors, laminate floors, decking boards and accessories.
How did you get hold of the top domain parkett.at?
When I opened my parquet flooring showroom, I had no word-of-mouth advertising for me yet and only a very limited number of walk-ins. Since new customers are mainly acquired online, I wanted to have the perfectly apt domain name. I acquired parkett.at from a domain dealer in 2008 – for a small fortune.
How did you put parkett.at to use at the beginning?
In the beginning, I only used it for my company homepage – a digital presence to supplement the showroom. But buying and selling habits change as a result of the internet in the woodworking industry, too: I believe, sooner or later, manufacturers will seek to reach final customers directly, establish online shops and bypass intermediary trade. These days, customers are already buying more and more floors online. So, this gave me the idea to capitalise additionally on the domain and I ended up using parkett.at to establish a second source of income for myself.
What can be found at parkett.at now?
I turned parkett.at into a sales platform for all types of wooden flooring, where manufacturers and other parquet dealers can post their offers directly, sell them and also benefit from various advertising options. The customer has the advantage of being able to filter and compare offers easily and of receiving additional advice in the forum. A win-win situation for all sides.
How do you convince the parquet manufacturers to join in?
The most convincing argument is the domain name parkett.at and the visitor numbers it generates. Interested parties click on the result that best matches their search – and in the case of parquet flooring, that is definitely parkett.at. The manufacturers gain an additional sales channel and many of them have already recognised the benefit. I was able to attract the major online and offline parquet dealers in six months' time.
Do you register other suitable domains as well?
I have almost 20 .at domains related to parquet, flooring and accessories that all link to parkett.at. This is a way for me to increase traffic at low fixed costs. The plan is to make multiple subpages for the respective domains. I acquired all of these domains on the secondary market or from registrars with drop-catch services*. The strategy is slowly beginning to yield results – but you do need to be patient.
Will you also register new top-level domains, e.g. parkett.shop or parkett.web?
I do not believe in the new top-level domains, it makes more sense to me to develop the existing online presence on .at and to provide relevant services there.
Do have other additional topics and domain portfolios "up your sleeve"?
I have about 100 .at domains on various topics. But in order to launch a platform like this, I have to believe in and be genuinely confident about the product – next, I plan to expand on the parquet topic by adding teppich.at (carpet) and fliesen.at (tiles). I also have a business idea related to electronic cigarettes and a couple of interesting domains. I resell other domains in my portfolio when interested parties turn up.