What’s in a name? If you’re a business, then quite a lot. With the right name you can set the tone for your business and create something that sticks in the mind and is easy to remember. Equally, the name of your website needs to be catchy and easy to remember for customers if they are to find you and keep coming back for more.
Selecting and registering domain names is now an important task for any new business as they start out. Luckily, changes to the way website names are registered can help with this and offer an opportunity for businesses.
What Are gTLDs?
Generic top-level domains or gTLDs are the extensions at the end of web addresses that have traditionally been in the form of .com, .biz and .net. Domain names are looked after by a non-profit organisation called ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) and a few years ago it decided to open up the system and pave the way for a raft of new types of web addresses.
The Types Of gTLDs
There are three types of new domain names to be aware of:
- Closed domains are those used by a single company, eg .microsoft or .apple.
- Restricted domains can only be used by a particular group of people so .london or .chicago would just be for people and businesses in those cities.
- Open domains can be registered any used in the same way as a .com could previously.
It can cost a lot to register a new domain but doing so can also be used as a business opportunity.
What Happens When A New Domain Name Is Released?
As Tech Donut notes, new domain names are often released onto the market and, when they are, they go through a few stages.
- 60-day ‘sunrise period’ when registered trademark holders can purchase their names.
- 30-day ‘landrush’ to apply for names not snapped up by trademark holders.
- Generally available when anyone can purchase a name.
Names can be bought in the same way that .co.uk or .com names were and they can also be pre-ordered.
Is It Worth Buying A New Domain Name?
The usefulness of these for your business might well depend on your budget and your particular niche as a business. If your business wants to hammer home its specialism, then a domain can be a really simple and effective way of doing so. There’s .home for people selling properties or .sport for people selling sporting equipment, say. If you’re based in a particular location then .cymru or .yorkshire might also be a badge of pride to show off your local roots.
Yet it’s worth noting that caution is advised before jumping straight onto a shiny new domain. There’s no evidence yet to say what impact this might have on your search engine visibility, and if you’ve already got a site you’ll need to handle the switch sensibly to avoid losing customers along the way.