It used to be that many business names weren’t even finalized until after an extensive online search for available domain names to find something short, memorable and SEO-friendly. That’s because for the past 20 years there have only been about 22 generic domains (.com, .net, .edu, .org) and a little more than 250 country domains (.eu, .us, .ca.) available. This situation made generic domain names hard to find and a rare commodity for businesses.
However, over the last few years the release of over a thousand new domain extensions promises to completely change the internet and our current concepts of online branding. While .com, .net, .edu, etc. used to be the go-to-domains of choice for many, the availability of new and more relevant domain names is changing the way businesses are selecting their online web address.
The release of new domains has enabled businesses to rethink what a domain name really means. Shouldn’t it be more meaningful? The answer to that question is a definitive “yes.”
While .com is the most ubiquitous of the domain extensions, new generic domain names are popping up more frequently. Welcome to the “not-com” revolution, all you have to do is an online Google search to see the use of domains such as .shop, .io, .club and more. Players like Google have their parent company on www.abc.xyz , and Lady Gaga’s foundation uses www.bornthisway.foundation. And if you’re a startup or small or medium sized business, a focus on branding and reaching local audiences is also a consideration.
There are over 600 generic domains available today, so the opportunity to carry your brand to your domain name is now available more than ever but how do you choose?
For many businesses, location is one of the most important features. Why not use your domain to distinguish your brand at a local level or tie your brand image back to an iconic geo? The trend for domains is all about customization to make your web address work for you.
A geographic domain is a valuable asset that helps tell your business’s story. It’s also a rare commodity. As of 2017 there are only 5 of geographic domains in North America (.nyc, .boston, .vegas, .miami, .quebec).
What makes some geographic domains particularly special is that they signify some tie or relationship to the geographic location used for their domain name. For example, .nyc is one of the strictest geographic domains for buyers. It requires proof of a physical address in New York City to ensure only New Yorkers can own .nyc domain names. This makes .nyc a highly valuable geographic domain as it communicates that there’s a real office with real people behind it who are actually located in New York City.
This is especially beneficial on a community level. As people look to “shop local” and support community retail, highlighting your business as a NYC owned-and-operated store allows you to showcase your local pride and advertise to shoppers that you are community-based.
One of the biggest reasons to use a geo domain is that it can help you rank better in local Google searches. In 2015, the owner of souvenirs.nyc remarked “Very soon after launch, we started ranking highly in search engines very quickly, and within the first week we were on first page for terms like “nyc souvenirs”. Within the first month, we were ranked in the top 3 results for a number of souvenir-related queries.”
A possible explanation for this phenomenon is that search engine optimization (SEO) is all about click-through rates and localization. With a .nyc domain name, your website stands alone as a New York City owned and operated business. When people are searching for a local business and they see a .nyc, they’re likely to click through.
Having found a relevant website, visitors also likely to stay longer. Google monitors and tracks click-through rates and how long visitors stay on your website. As both of these numbers increase, you increase your SEO value which helps drive more traffic to your site.
A locally focused shorter and more descriptive domain helps build website traffic in more ways than just higher “click-throughs”. Overall, people who are online running their own blogs, social media accounts, and websites will tend to trust succinct domain names more as they are associated with authenticity.
Here’s another insight from the owner of souvenirs.nyc: “[We] believe that there is more trust from people when they see a shorter name and one word. They are more likely to link to you, to cover you in a blog, to send you traffic. When people don’t trust your site, they don’t share it. With our .nyc domain, there is no need for branding. It resonates strongly, and it’s easy to remember shorter domains.”
Is part of your brand story that your business is cutting edge? Then having a .nyc domain surely proves just that. By having a .nyc domain, you can get a name branded to suit your business and location – short, memorable and SEO-friendly.
Starting a business soon? Go ahead and search for your ideal domain name at ownit.nyc. You’ll be surprised at what’s possible.
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