We’re introducing a new series on our blog called “The Array”. Each month, we are going to take a list of URLs, complete a website analysis, and find out what we can learn about how different industries and cohorts build their websites. This month’s list is from the St. Louis Business Journal and looks at the Largest Advertising & Marketing Agencies in St. Louis.
As we worked on this, we realized that this really should be multiple posts. And we’re starting out where a lot of people start their web journey: Domains.
Selecting a domain can be one of the biggest challenges for a business. Unless your company is completely unique, finding that sought-after “.com” is becoming more and more difficult. After finding that perfect domain, you’ll need to decide where to register it and how often to renew it.
Why are you making me type so much?
When it comes to domain names, most of the Agencies use some variation of their company name, which results in a range of domain lengths from 8 to 25 characters, leading to a very weighty domain length average of 17.3 characters. Which is considerably larger than the average domain length of the Top 500 Websites, 11.6 characters.
|Domain Length||# of Domains|
|10 or less||3|
|11 – 15||6|
|16 – 20||10|
|20 or more||6|
Tenacity Note: We tend to think shorter and simpler is better. As it’s easier to verbally tell people a short domain and it’s less typing. Short email addresses FTW!
To WWW or Not
Most of the Biggest Advertising and Marketing Agencies in St. Louis use the “www” subdomain.
It is important that both should work for any website simply because some people always start www, but we recommend redirecting everything to a single domain. We found that 16% of the websites technically allowed both styles (www & non-www) without redirects. Not good.
Tenacity Note: We recommend going without the www because it’s four characters shorter. But it also has the advantage of not having to say “go to www …”.
.com or Bust?
Top Level Domains or TLDs can also be part of branding and credibility. Everyone wants a .com, but those are becoming harder to come by and more expensive. In spite of this, 24 out of 25 of the Agencies have a .com address.
Tenacity Note: We use .io, because frankly, we wanted a single word domain, and we weren’t going to get the .com. I/O also is a branding reference to input and output, even though it technically means Indian Ocean.
Privacy in Registration
As Domain Privacy has become an included service in most registrations, it’s no surprise that 24 out of 25 domains have hidden their domain registration information. Usually, this is understandable since, many times, it’s done to protect specific high-level employees’ phone, email, and physical addresses.
Expiration and Auto-renewals
Most of these companies are planning to be around for a while, so it’s no surprise that the average expiration time is 2.8 years. That said, the largest single group (11 of the 25 domains) expires in less than one year. If I had to guess, this has more to do with auto-renewal than anything else. Undoubtedly, “expiration” blocks would fit roughly in how domains are purchased 1, 2, 5, and 10 years.
|Expires||# of Domains|
|< 1 year||11|
|3 – 5 years||8|
|> 5 years||3|
Where are Domains Registered
Unless you are planning to use their DNS or maybe get annoyed easily by upselling, we don’t think it matters who you register your domain with. But here, there was a clear winner with 56% of the domains registered to GoDaddy, the next closest being Namecheap (12%), followed by a tie for 3rd CSC, Domain.com, and Network Solutions (all at 8%).
Tenacity Note: We use both GoDaddy and Namecheap for our domains; this decision is primarily based on the initial registration price.
They’ve been around a long time
One final note, as you might expect with the Largest Agencies, many of these domains have been held for a long time, which probably explains the .com TLD. The majority of domains have been registered for more than 20 years… the oldest is 26.4 years, which is only about five years after the public internet! But there is hope for big growth from new agencies as the youngest domains are a little less than four.
|Age||# of Domains|
|< 5 years||2|
|5 – 10 years||3|
|10 – 15 years||4|
|15 – 20 years||2|
|> 20 years||14|
Of everything, we found the Domain Length, Age, and Renewal time most interesting, but we want to know what surprised you about domains from this list? What lists should we analyze in the future? Let us know in the comments!
Don’t forget to check out our post in The Array, where we check out the Content Management Systems and Hosting of the Largest Advertising & Marketing Agencies in St. Louis.