Boost Your Brand with a Unique TLD

2 Mar 2017 / Aliesha Ellington / Brand Marketing

The internet space is constantly expanding in order to accommodate increasing users and in the same way, there has been an expansion in domain extension alternatives, giving new businesses and individuals a wider range of choices.

Top-level domains (TLDs) are also known as domain extensions. It is the part of your web address that appears to the right of the dot, after your domain name. A popular example is .com.  Since .com has become synonymous with the internet and is the most popular and widely used extension, a lot of businesses have had to go for other domain extension alternatives, or have had to tweak their domain names when they realized that those names were unavailable.

In response to this, theInternational Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)began rolling out hundreds of new generic top-level domains (gTLDs), a large number of domain name alternatives to the mostly .com web addresses have become available. From generic to branded and geographic gTLDs, there are now close to a thousand, the most popular of which is currently .xyz.

Making Sense of the Domain Landscape

You have to consider that in the before these domain extensions were realised in the last few years, there was a much smaller number of possible versions of the same domain. So this change comes with an expansion of brand protection strategies that make it important for businesses to position their brand in such a way that it can benefit from a unique gTLD.

Understandably, a number of tech experts agree that .com is still king. However, the branding potential has led to a rise in the demand for different extensions beyond the more popular .com, .net, .org and so on in opting for a unique gTLD. A relevant extension that is industry-specific and that projects your niche, for example .health for a health care company, makes sense for your branding in the same way as registering a versatile extension such as .website.

Why Some Brands Have Started Moving to Brand gTLDs

Some brands have started to obtain branded Top-Level Domains, because they provide an opportunity to build customer trust and engage customers on a personal level. A brand TLD is like any other top-level domain. However, instead of a general term that can be used by anyone registering anything (such as .org or .net) or a term that only a group of people are eligible to use, it is the brand’s trade mark, for example, .google or .apple. Although it adds a significant cost to the business, it does a lot for the brand marketing and digital identity management of the business. It also helps brands to stand out in a crowded digital landscape.

With a domain extension that is your brand name, you are able to relate with your customers on a more familiar plane as they are likely to remember your brand. In the same way, a brand name extension helps customers build trust in your brand. This is because they can be sure that they are on an authentic site in the midst of phishing and scamming risks, and inauthentic lookalike websites. However, this is out of reach for many small businesses, but there are plenty of other ways you can use other generic TLDs.

How Your Brand Can Benefit from a Unique gTLD

  • With the various gTLDS available, it is possible for you to have domains that are more self-descriptive.  For example, a site with an extension like .law or .blog is quite self explanatory. These are industry or niche extensions that also represent keywords and can contribute to your site’s online visibility when a related search is carried out on a platform such as Google. A unique gTLD can contribute to your business marketing, especially in an era when search engines are used so widely.
  • Since the more populardomain extensions like .org and .com are relatively overcrowded, some domain names you may choose may be unavailable. A unique generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) such as .blog or .news, provides you with the option of registering a shorter, more self-relevant and self-descriptive domain name. This also means that you are now less restricted in your choice.
  • Undoubtedly, in a bid to make the internet more user friendly and closer to home, search engines such as Google, have advocated and pushed for more ‘localization’ online. Giving more importance to a user’s geographical nearness affects search outcomes as preference is given to results, which for the user, is more easily accessible based on the user’s IP address. What this means is that a TLD that is location-specific also known as a geographical domain, such as .london, is more likely to be relevant to a user who is searching from the same location. 
  • A unique gTLD also enhances your online marketing in relation to targeting your customer base.

Choosing to use a unique TLD doesn’t meant that you have to do away with your more traditional domain either. Make use ofdomain forwardingto redirect visitors to your unique TLD domain through to your website. 

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