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More than 700 new Laois websites registered in 2020 as businesses move online

Laois businesses, services, and community groups registered 733 new websites in 2020.

The latest .ie Domain Profile Report, which explores and analyses the .ie database, says that the number represents a 13% increase on 2019.

This, the group says, shows how the county has mobilised online in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

There were 39,722 new .ie domain registrations in Leinster in 2020, a 28% increase on 2019.

In total, 65,113 new .ie domains were registered in 2020, the highest figure ever recorded and an almost 30% increase on 2019. Every county on the island of Ireland recorded an increase in registrations.

“The nationwide increase in new .ie domain registrations is very encouraging,” said David Curtin, Chief Executive of .IE, Ireland’s national registry for .ie domains.

“It suggests that businesses and public services, regardless of county or whether they are in a city or a small town, were able to quickly and easily set up an online presence and meet local demand in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This is evident in Laois and across the entire province of Leinster.”

The pandemic affected the online identities chosen in 2020, which is evident in the words used in new .ie domain web addresses. “Health” and “Covid” were the second and fourth most common keywords respectively.

315 .ie domains containing the word “mask” or “facemask” were registered in 2020 compared to just 6 in 2019; 61 containing the word “remote” (e.g. remote work) were registered in 2020 compared to 5 in 2019.

General health-related keywords, including “wellness”, “supplement”, “pharmacy”, and “fitness”, increased 92% year-on-year.

178 .ie web addresses containing the words “mental health” or “counselling” were registered in 2020, up from 87 in 2019 (+105%). 89 .ie domains containing the words “doctor” or “nurse” were registered vs 62 in 2019 (+44%).

“Many health services are now delivering their services online, for example through virtual consultations with patients and e-prescriptions sent securely to their local pharmacy,” said Mr Curtin.

“Digital has given them the tools they need to adapt to a socially distanced Covid-19 economy and provide continuity of care to local patients, in the comfort and safety of their own familiar environment.”

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.