Few things intimidate a bank marketer like the esoteric terminology of IT, so here are the basics of website hosting in plain English.
.com vs .bank — the battle continues
Roughly six years after its debut, the .bank top-level domain (TLD) fails to dominate.
We’ve been following this underdog story since the beginning — from the initial “land grab” that saw financials snatching up .bank domains as a defensive measure to the gradual rise in the ranks of .bank URLs.
Along the way, we’ve analyzed the pros and cons of a .bank domain and answered your questions, helped our clients implement their new .bank domains, and even converted a few bank websites back to .com.
Here’s our take on the battlefield today.
What are the pros and cons of a .bank domain?
- Domain registration for .bank is limited mostly to banks and savings associations. Moreover, registration must be re-verified every two years, making it more difficult for phishing sites to spoof.
- The rigid requirements for a hosting platform and DNS make .bank more secure. For example, the .bank domain requires a hosting platform with a content delivery network, and the DNS must be hosted on a secure DNS platform.
- The costs for .bank domain registration and DNS hosting are significantly higher than generic TLDs such as .com, and there is an additional set of requirements to maintain a .bank domain compliance.
- Even with the steady introduction of new TLDs over the past few years, most people still see .com as the go-to website domain.
Is a .bank domain worth the hassle and the price tag?
As noted above, there is a considerable cost increase for registering a .bank domain — upwards of $1,000 per year. Beyond that, changing your bank website’s domain will have an impact on all marketing communications, including email and all printed pieces (business cards, statements, letterhead, signage and so forth).
From a marketing and business standpoint, the ROI on a .bank domain is minimal at best and nonexistent at worst.
Does switching to a .bank domain provide a marketing edge?
Unless the new web address is part of a bigger-picture branding overhaul — and the choices for a .bank URL are better than the .com options available — there isn’t a compelling reason to adopt a .bank domain.
How does switching to a .bank domain impact customers?
You should inform existing customers of your new URL leading up to the conversion. Additionally, it would be wise to redirect the old domain to the new .bank domain, especially when it comes to popular and most-likely-to-be-bookmarked pages.
Also, be aware that most customers continue to think of .com as the default for web addresses, so you might inconvenience — or outright miss out on — potential customers who try that URL first.
The marginal impact of the .bank TLD over the past six years suggests that this fad will continue to fade. Fortunately, there is no real harm in choosing .bank in the present or foreseeable future — as long as clients are kept in the loop. Unfortunately, there isn’t much of a benefit either.
While the war may not be over, the enduring supremacy of .com seems all but certain.