Selecting your domain name for your online business is a real challenge – and it’s a decision you’ll have to live with for a long time. That’s why it’s so essential to get it right the first time and avoid being dragged down by a domain name that is causing your firm problems.
A few years ago, choosing your domain name was relatively simple. It was usually along the lines of your brand name, with a traditional generic top-level domain (gTLD) like .com, .info or .net. There were 22 of these gTLDs available, and most businesses stick to the most recognisable and straightforward options.
However, a flood of new gTLDs has entered the online world in recent years, and website owners now have more than 1,000 options to choose from. Now, instead of simply opting for a .co.uk or a .org, you could choose .xyz, .london, .ninja, .food, .tech, .fun, .marketing and many more. So what are the advantages (or disadvantages) of choosing these newfangled gTLDs – and what’s the best option for your business?
Will a new gTLD help me stand out?
Perhaps – but it may also have the adverse effect of making your website seem like untrustworthy, or too ‘novelty’. Adding .ninja as a domain extension to your site might seem like a fun, wacky idea that will help differentiate you from competitors, but will it be compatible with your brand forever?
Benefits of a new gTLD
Your gTLD can now be more descriptive of what your business does. If you’re an artisan butcher, you can use .food as your domain extension, which is especially useful if it’s not immediately clear from your domain name what industry your business is in. If your business is situated in a particular location which you want to capitalise on, you can use gTLDs like .miami, .paris or .budapest. This can help you when marketing your business to residents in those cities.
Downsides of a new gTLD
.com has been the ‘default’ gTLD for almost thirty years – it’s almost hardwired into our brains at this point. The familiarity and prestige of a .com website is something that’s hard to replicate – some firms have reported trouble when opting for a .co domain extension because customers are so accustomed to typing .com at the end of most URLs.
Many of the gTLDs that you’re likely to choose are much longer than the four keystrokes it takes to type ‘.com.’ at the end of a web URL. This can add an unnecessary complication to your domain name, and give your visitors an increased chance to misspell the entire thing.
Will a new gTLD boost my SEO?
One of the rumours about these new domain extensions is that they’ll help bolster SEO efforts. But Google has come right out and put this rumour to bed, stating: ‘A: Overall, our systems treat new gTLDs like other gTLDs (like .com and .org). Keywords in a TLD do not give any advantage or disadvantage in search’. You might have thought you were super-smart using one of your main keywords as your domain extension, but in reality, it has absolutely no effect.