I have often been puzzled by conference or workshops speakers who recommend techniques for optimizing the academic library web site so as to increase the likelihood that search engine users would find the library home page. Why would a student or faculty member use a search engine to find my library’s web site? Shouldn’t they just know what our URL is? (Folks, if I’m missing something here on this search optimization thing, please enlighten me). Actually, I always suspected that they didn’t know our library’s URL – which is the familiar “my university’s URL/library”. That’s why, quite a few years ago, I obtained a simple to remember domain name. Now we just tell everyone – go to gutman.info – it works with a redirect to the actual URL. Some new information seems to support the value of a really simple, one word domain name.
It seems we may have overestimated how many Internet searchers use search engines to find a desired web site. New findings suggest that many people skip engines altogether and instead use what is known as “direct navigation.” That’s a fancy way of saying the users just type your exact URL into the browser’s address bar. According to data from WebSideStory, “more than two-thirds of daily global Internet users arrive at a web site via direct navigation, compared with just 14 percent from search engines” (quote from Matt Bentley of MarketingProfs.com). With so many individuals using direct navigation it makes sense to go with a library domain name that is super simple to remember. That’s what many businesses are doing. For example, Barnes & Noble uses Books.com (that could have been a good one for a library), RentalCar.com (Enterprise Rental), and Baby.com (Johnson & Johnson). If your library has come up with a good, easy-to-remember, one word domain name please share it with our ACRLog readers.