What is a Generic Top-Level Domain? Should We Use It?
Imagine working hard to make your site stand out, only to get zero views. With all of the websites online, it can be hard to get traffic, especially at first.
If you're looking to add a new site to the web, you need to consider the best generic top-level domain. That way, you'll be able to compete with other websites and get traffic to help your business flourish.
Keep reading to learn more.
What Is a Top-Level Domain?
A top-level domain (TLD) is the part of your domain that comes after your business name.
Examples include .com, .org, and .gov. The top-level domain helps you choose the domain you want.
If two websites have the same second-level domain, which comes before the extension, the extension will differentiate the sites. That allows website visitors to arrive at the correct site.
When registering website domains, you'll need to select a top-level domain along with the rest of your name. Then, search engines and computers will be able to point to your site correctly.
Why Do Top-Level Domains Matter?
Top-level domains are important because they help distinguish between sites with the same second-level domain. For example, there may be example.com and example.net.
The two top-level domains, in that case, would be .com and .net. You can set up a website with the name you want, and you can select a good TLD to make your website stand out.
Whether you choose a common TLD or a less common one, it will make your website unique. Then, no one else can buy that same domain to try and copy your site.
What Are Generic Top-Level Domains?
A generic top-level domain (gTLD) is a type of TLD that doesn't refer to a specific country. You can also have country code top-level domains (ccTLDs), such as .us for the United States or .ca for Canada.
Domains that don't end in a country code usually fall under the category of gTLDs. Some gTLDs were the first TLDs, in general, to launch on the internet.
Generic TLDs cover some sort of theme, such as .com referring to commercial domains. A .gov domain refers to a website from the government.
Most gTLDs have at least three characters, while ccTLDs have two characters. One exception is .co, which can refer to Colombia or a company or corporation.
Sponsored Generic Top-Level Domains
When looking at types of TLDs, you will find some sponsored gTLDs.
Examples of these domains include .gov, .edu, and .jobs, and each domain in this category serves a different purpose.
A .gov domain is for a government site, while a .edu domain is for a school or college. You can use a .jobs domain when creating a web page that lists jobs for your business.
If you want to purchase a sponsored generic top-level domain, you will need to meet certain requirements. The organizations that maintain these domains want to make sure that not just anyone can buy a domain with their extension.
Non-Sponsored Generic Top-Level Domains
Non-sponsored generic top-level domains are open to anyone to purchase. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) monitors these domains.
At first, you would have to prove you were buying a site for a business to buy a .com domain. Non-profits would have to prove their status to purchase a .org domain.
However, most non-sponsored gTLDs are available for anyone to buy. An exception is .arpa, which is currently only available for technical infrastructure websites.
Why You Need a Generic Top-Level Domain
When choosing a website domain, you may have the option to select a subdomain. So your website Looks like www.yourname.example.com which usually means your website is free.
However, you should consider registering your own domain with a relevant top-level domain. It also helps to choose a gTLD over a ccTLD to give your business the best chance of growing in the future.
Here are a few detailed reasons why it's worth registering a gTLD.
Avoid Limiting Yourself
Registering a gTLD can help you keep from limiting yourself and your business. Even if you want to focus on local or domestic customers now, you never know when you'll want to expand internationally.
If you choose a ccTLD, such as .us, you could limit yourself. Visitors will be able to tell what country your business is in, and they may think you can't help them if they live in another country.
When you have an online business, being able to expand is particularly important. However, local businesses may not want to have a location limit, especially if you decide to open a second location somewhere else.
You can change your domain and redirect the old one later. But it will be much easier to start building trust if you choose the perfect name from the start.
Attract More Visitors
If you choose a gTLD, you may be able to attract visitors from all around the world. You can get people to want to click on your site and read your content, and they may purchase from you.
Getting more website traffic can be an excellent way to increase your sales. Even if not every visitor buys from you, they may come back to order something in the future.
Your loyal readers may even share your content with their friends and family. Those people could then become visitors and customers, so you won't have to work as hard to get more traffic yourself.
Attracting new visitors can take a lot of time, and it may also cost money. However, the more visitors you can attract now, the easier it will be to grow later.
If you choose a subdomain, in particular, your website can look unprofessional. Your website might also not look professional if you choose a country code that not many people use.
When starting a business or getting your business online, you need to look professional. Even if you have the best website design, a lack of a gTLD could make it hard for people to visit and stay on your site.
Fortunately, registering website domains isn't expensive, so you don't need a ton of funding to get started. Paying for a good gTLD now can make it easier for people to trust your business and to help it grow.
How to Choose a Generic Top-Level Domain
Between sponsored and non-sponsored gTLDs, you have a lot of name options to consider. It can seem overwhelming to choose all of the best domain, the perfect domain name components for your new business website.
As you research domain names, you should look at the generic top-level domains that may work well with your site. Then, you can choose a full domain name that makes sense for your business.
Whether you're looking for your first business website domain or a second domain, consider the following elements.
Consider the Purpose
First, you should think about the purpose of your website. When you're setting up a business website, .com is the ideal top-level domain to use since it refers to commercial websites.
However, if you're starting a business that will operate as a non-profit, you may qualify for a .org domain. You can also decide if you want to use your overall business name or start a website for a specific product that you've trademarked.
If you have a business site and want to create a separate site for a blog, you might choose the gTLD .blog. Also, you could choose to use a .pro domain if you will be offering professional services, such as accounting or legal counsel.
Knowing the purpose of your site can help you select a TLD that makes that purpose clear. Then, visitors will be able to know what you're all about before they land on your site.
Review What's Available
When you're ready to register a domain name, you can search for available domains. You'll be able to search for ideas and see if there are any extensions that you want that are available for the domain you searched for.
Maybe your business name is a common name, or you make your name the business when your name is one many people have. In those cases, the .com domain may not be available.
You'll have to decide if you want to use a .com domain or if you want to go with an extension such as .net. On the one hand, going with different gTLD lets you have the main part of your website be the name you want.
However, it also means there's another site out there with a similar name. You may have to be careful to ensure people visit your site instead of your competitor.
Brainstorm Similar Names
If you want to use .com but your first choice name isn't available, you can brainstorm ideas. Some registrars will suggest similar names that can help you find a good option.
However, you can make a few modifications to your name to see if something similar is available. For example, you might add "official" to your domain name.
If your name is your business name, you might add "the" to the beginning. You could also add "co" or "inc" to the end if those are part of your business name.
While this will limit you, another option is to add your city or state to the domain name. Then, you may be able to obtain the .com of a domain that still reflects your business but won't cost you a ton to purchase.
Think About Trust
As you compare gTLDs, you may find some newer options, such as .mobi or .live. These gTLDs are gaining traction, but they aren't as well-known as .com or .net.
Before you choose a newer gTLD, think about if you want to build trust quickly. If so, you may find that's easier to do if you select a more established top-level domain.
More people will know what it means, and they can more easily trust the site and want to click on it. However, people may not recognize newer gTLDs as trustworthy.
You may get some clicks and sales, but it could keep you from growing your business. Trust is vital for building a successful company, and choosing the wrong TLD can negatively affect you.
Don't Forget Memorability
When choosing a domain name, one of the things you should do is make it easy for people to remember. Keep your domain as short as you can, and make it easy to spell.
Choosing a popular gTLD, such as .com, can also make your domain more memorable. Think about when you go to type in a website name when you want to go straight to it.
You may assume the website uses .com as the gTLD, so you type that in. Put yourself in the shoes of your ideal visitors and customers, and consider if they may think that way.
If so, do whatever you can to obtain a .com domain, even if that means changing the second-level domain slightly. It may be annoying, but it can be well worth the change.
Set a Budget
Before registering website domains, consider how much you can afford to spend each year. Unfortunately, a domain isn't a one-time purchase, so you'll need to account for the cost in your annual business budget.
Some gTLDs can cost more than others, even if both names are available and the second-level domain is the same. You may also need to pay an extra fee the first time if you really want to buy a domain that isn't available.
Having a budget in mind can help you compare domains and domain registrars. Then, you'll be able to set up the website of your dreams without breaking the bank.
Which Generic Top-Level Domain Will You Choose?
Selecting the right generic top-level domain may seem like a small thing. However, it can affect your ability to get visitors and customers, and it may keep you from growing as you should.
Be sure to compare common and newer gTLDs to decide which is best for your site. Then, you'll be able to launch your online presence and make your business a success. You will the difference in the search results choosing the right domain.
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