A Case For Better Library Domain Names

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.

3 thoughts on “A Case For Better Library Domain Names”

  1. Quck follow – up and possible contradictory information. In his column (AlertBox) today Jakob Nielsen writes:
    Web users are growing ever-more search dominant. Search is how people discover new websites and find individual pages within websites and intranets. Unless you’re listed on the first search engine results page (SERP), you might as well not exist. So, the first duty of writing for the Web is to write to be found.
    I wonder if he knows about this study that says direct navigation is used far more often than searching to find web sites.

  2. Our library web site is libinfo.uark.edu.

    I think it works pretty well, given that most of the students probably couldn’t tell you the real name of the main library (David W. Mullins Library).

  3. I appreciate your thoughts on the topic of optimizing academic library websites and the use of search engines. It’s a subject that has been evolving over the years, and your insights raise some interesting points.

    While it might seem reasonable to expect that students and faculty members should already know the library’s URL, there are several reasons why they might still turn to search engines. First, it could be that they prefer to use search engines as a starting point to find multiple resources, including the library website, in a more convenient manner. Secondly, newcomers to a university might not be aware of the library’s URL, and this is where your idea of a simpler, easy-to-remember domain name like “gutman.info” is quite practical.

    Your mention of direct navigation is indeed intriguing. With the majority of daily Internet users opting for direct navigation, it emphasizes the importance of having a straightforward and memorable domain name. In this digital age, simplicity often equates to usability.

    Taking inspiration from businesses like Barnes & Noble and their domains like “Books.com,” your suggestion for libraries to embrace similarly uncomplicated domain names is a valid one. It’s all about ensuring that the library’s web presence is as user-friendly as possible, especially considering the wide variety of users with different levels of familiarity with the academic library’s online resources.

    In conclusion, your article highlights the evolving landscape of how users access library websites and the significance of having easily memorable domain names. Thank you for sharing these valuable insights.

    Best regards,

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