Building a new brand takes time and effort, more so if you're starting from scratch. However, it helps to have a TLD that will assist you in rising up the ranks of Google's algorithm. But are .com and .net domains our only choices nowadays? What else is in store for eCommerce businesses?
What Exactly Is a TLD?
The suffix at the end of a website's address, after the period, is a domain, also known as a domain extension. The Domain Name System (DNS) is responsible for coordinating the translation of DNS names into IP addresses on the internet.
But what is a top level domain? One of the many functions of domain TLD is to aid in the memorability of a website's URL. They can also be used to show official status with a government agency, university, country, and more.
When searching for a DNS name for your website, you should be aware of the three primary categories: generic, sponsored, and country code.
Generic TLD Extensions
For the most part, DNS names for commercial websites will end in this group of extensions. DNS name extensions that are widely used and widely available can be purchased by any website, and some are even offered for free. Commonly used TLD name suffixes like .net domain, .com, .org, and more are examples of generic TLDs.
Sponsored TLD Extensions
Some restrictions apply to the types of organizations that can register a domain with a sponsored extension. As an example, the .edu prefix is reserved for legitimate educational institutions, and the .gov extension is exclusively available to organizations affiliated with the United States government.
Country Code TLD Extensions
The location of a business can be indicated by its two-letter DNS extension, which is a common practice in many nations. The United States, Japan, and Germany all have their own top-level domains (TLDs), such as .us,.jp, and .de (Germany).
DNS Extension System
The initial purpose of DNS extensions was to classify websites by the kind of organization they belonged to. The idea was that any website could be sorted into three levels: the entity level ("top-level"), the name level ("second-level"), and the section level ("third-level") with the help of subdomains.
While this line of thinking is still valid to an extent, the DNS extension system has become less restrictive over time. Today, there are more than a thousand different DNS extensions, and some long-established ones are being used for unintended purposes.
Selecting the Most Effective TLD Names for an eCommerce Business
You may be thinking that you lack the necessary information to settle on a DNS name at this time. To select a DNS name for your online store, there are many factors to consider:
- What are the latest TLDs, and how do you know which one to choose?
- When it comes to branding, marketing, and positioning, how do new suffixes help?
- Is the name under my budget?
- To what extent do DNS names play a role in shaping the psyche of online shoppers?
Using a Strategy that Emphasizes Search Engine Optimization
Using a keyword as part of your TLD name can be very helpful in attracting traffic. Search engines place a high value on websites with what is called an "exact match domain name," or one that contains the targeted keyword in its entirety. An exact-match TLD name isn't necessary for high rankings, although it helps. There are, however, some drawbacks to domains that are keyword-focused:
- Most perfect TLD name matches are already in use;
- There is a high cost associated with purchasing a TLD name that is a precise match for your company's name.
If your domain name is www.plasticchairs.com, for example, you probably shouldn't sell computer monitors on your site but chairs.
Oftentimes, exact-match TLD names also lack personality and charm. If the perfect domain name for your online shop has already been snapped up, don't despair; there are still options available to you.
Using Specialized Internet TLDs
Alternate TLDs, such as those that are particular to certain industries, have proliferated in recent years. If you're looking for a good TLD name, go no further than this comprehensive list of available suffixes. Using an alternative TLD allows you to remove the generic ".com" from the TLD name, making room for more relevant terms. However, keep in mind that most clients are so accustomed to putting ".com" after a website name that they might forget your DNS name if you choose an alternative TLD.
The internet has normalized practices that would have been unthinkable even five years ago. Although .com is still the most familiar TLD, that could eventually change. It's advised to get .com but if that's already taken, or if you just want to be different, think of a clever and simple TLD.