If you are a business-minded person, you doubtlessly already know how important your online presence is for the success of your startup. Whether you primarily operate out of a brick-and-mortar store or your business is exclusively online, as of 2020, a good website will still be the backbone of your enterprise. Before you can get to building the site that takes your business to the top, though, you have to start by registering an ideal domain name with which to run your site.
That being said, if you’re still in the process of getting your business off the ground with online presence consider a good and reliable web hosting , you may not have unlimited funds to spend registering a domain. On top of that, you may not have your favorite picks available to you, due to the sheer number of domains that are registered daily. Still, there’s no reason to give up hope! The perfect name is out there, just waiting to be found by you. Sometimes you just need to think a little outside the box.
Why not .COM?
At this point you may be wondering why you can’t just register a domain like “yourbusiness.com” and be done with it. While .COM has certainly taken over as the most popular domain extension—even becoming a kind of shorthand for anything online—its ubiquity also poses problems for new businesses. Nearly half of all websites on the Internet today use a .COM extension. Given the sheer quantity of names already taken, finding one that is short, catchy, easy to remember, and STILL relevant to your business can be like finding a needle in a haystack. If you’ve ever struggled to think of an available username for any online service, you already know how problematic this can be.
Alternative gTLDs that Give your Site Pizzazz
One of the simplest ways to circumvent the problem of being unable to find a suitable .COM domain is to take advantage of one of the scores of other gTLDs available. A gTLD stands for “generic Top-Level Domain,” a category which includes .COM, but also things like .NET or .BIZ. You may already be familiar with those particular examples, but did you know you can also register .FITNESS, .PLAY, .PHOTO, and literally hundreds more? These specialized gTLDs are part of a program undertaken by Internet domain authorities called the new gTLD program. In fact, their entire purpose is to give new domainers like yourself more options.
Which gTLD is best suited to your business depends entirely on your business circumstances. There’s no “right” or “wrong” choice, only better or worse. Since no one can make the final call except for you, here is a list of a few new gTLDs that could possibly serve a variety of businesses, along with some description of why you may want to consider them.
- .ART — A great choice for anyone dealing with art, graphic design, photography, or even writing. Is your company focused on making commissioned concept art, logos, or anything else artistic? If so, a .ART gTLD may be right for you. Alternatively you could look into .DESIGN or .PHOTO.
- .GURU — Do you consider yourself an expert in your field? If so, a .GURU domain could be a way to emphasize that. Being a “guru” can cover a lot of ground while still being specific about the kind of expertise you bring to your clients’ table. If .GURU is still too general, you could also consider other options; For instance, a social media expert could use .SOCIAL.
- .GAME or .GAMES — A lot of game studios, even relatively big ones, had their beginning as a startup. If you count yourself among them, then a .GAME or .GAMES TLD may be your domain name’s holy grail. Both variants are available equally, however .GAMES sells for significantly less than .GAME.
- .SPORTS — If your startup is all about games, just not video games, then a .SPORTS TLD may be more your style.
- .TOP or .PRO — There are also a huge number of new gTLDs available that can spice up your domain while still staying fairly general. Are you a pro? Try .PRO. Is your business the tops? Try .TOP. These are by no means the only two gTLDs like this available, so feel free to explore if this sounds like the right path for you.
- ccTLDs — Last but not least, if you’re feeling particularly clever, you may want to see if you can come up with any creative ways to use a ccTLD. ccTLDs, or country-code Top-Level Domains, are TLDs that represent a certain country. Some of them have restricted use, or are only available to the government or governing bodies of the country in question, but this is not the case for all of them. There is also plenty of precedent for companies using the ccTLD for a country they are not affiliated with to enhance their domain, such as with musical.ly (.LY being the ccTLD for Libya). If this sounds like something you want to do, make sure to do your research first. Otherwise you could have a lot of success by going down this route. You can find a full list of all the ccTLDs available here on 101domain’s website.
Once again, there is no “best” domain extension for a startup. The funds you have available, the time frame by which you need your site to be active, and what specifically your startup is focused on all affect what gTLD you consider. After all is said and done, the most successful domain name, whether for a startup or a global enterprise, is one that reflects the business, embodies the company culture, and is easy for customers to remember. Last but least, your domain should be something you feel proud of owning. Starting a business is no small feat, nor is setting up your first website. It can be a real dog-eat-dog world out there, so why not make your domain something that makes you smile?