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Digital Revolution: Lessons we learnt in 2020

My colleague’s grandma was born in the 1930s and has a healthy obsession with science fiction. Throughout her life, she’s seen technologies — like video conferencing — once thought of as a distant futuristic dream, become a reality.

The year 2020, when futuristic technologies like video conferencing became even more commonplace as the result of rapid digitalization (thanks, Covid-19!), taught us that digitalization was not only inevitable but also just how well we could leverage creativity to improve our lives. During lockdown after lockdown, digital services helped us perform our everyday tasks from the security of our homes.

As we continue to develop new technologies in a never-ending march towards the future, what will the eagerly awaited “new normal” truly look like?

The surge of the online world

With the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020, the online world changed its shape overnight. With the inevitable changes across all industry sectors and private lives that have become a part of our reality as the result of the COVID-19 pandemic, here at domain.ME, we have witnessed changes in our audience’s behavior through domain name registrations. 

Right away, it became obvious that the online world began to grow and change as a result of the pandemic. Across the internet, there has been a significant increase in the number of registered domain names and, ultimately, new websites.

We took a look at numbers in July and there are 28.65% more .ME domains developed into websites, while e-commerce websites increased by 85.36%. At the end of the year, upon performing a keyword analysis of the registered domain names and created websites, we found that the number of websites devoted to freelance work (9,15%), webinars (19,23%), online courses (13,26%), and e-learning (6,61%) has significantly increased. 

What does the data tell us?

While the brick and mortar business struggled in 2020, and continue to struggle, e-commerce businesses have flourished. However, merely applying new technologies is not sufficient for the survival of an organization. Rather, we need to adapt to the new digital market. For those coming from an industry that previously wasn’t digital-first, it is crucial to be aware that information about a company, product or service MUST exist online today in the form of a website.

But, that is not all, with nearly everything being available online, the user experience bar has been raised. Website visitors won’t compare their experience on your website only with your competition’s website. Instead, the new digital client will compare your website with platforms like Netflix and Amazon, and look for a similarly smooth and easy experience on any device. In other words, ensure that your online presence is user friendly and adjusted to your target audience.

Predrag Lešić, CEO of domain.ME 

Support for newcomers

Triggered by the pandemic, the general public became aware of the advantages of cloud computing and of being present online. Suddenly, technology was front and centre of our daily routines – whether we were keeping in touch with our friends and family, or performing our business activities. Thus fundamentally changing people’s attitudes, and becoming an integral part of the “new normal”.

Last year, a typical IONOS’ SMB customer, was faced with the importance of investing in future viability and ensuring that their business is present online and can be operated remotely. We have observed that once companies start on this path, they will be more likely to further expand the digitalization of their business – starting with their own domain, entering it in online directories, creating a website or an online shop, and using online marketing services.

At the beginning of the pandemic, we saw a massive increase in registrations for both personal and e-commerce domains and websites. Assuming this would be one of our regular spikes – usually driven by a new app or a trending topic – the IONOS domain team was surprised to learn that domain registrations settled on a higher baseline, which can be attributed to an increase in e-commerce and hosting activity.

As a leading hosting provider, we’ve realised that in order to ensure the success of our less tech-savvy users, we have to guide them through the process of rapid digitalization. This entailed giving them the confidence to take the first steps – because it’s never too late to be part of this new era of digitalization. 

As a result, we have introduced a dedicated product segment for newcomers. We also offer advice and support with a personal consultant, an extensive help center and Digital Guide. Backed by our support, businesses can start to find the right path to online success, all at their own pace.

Ulrich Retzlaff, Domain Name Expert & Partner Manager at IONOS

One last remark

Don’t wait, just go for it. Our behavior has changed over the last year, and we as businesses should adopt it too. Regardless of tomorrow’s post-COVID way of life, we should maximise our online presence by any means as customers will remain to browse online searching for information at least.