As a potential new website owner, one of the hardest decisions you will have to make is choosing a domain name. It is even more difficult for business owners as have to make all decisions in line with already established branding templates.
“A major part of choosing a domain that adds to the difficulty is choosing a generic top-level domain (gTLD) to go with. Before, it was a no brainer as there were few options available (with .com being the most popular by far). Today, ICANN opens up new extensions or gTLDs every year, doubling the difficulty of the domain selection process. “
“Throw in the fact that Google has refused to make things clear on the SEO-domain name relationship front and the myriad of half-truths and outright lies by owners of domains on the new gTLDs and old gLTDs divide and it is sometimes a herculean task for some to pick a name.”
In this piece, however, we will address the major talking points.
Upgrading to a new domain name in future
It is a known fact that good .com domains are costly. This makes some domain owners to start out with cheaper domain names on other gTLDs in hopes of upgrading to a .com in future. There is nothing wrong with this thinking in future but do you necessarily need to go through the hassle? Not quite. Bit.ly may have set things off for many by moving to Bitly.com but there are no convincing advantages to using a .com domain. To some, a .com shows strength of the brand. Is that enough?
If you can find a good .com domain for your use, you should consider getting it but the days of .com dependency are fast disappearing. Otherwise, you should focus on finding a domain that can be easily remembered by visitors while ensuring the best user experience on the new site when launched. Companies like Openhost Website Hosting offer comprehensive packages that allow you to find any kind of domain names and extensions you may be looking for.
Uses of .tv, .fm and .dj
Contrary to popular opinions the above gTLDs have nothing to do with music, television and radio. The extensions are in fact country code TLDs for Tuvalu, Micronesia and Djibouti respectively. The music and TV sites that popularised these extensions bought them because of ease of remembrance and costs. So, do not allow false generalisations make you miss out on using domains that can work for you.
Use of new gTLDs for businesses
There is a misconception that big establishments don’t use new gTLDs and therefore new businesses shouldn’t either. Well, tech giants and conventional businesses like banks are beginning to snap up their own new gTLds. Barclays move to .Barclays in 2015 is perhaps one of the most high profile. A quick search online will also show you property companies using .estate as extension. So, you should be open to using the new gTLDs.
The fate of .com
“.com is dying” and “.com is here to stay” are two statements you are sure to hear a lot (depending on which side you are leaning) when discussing domains. There is nothing wrong with showing excitement at the rising impact of new gTLDs but with nearly 40% of registered domains still .com, there is no need for the .com obituaries just yet.
On the other hand, the popular extension is losing its grip on the market. Domain flippers are making .com more costly, making it harder for people that genuinely need them to get a hold of them. This has continued to drive the new gTLD growth with numbers up from two million to twenty-two million in just two years.
Change your gTLD in future
Of course it is possible to change you domain extension in future but you need to keep in mind that it could take quite a while for the changes to come into effect. Users may also not be aware of the change in extension and this could impact negatively on communications between your user base and your business. It is, therefore, best to work with a domain name that fits your long-term needs.
Trust for new gTLDs
Consumers generally don’t feel comfortable on sites with new gTLDs. This is according to research by NCC which showed that only 9% feel comfortable on sites with new gTLDs. So with that, should you dump the new gTLDs? Interestingly, the study pointed out that security concerns made users uncomfortable with new gTLDs to feel that they are on an insecure or scam site. For nearly 50% of users, quality branding and site design as well as communicating messages about security increased the feeling of trust.
Apart from the study, there are so many successful websites with new gTLDs that show that the design and content on the website has more impact in swaying and retaining trust than the chosen domain extension.
New Domains and SEO
According to Google, there are no differences in how new gTLDs and old gTLDs are viewed from an SEO standpoint. Keywords in the name don’t have any advantages or disadvantages either. Perhaps one of the strongest examples of this is the case of last.fm. A search of the word “last” throws it up on the first page.
Domain names are important. However, choosing one should not be as difficult. Although efforts should be made to choose the best possible names, emphasis must be laid on developing a website that offers a smooth UX experience and delivers on promises. With these two factors, you can make your domain name memorable regardless of what you choose to go with.