As more and more brands enter digital maturity, new top-level domains (TLDs) are becoming available for registration. Previously, only generic domain names and country code domains were available for use, such as .com, .net, .us, .ca, etc. Now the doors have been opened to a whole new set of domain extensions, including .business, .expert, and .guru. Here is everything you need to know about new top-level domain names and why they were introduced:
Growing Shortage of Alternatives. As companies expand their presence in the digital space, acquiring an appropriate top-level domain name has become increasingly difficult. It wasn’t long before most short domains were taken and resulted in newer domain names becoming increasingly long and absurd. For example, flights.com is unavailable and the alternatives becoming increasingly bizarre: cheapflights.com, buycheapflights.com, bestcheapflights747.com.
Providing New Choices. The introduction of new domain name structures not only made it possible for companies to acquire an appropriate domain, but also tailor their domain to appeal to both their target consumers and performance on search engines. For example, healthfoodbusiness.com can now be structured as healthfood.business or health-food.business.
A Domain Name at a Glance. With increased flexibility for companies to acquire a tailored and concise top-level domain, it is possible for consumers to gain more insight about a company directly from their domain name, such as their location and area of business. From a company’s perspective, a differentiated and professional domain name may provide it the edge they need over their competitors.
Increased Regional SEO Value. Search engines currently do not rank new domains differently from established domains on a search engine results page (SERP), but there are regional benefits where a .de domain will rank higher on SERPs in Germany but not in the USA. With this in mind, companies may want to consider how this affects their choice on a top-level domain name if their target audience is in a different region, for example: green-cars.ottawa.
New TLD Name Options. The list of available new domains is growing every day, but in general new domains can be internet terms, a description of an offer, or regions. Examples include: .website, .online, .webpage, .work, .photography, .travel, .ca.us, .berlin.de, .bc.ca, etc. The possibility for a company to acquire a more suitable domain is now significantly higher.
Restrictions on Choosing a New Domain. When a company is choosing a new top-level domain name, it must follow rules set by the respective domain registry. Common restrictions include trademark law and regional domain extensions. Protected company brands and names are not available while many regional domain extensions are only allowed if the company is based in that specific region.
Securing a New TLD Name. While many new domain names have launch dates, many others do not have a specified release date. Companies can either request a non-binding pre-reservation for domains without a specified release date or a binding pre-registration for domain names with a specified release date. Non-binding pre-reservations allow companies to pre-order a new domain name with no obligation to buy when the domain is ultimately released. Binding pre-registrations require payment upfront and is a binding agreement.
The availability of new top-level domain names opens doors for companies seeking to harden their digital presence. Ultimately, the decision to choose a new domain name is a strategic one that should be made in tangent with a company’s business goals. As the world evolves to be increasingly digital, how a company presents itself on the world wide web is more important than ever.