How To Choose Your Perfect Domain Name-Part 2. Do I Need A .CN For China?

This is part 2 our our double bill on the world of domain names. If you missed out the intro and overview on this topic, check it out first – there’s a valuable overview of the TLD…

What’s a TLD? Oh, that’s the .com / .cn part of your domain name that’s found at the end. It’s short for top level domain. Why do you care? Because if you choose the wrong one, you will reduce the number of people coming to your website….Read on for the valuable do’s and don’ts!!

Should I Choose A .CN For My Chinese Website?

First need to know why you choose your top level domain or TLD ( the .com or .nz part of your website).

As an internet marketer I have a general starting point  for domain names outside China “Dotcom or bust”.
Why would that be? Marketing is all about what you do before the sales process – creating awareness, interest and action towards your way of helping people solve their problems. It’s the “getting to know you” phase, before anyone makes a commitment.
Anything you can do to make that process smoother is improving your bottom line.
In short – most people have a hard time remembering other tlds. If you had to put anything at the end of a domain name you heard but can’t remember clearly, you put .com

I have a lifelong friend with a website and I still type it in wrong, using the .com instead of the correct web address. You don’t want that…

Be The “Go To” Online For Your Name

You should always aim to be the “go-to” version of your name whenever possible, which is the .com version. However, the exception is when you are choosing it for a particular reason.

Take us here at eggplantdigital for example. We specialise in China based WordPress websites, WeChat shops, and online marketing for the China market. In a case where a niche like this is so pronounced, it makes perfect sense for us to have a .cn at the end of our name, rather than a .com

In addition, you have to keep in mind your audience when buying your TLD.
Chinese people remember .cn and China is our market, so it all makes sense here.
In addition .cn screams “we are in China and this is our thing” way more than a .com and an explanation on our homepage would.

Would this situation be the same for us if we were working in a country like Spain or Germany? Probably not. Why? Because the internet in China is so unique that you can’t treat it like the internet in the rest of the world.

Do I Need A Specific Website For China?

This is a question that we often have to help clients with. It depends on who you are, but for the most part, the answer is yes.

There are main issues to deal with here:

  • Great Firewall
  • Getting business in China done “the China way”

The Great Firewall is a huge beast. The budget for controlling what information is allowed to pass into the PRC is alarming. We can’t give exact figures, but let’s just say it is larger than a small nation’s defence budget…(no joke!)

China is constantly updating it’s filtering processes and preferences. As a result, you need to stay current on what works and what doesn’t work on the internet in China. The best way to do that is have a China-specific website and a .cn domain name.

I have personally overseen online marketing campaigns that deal with both China and non-China at the same time. They are two different worlds must be treated as such. If you try to run your Chinese operations using the majority of the internet’s tools, you will hit a snag. Dropbox, gmail, and Facebook being just the obvious ones.

Why Do Websites Sometimes Not Work In China?

Let’s talk about website content -some websites are permanently blocked, some are temporarily blocked, or have pages that are blocked. It’s all down to the information on them.

Youtube and Facebook are permanently blocked, as there’s just too much unrestrained information flowing back and forth for the government to allow.

In other cases, sites are blocked temporarily. The BBC isn’t blocked in China, but if you try to access it from Beijing on the same day that the Dalai Lama is making some big statements, then you might be forgiven for thinking that the server is down. Alternatively, it may just seem that the individual page is down…

Let’s talk tools: If you are using any files from Google on your China facing website, they won’t work (meaning you might not be able to see that page properly).
If you are using software that China has deemed inappropriate, then it may not work. A good example is Leadpages. Leadpages is a piece of software that works with WordPress that helps you quickly create fantastic marketing web pages without having to code or design. You’d think that their website wouldn’t bother the government right? For over 2 years after launch, Leadpages was nowhere to be found on the Chinese internet. The Great Firewall gatekeepers just didn’t know what it was, so they blocked it. Bottom line? 1.4 billion people had no access to their products or services.

What Are The Advantages Of A China Only Website?

In short :

  1. Speed -(no firewall slowing you down/ no loss of features)
  2. Marketing – PRC consumer culture is extremely unique
  3. Safety/ Security – By co-operating with China’s limits you increase accessibility to 1.4 billion people.

What Should I Do Next?

The first thing you should do is get your current website tested by an individual or organisation that is physically in China. Get some feedback on how your website is running in the PRC. From there you should consider either adapting your existing site or creating a .cn version to properly market to the PRC.

Got questions? Most people do on this topic, as it’s a big one. If you’ve not contacted us before, why not make it your first time? We’re looking for businesses to interview on the topic of entering China, so drop us a quick message, we’d love to hear from you…!

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  • Eggplant Digital helped us focus on exactly what we wanted the website to do and how we wanted people to interact with it. Then they built a site that exceeded all our expectations. They met every deadline, even when we missed a few ourselves. These guys are the best in the region without a doubt. They will be my first call next time around and the last call.

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