Several new domain extensions have been approved by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority recently, bringing the total number of top-level domains to 1,528 as of February 2017. This means numerous domain names are now available for businesses. In the UK, businesses now have a wide range of options for their websites, which can be advantageous as they try to build their brands.
Here are a few ways do’s and don’ts, when looking to utilizing these new TLD’s for your business:
- New domain names don’t affect SEO
That domain name extensions .edu, .com, and .org are regarded as the best when it comes to ranking on search engine results. However, in view of the introduction of new domain names, it is also widely believed that domain name extensions don’t negatively affect SEO. They can’t be used to boost SEO efforts but at the same time, they are deemed harmless. That’s why if you are planning to get a new domain name or replace your old one for the sake of search engine optimization, there are better things you should be doing. However, if you are starting a new site and you don’t have a domain name yet, it wouldn’t hurt going for the new domain name extensions such as .car for your car business or .coop for your cooperative instead of using the traditional .com, .biz, or .org.
- The new domain names are for humans
These new domain names, however, are easier to remember and spell out. As such, they make it easier for potential customers to visit your site. They are a boon for the human aspect of accessing websites. At present, the new domain names appear to be an advantage for humans and not fodder for search engine bots or crawlers. You can also leverage the new TLD’s to great effect by utilizing the UK domain name offered by UK registrars such as LCN, which allow you to go local with UK-specific TLD’s.
- Make the most of the new domain name extensions but be careful not to confuse your customers
Take advantage of the new domain name extensions as you choose and use your domain names. Shorter domain names are better so instead of having a domain name that goes something like “happyvilleapartments.com,” you can just have “happyville.apartments.” You can try to be creative but make sure you don’t end up confusing your potential customers. For example, your company name is “Big Boys’ Toys” and you want to use the domain name “bigboys.toys.” This might end up confusing your customers as they may end up using the address “bigboystoys.com,” which will take them to a competitors’ site.
If you want to the new domain names for your business, you have to take into account the possible confusion. As much as possible, your advertising materials or your storefront’s banner should clearly indicate your website’s domain name or URL. Again, it’s worth emphasizing the importance of not confusing your potential customers. Avoid using a domain name that is similar to what your competitors are using. Always think that most internet users still tend to think that website addresses end with .com, .org, .biz, .net, and the other more popular domain name extensions. Don’t decide, for example, to get the domain name “thisshouldhavebeenmydomain.name,” thinking that you are finally taking the domain name you think is rightfully yours. It may just backfire on you as customers may just end up using “thisshouldhavebeenmydomainname.com” by force of habit.
- Google and other search engines may eventually change algorithms in relation to the new domain names
Google and other search engines are likely going to make changes in their search algorithms to reflect the existence of new domain name extensions. These new domain name extensions may eventually influence SEO. It is likely that the names will bear some weight as sites with .car in their URL, for example, may be presumed to be about automobiles. Sites may be grouped according to their domain name extensions. Hence, it’s advisable to be careful in choosing and using new domain names. You don’t want to lose SEO points by using something like “Honeyour.build” (for a gym’s website) and make the search bots and people presume that your site is about construction.
In summary, to answer the question posited in this post’s title, UK small businesses can make use of the new domain names to shorten their web addresses/URLs. They can use these to make it easier for customers to remember their web addresses. However, it’s important to avoid confusion and to make sure the domain name you are using does not become a drawback instead.