One of the most difficult challenges for any new company is finding a way of standing out from the vast number of .com domains on the internet. Having a short, easily-remembered name is clearly a plus, but one of the depressing facts any start-up team hoping to make a statement online must grapple with is that every four-character combination of letters with the suffix “.com” has already been taken – along with most of the attractive five character ones!

However, don’t despair. A ready solution is at hand for Scottish companies in the shape of .scot, a top-level domain for Scotland and Scottish culture. This became available in September 2014 from DotScot Registry and has helped many companies and organisations achieve a distinctive Scottish identity and branding for themselves. Users of the domain can be found in 43 countries, with .scot being used to represent a myriad of businesses and organisations.

This works equally well for both large, established organisations and for new start-ups keen to forge their own brand and identity. No less an organisation than the Scottish Government uses the name, and the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is on record saying the .scot domain helps give the Government a crisp, clear online identity.

For a new Scottish company looking to develop an export market for itself, the distinctive Scottish branding given by the .scot domain is a huge advantage. For example, a company doing anything involved with the outdoors - be it organising tours to various Scottish locations or selling outdoor gear abroad -  Scotland’s natural heritage is a huge plus. The grandeur of the Scottish landscape, with its mountains, lochs, forests, glens and castles combined with the .scot domain lends itself to conjuring up such images, even while the viewer is keying in the address.

Two other areas where Scotland’s unique reputation and history can help to add weight to a new brand are in the fields of finance and innovation. The Bank of Scotland, now part of Lloyds Banking Group, was one of the first banks in Europe to print its own notes and Scottish bankers have a centuries-old reputation for probity and prudence. With that history behind you, flagging up any piece of fintech or financial services offering as “.scot” is bound to carry a certain weight.

On innovation, the case for branding your operation as “Scottish” is even stronger. For a small country, Scotland has an astonishing history of “firsts” in world-changing inventions. Whether it’s John Napier inventing logarithms, John Logie Baird inventing television, Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone or James Clerk Maxwell laying the foundations for colour photography, Scots have pioneered way more than their share of breakthroughs. So if you have a startling new product, or innovative app to take to market, .scot is definitely the way to go.

Moreover, using a new gTLD such as .scot can help boost your SEO rankings, and the popular myth that these domains can have a negative impact on your Google rankings has been debunked. Thousands of companies worldwide are taking advantage of the versatile .scot domain name; a growing community benefiting from distinctive branding from the get-go.

Show your Scottish connection with a .scot domain at