What’s In A Domain Name?

You may not know what Generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) are, but you’ll have seen plenty of them. They’re the .com, .net, etc. website addresses that you see. They are also the latest way to personalise your business’ domain name. There is an almost overwhelming number of domain endings to choose from; over 1000 have been released, some which may be directly related to the products or services you offer. Examples of these include, .photographer, .construction, .kitchen and .plumbing.

We are moving beyond a simpler time of making the choice between .com, .co.uk and .net. However, the initial addition of alternative endings such as .info and .biz didn’t really take off. Many businesses continued to select .co.uk and .com, preferring to tailor the URL and business name to ensure that those Top Level Domain (TLD) options were available.

So, if .info et al didn’t take off – they currently make up less than 5% of the total market – then what makes people think that gTLDs will be more successful? On the surface domain names ending in .guru, .photographer, .writer etc. sound like the great way to differentiate your business, but what exactly are the pros and cons? Read on to find out what adopting a gTLD for your business really means.

Pros

  • A great way to differentiate and brand your business – selecting a gTLD that represents your business, its products, services and even location can look great to customers and put you ahead of your competitors
  • Makes you easier to find, especially if you target your marketing and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) to your specific domain extension. For example, if people search for lighting and your domain ends in .lighting, you will be at the top of the list.
  • gTLDs could be a good alternative if your business name isn’t available as a .com or .co.uk domain name

 Cons

  • The Top Level Domains (TLDs), .com, .co.uk and .net are still the most recognisable and your clients will feel more comfortable with these than with the new gTLDs, at least for the time being
  • If you work across a number of product and service areas then finding one word to describe your business could be difficult. It could also mean buying and managing a number of domain names to beat your competitors, although that also happens with .co.uk, .com and .net.
  • They are not for everyone. There is a danger that people will get caught up in the hype surrounding gTLDs and jump on the bandwagon, even though it may not benefit the business at all.
  • Picking the wrong gTLD could do your business more harm than good. It’s the same as picking your business name, brand and colours; if your customers can’t relate then it can make marketing to them harder than it needs to be.

The evidence suggests that the TLDs such as .co.uk and .com – which currently has 40% of the market, even after the launch of other TLD options such as .info and .biz – will remain the most popular for now. As with any new initiative gTLDs will go through an early adopter stage before becoming mainstream. Some businesses are wary of making the move and it will take a while for customers to catch up.

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