If you own a business, there’s a good chance you’ve experienced a problem that has plagued the World Wide Web since its inception — domain name unavailability. There are few things worse than when you see that dreaded message:
In the past, you might have considered adding your location in order to find a unique domain name, ie. burlingtonpressNJ.com, but that just creates more typing for potential clients trying to access your website or send an email. Perhaps you’ve even tried to contact the person who owns the domain name to negotiate a purchase price? In any event, it can be very frustrating.
Somewhat ironically, the shortage actually began at the end of the name.
First, lets look at a domain name’s structure. The most identifiable part exists to the left of the dot, ie. burlingtonpress.com. The right side of the domain, ie. burlingtonpress.COM, is known as the top-level domain (TLD), and that’s the part that created the problem.
For years, the Internet only used a handful of top-level domains. I’m sure you’re familiar with the original 6 TLDs: .com, .edu, .gov, .mil, .org and .net. Of those 6, only .com was not intended for any specific purpose, which made it a domain name “catch all” for many years. Because of this, .com essentially became synonymous with the Internet.
With more than 127 million .com domain names registered as of June 2016, it can be difficult to find the perfect domain name for your business. Luckily, that is changing.
Over the last couple of years, ICANN has been introducing more and more TLDs into the Internet architecture. Now, instead of being limited to .com, businesses and organizations have many more options. Just take a look at the growing list of new TLDs.
Are you opening a pizza shop in Bordentown? Try bordentown.pizza.
Do you own Jones’ Bicycle Shop? Try jones.bike.
Are you a photographer named Richard Lewis? Try richardlewis.photo. Oh, wait, that one is taken!
One of the biggest advantages of new, non-traditional TLDs is that it puts an end to the frustration of obtaining a .com domain name. For instance, someone who just opened a cafe in Medford might be interested in medfordcafe.com. Unfortunately, that domain is owned by a California-based company. However, medford.cafe is currently available and, better yet, shorter!
Also, because some TLDs will be restricted to only businesses within specific industries, they can help ensure consumer confidence and prevent fraudulent or deceptive parties from using them. Here are a few domain names that require verification:
The new TLDs can also help with search engine optimization. Let’s say a new dental office just opened up in Moorestown. In the past, this practice may have opted to use a domain like like jimsmithdds.com. This would be very identifiable for those looking specifically for Dr. Jim Smith, but doesn’t necessarily exclaim that he’s a dentist in Moorestown. Now, with the new TLD options, they could instead use moorestown.dentist. Not only do they have a very relevant domain name, but it also contains the exact search term that potential clients will likely use, making it extremely SEO friendly.
If you already have a website on an established domain, you can still take advantage of a new TLD. You can leave your website right where it’s at and forward the new domain. Or, if you prefer, you can move your website to the new TLD and forward traffic from your old domain. If you’re unsure which is the better option or need help implementing domain changes, we can help!