Nick Leech, digital marketing director at 123-reg, looks at how to choose the right domain name amongst the plethora of new gTLDs.
In the first quarter of 2014 alone, the total number of registered domains hit 267 million globally. With this number of domain names being snapped up, you may be concerned that your preferred name might be taken and ‘panic buy’ to avoid missing out. However, if you can only afford one domain, you need to make an educated choice to ensure your domain is suited to your business. Entrepreneurs and small business owners need to assess the new wave of gTLDs to choose a domain that reaches the right audience.
When choosing a domain for your business, there are a few key things to remember. Firstly, shorter is better, especially in a world driven by social media. Every character counts, and longer domain names will eat into character allowances. Secondly, choose a name that accurately reflects the nature of your business. By matching your domain name to the content of your homepage, consumers are more likely to come across your business when searching for a specific service. Thirdly, if you have a local business, consider a local domain. If your business is only relevant to customers in London, choose a .london domain to increase search engine visibility.
Even with these initial rules, there is still the debate of whether to choose a specialist domain name, or one of the more generic new TLDs. To make the choice easier, let’s break down the benefits of each:
A generic domain, such as .xyz, could be considered to be the perfect domain for any entrepreneur or start-up. .xyz offers the same global reach as .com, and still has a large selection of names available. With .xyz, you can be sure that your domain is not tied to a specific sector or location, giving your business the opportunity to grow and reach new markets.
Specialist domain names offer you the opportunity to carve a niche in the online marketplace. By selecting an extension in your specific area, such as .photography, you can convey a sense of expertise in your field.
If you choose to use a specialist domain name, it’s important to decide which domain best describes your business. For example, if you’re a pub owner, would you pick .pub or .food? .food would have a broader reach, but .pub would be more specific to your business and send a clearer message to consumers. Your ideal reach and clientele is a huge consideration when choosing a domain, so make sure you consider all implications.
Selecting a domain is about more than just your online portfolio. It’s about building your brand and extending your appeal to new customers. If you want to stand out and enjoy an expert level status, choose a specialist domain. To grow and expand to different markets, choose a more generic domain. Remember, a domain is an investment in your business and, if you can only afford one, it’s a choice that should be carefully thought through.