Domain names are the start of every website, whether it’s what you type in to reach the site (or find in the google search), or what you’ve purchased to build your site around. But for such a basic part of online life, there’s a lot of misunderstandings about Domain Names.
.com is Key
While the .com Top Level Domain (TLD) still holds a lot of power and most people will assume that companies will use it (so if your customers remember your company name is Really Good Cars, they’re going to assume that your website is reallygoodcars.com), but few people actually type domain names directly into their browsers any more. Most people looking for Really Good Cars, will just search for it and will probably just click on the top link. So in reality it doesn’t matter if you use the .com, the .co.uk or the .xyz, as long as you get listed on the search engines.
People don’t trust new TLD’s
While there are many reasons to distrust new Top Level Domains, and I’ve written about a few myself, peoples trust isn’t one of them. With many people using mobile devices, where screen space is at a premium, address bars have begun to be hidden, so users aren’t even aware if you’re on a .com or a .xyz, they don’t see the address, just your site.
You can always change your TLD
While many people believe that you can just change the address of your website, and experiment with the various TLD’s to find out which is best, in reality that’s more problematic than it sounds. Changing the address of a site means that the search engines won’t necessarily treat it as being the same site, and your rankings in the search listings may start from scratch again. Worse, the search engines may treat your site’s new address as duplicate content of the sites old address (also a danger when running a site on multiple TLD’s), and duplicate content gets penalised heavily on search (a reason you should never copy and paste material of anyone elses website). While there are ways around this, it’s far easier, less time consuming and better for your visitors to just choose a domain and stick with it.
.com is Dying
Many think that all the good domain names in .com are taken, and while it’s clear that the most common words are already gone, there are still loads which haven’t yet been registered. When founding our own company, getting the .com was a key issue in naming ourselves, but to tell the absolute truth, we were still left with dozens of names to choose from. With a little creativity, you can still get cool, interesting and unique names in .com.
.com is going to dominate forever
While .com’s have been the mainstay of the Internet since the founding of the Web, there’s no way to predict if they’re going to remain important. But with the move to a more search based web, with automated systems searching out the information for the user, it is likely that domain names of all types will become less and less important in day to day use.
No Major Brands use new TLD’s
While a .com is a badge of pride for most companies, a surprising amount make sure they’ve got the alternatives available too, and in fact where it suits many companies deliberately choose a different TLD, to match their name, so for example Bitly, originally registered their domain name in the TLD for Libya, “bit.ly”, although they’ve gone on to register bitly.com as well. So if it suits, go for it, register something that makes you stand out from the crowd, be different to the rest of the ,com’s.