The majority of small businesses lack critical knowledge necessary to make informed domain name buying decisions.

Nearly half of small-business owners are not completely satisfied with their current domain name, and with hundreds of millions of Websites already online, chances are great that someone else has already snapped up a small-business owner’s first choice domain name, according to a study by Wakefield Research.

The survey, conducted among 500 small-business owners (companies with 100 or fewer employees), indicated that 49 percent of small-business owners tried more than one domain name before settling on their current one, 55 percent believe they have lost business by not having their first choice domain name, and 52 percent would change their current domain name given the opportunity.

“It has never been more important for small business owners to understand and leverage the power of a good domain name,” Lori Anne Wardi, co-founder and vice president at .CO Internet, which manages and markets the .co domain, said in a statement. “The right web address, built on a global, credible domain extension, can make it easy for people to find, remember and refer you customers—and to drive your business forward.”

In the next year, the Internet is expected to change dramatically, with hundreds of new domain extensions launching, such as .nyc, .green, .app and .movie. Small-business owners who understand the distinctions among the different domain extensions, and can make the most informed choices, will be best positioned to survive and thrive online, Wardi said.

Beyond dissatisfaction with their current domain names, the survey shows that the vast majority of small-business owners lack the knowledge necessary to make informed domain name buying decisions. For instance, when choosing a domain name, 63 percent of small-business owners fail to even consider the domain name’s extension (that is, the letters that come to the right of the dot, such, .com and .co), and upward of 80 percent said they do not consider the name’s potential impact on critical business drivers, like social and mobile media.

Although small-business owners recognize the power of social media in engaging customers, most lack the expertise to apply the latest digital marketing tools to their companies, according to a recent survey conducted by office products giant Staples.

More than half (53 percent) of small-business owners said they are either novices or do not consider how social media can help their business, 40 percent of small businesses feel that their social media channel use has helped their business, and 61 percent of small businesses use at least one social media channel.

Source: eWeek