At the time of this writing (2019) there are many reasons why you should NOT have a leading "www." in front of your website address. Here is our list of the top ten (10) reasons why not:
- It is unnecessary, moot.
There is currently no need to have the letters "www" in your website address. Use of "www" as a URL prefix was added in the early days of the web and it caught on by accident. But for the rarest scenarios, using "www" has been unnecessary since circa 1994. The "www" is technically a 'sub-domain', but that's another topic.
- It is difficult to say.
Saying "www dot" adds ten (10) extra syllables to a website address. The letter "w" is the only letter in the English alphabet with more than one syllable in its pronunciation – in fact, each "w" requires three (3) syllables. It has been proven in some studies, that people are eighty-percent (80%) or more, prone to forget a website address, after pre-occupying their minds with all those useless "www" syllables.
- It takes longer to type.
Thanks to URLs that contain "www," the "W" key gets a lot more use than it should. Nobody should be expected to type "www." before they type your website's domain name.
- It takes up more space in the address bar.
The letters "www" take up space in a browser's address bar — especially on mobile devices. And while some browsers do remove the "www" automatically, others still show it, meaning that less of the useful URL information fits on the screen.
- It uses extra data.
Every URL with "www." includes four extra characters of text. Since each character requires an extra byte, or eight (8) bits of data, a URL with "www." requires thirty-two (32) more bits compared to a URL without the prefix. While thirty-two (32) bits is arguably a small amount of data, when multiplied by the billions of URLs visited every day, it adds up to a lot of extra processing and bandwidth. Additionally, it may cause various web-servers to issue a 302 or 301 redirection response back to the visitor, which requires web-browsers to re-request the page entirely - adding up to even more unnecessary web-traffic.
- It creates confusion.
While some web-servers redirect "www" prefixed requests to the correct URL, some don't. Remove the "www" and avoid creating confusion.
- It causes bounced emails.
Some people that are not tech-savvy wrongfully believe that they need to include "www" in email addresses because they saw the "www" prefix used on a website. The resulting bounced emails could simply be avoided by avoiding "www" in the first place. Using "www" in the year 2020 is foolishness, especially if you are tech-savvy.
- It creates inconsistent branding.
Your domain name should ideally express something about your brand, product and/or service offering; and if appropriate in some scenarios, also your geographic location. Dropping "www" from your web address can build consistency between your brand and your website.
- No one says the "world wide web" anymore.
The letters "WWW" are a short-form for "World Wide Web." That phrase is antiquated, now being decades old. Why prolong the past by placing an outdated prefix before your domain name? Using the letters "www" can make you appear to be akin to a 1990's era newbie to the web, and modern tech-savvy customers might lack confidence to interact with you regarding concerns requiring even a moderate level of web sophistication.
- No WWW is the future.
Use of the "www." as a website URL prefix, is so last century. Now you might argue that typing "www" in a social media post tells Facebook, Twitter, etc., to convert the text into a link. However, the same is true of typing "h t t p s : / /" before a domain name; and while the "h t t p s : / /" is a few more keystrokes, it has the added benefits of subtly saying: our website is secure and we're modern.
Any change to any webpage URL can negatively impact that webpage's search-engine rank if done improperly. Fortunately, by redirecting old URLs to a new URL, search-engines are able to follow those redirects and re-index webpages at their new URL.
The most important step in removing "www" from a web address is to ensure that the redirection to a new URL is done so using a "301 redirect." Doing it this way, informs search engines that the webpage URL has been permanently moved. The search-engine will follow the redirect and re-index the page without using a leading "www." At Marketing.Legal, our website platform automatically removes the "www." from URLs.