UPDATE — Looking to go all non-www. See that article here.
This is old news, but still it lingers that people think you must type in www.google.com before a website in order to reach it. On rare occasion, I’ve even encountered people that think they need to actually type everything out: https://www.google.com/ — this is a terrible waste of time. You only need to type in google.com and hit enter. The browser and website should handle the rest.
One time I came across a website that just went to an error page if you didn’t use www, and this was a highly-visited, highly-ranked site. It was a little too frightening to think about how many potential customers they were losing because of this huge, yet easily fixable problem, so I gave them the heads up.
Even stranger, I still see companies putting www (or even worse http://) in print ads which should never happen. Admittedly, I have used www in print ads that I’ve designed in the past and I do understand why some others do it, to fill in the area, make it more squared off and symmetrical looking. For example, what looks better:
If you think the second, I agree… because its hierarchy is tiered from top to bottom in a better, more structured looking way. Still, if you can find a cleaner approach, it’s better to avoid the www altogether.
One place that should never ever give the full URL is when you’re on hold with customer service over the phone. I’m sure many of you have experienced this:
“Thanks for holding. We’re glad to have you as one of our customers (translation = we like your money, please stay with us). Did you know that you can also get help online at: h-t-t-p-:-/-/-w-w-w-.-website-.-com-/-help?”
Where they iterate every single character.
It’s really quite absurd, especially because they want you to get off the phone. It saves them time and money if you get off the phone and go on their website instead. All that is needed to be said is: website-.-com-/-help (website dot com slash help) and that’s it. These are often tech-savvy companies, or big companies that spend millions on marketing and feedback and efficiency. You’d think they would have the common sense to get this right.
One other noteworthy phasing out of www that companies are practicing that has been taking place over the past couple years and is due to Web 2.0, in my opinion, is the actual removal off www from their URL, having their domain redirect to the non-www version. Most notably, Twitter does this (not that they were the first mind you). Digg also does this and many others.
Go ahead and click on the link below:
It’ll appear to remove the www portion, but more accurately, what’s happening, is that it’s redirecting to the non-www version of the domain. A better way to see this would be to copy and paste https://www.twitter.com/ into your browser and hit enter.
Oppositely, I make sure all of my domains forward to the www versions. I do this to keep organization and consistency. I also think it looks nicer and more professional and most importantly, for SEO purposes.