Hundreds of new domain extensions are now available and as a business, what do you need to know? How can these new domains impact your online presence?
Before diving in, a new domain extension or a TLD is the string of letters to the right of the dot. We're most familiar with the .ca, .com, .net, .info and .org.
The new gTLD program took years to develop and launch. After years of deliberation, the first extensions launched on November 2013.
What are some of the new domain extensions?
Before the launch of the new domains, there were 1,930 applications sent in. Below are a few examples:
Except for .app and .blog, these domains and a few hundred more are now available for use. As a business, should you register one for yourself? What do you need to know about these domains?
1. Understand the Domain Launch Phases
Each domain launches in two to three phases - Sunrise, Landrush, and General Availability.
Sunrise is the first launch phase and is only available to trademark holders. During this phase, registrations are limited to registered trademarks.
Landrush is an optional early access phase. Anyone can register a domain during this phase, but domains will be more expensive.
General Availability is the final launch phase and is open to everyone. Prices are standardized and registrations are on a first come, first served basis.
2. Use the new domain extensions for branding
The arrival of industry and profession specific extensions lets you create target sites. For example, a digital agency called Exceptional Agency can move from www.exceptionalagency.com to www.exceptional.agency.
A real life example of a company that used the new domains to rebrand is Google. On August 10, 2015, Google announced its products will be under a single conglomerate. Using the .xyz extension, Google used www.abc.xyz to launch Alphabet, its new parent company.
3. The New Domain Extensions and Search Engines
Google officially announced that the new extensions will not receive any special treatment. This means that using ".plumbing" to rank higher for local plumbing isn't going to work. Instead, focus on producing quality content to rank up and maintaining SEO best practices.
4. Use the New Domains to Speak to Your Audience
A .com domain doesn't mean much and this is where the new domains shine. The new extensions allow you to create domains that speak your audience's language.
To get the most out of the new domains, create quality content while using an extension that is relevant. Reinforce the connection you create with your domain with content that delights audiences.
5. Use the New Domains to Connect With Local Audiences
It isn't surprising that the most successful TLD category are geographic domains. .quebec, .london, .berlin, .nyc to name a few consistently generate registrations from local businesses. Because it conveys where a specific business operates, geographic domains establish a connection.
6. Use the New Domains to for Specific Pages
The new domains aren't just limited to promoting your business. In some case, you might need to create specific sections for different purposes. With extensions like .jobs or .help, businesses can create intuitive URLs for your website.
For example, use a .jobs to direct job-seekers or use .help to connect customers to your support team. In fact, a few businesses are utilizing the new domains to direct customers. Facebook and Amazon Inc. use www.Facebook.Jobs and www.Amazon.Jobs, respectively.
7. Branded Navigation
The Rightside Registry made an interesting point about the new domains. As mobile usage has overtaken desktop, there is an increasing need for branded navigation. The idea behind branded navigation is to use branded domain names to send customers to the right page. Instead of creating a dedicated site, businesses can use forwarding options as an alternative.
Using the imaginary digital agency, www.Exceptional.video can be used as a tool. Instead of providing a long URL (www.YouTube.com/user/ExceptionalAgency), the shorter domain acts as a replacement.
8. The New Domain Extension and Brand Protection
For those happy with an existing .com or a .ca, protecting any relevant domain extension is important. I stress the word relevant because it will be an uphill challenge to protect your brand as the list expands. Instead, choose the relevant domains that actually make sense for your business. If your business sells shirts, then .clothing or .boutique should be domain extensions you need to be aware of.