Why register a new TLD? The pros and cons.
So you run a business, and now you are presented with all these cool new options for domain names to register. Should you invest the time and money in registering and utilising one of the new extensions?
As a business, there are a couple of reasons you may choose to register one of the many new TLDs available:
If you run a business and you are well known, or plan on being well known and successful, registering relevant geographic and generic domains may be a smart move.
Say you are a plumbing company, with offices in sydney and melbourne, and planning on expanding to Perth. Your business name is "Nicepipes Pty Ltd".
You may look at registering:
You may also attempt to register some generic domain names such as:
The above, although not vital will prevent one of your other competitors securing that new domain name, but also provide you with a great domain name that you may either choose to hold onto for later, or look into developing the website in a variety of ways.
New business and website
If you are a new business, these new spaces provide you with many more options on which domain names are available for you to register. Traditional TLDs such as .com, .net. .com.au and many others are so crowded these days, that it can be very hard to find an appropriate domain name that you are happy enough to for all your business uses.
These new spaces, although new, can be used exactly as any other domain space is to launch a new website, set up emails, setup subdomains and everything else you would normally do.
But there is a little more to it. To really work out whether a new TLD is the answer to all your problems, you should consider the following pros and cons:
Advantages of a TLD
Stands out from the crowd
A region specific or niche TLD tells your audience exactly what your business is about, if a city location or industry focus is a big part of your marketing strategy then this is another reason to consider a region specific TLD.
Can provide a level of trust
More relevent to the geographic TLDs, similar to a local geographic domain name extension such as .com.au or .co.nz, a local TLD such as .sydney or .perth bring some credibility to the content of the website.
Users can instantly tell it's a local business, or at least one targeted at users within that area.
Memorable & Brandable
The new TLDs are still relatively new and unfamiliar to the Australian market, and utilising one in your business, or in marketing material will immediately be something different to the consumer, and easier to remember than a long .com.au, or even a .net .au domain name.
More options with availability
With so many websites launching everyday, it's getting harder to find good domain names that have yet to be registered. With these new spaces, you can get a domain name that not only makes sense to your business, but the one that you really want, not just whatever is left over and can be registered.
May provide some Google AdWords benefits
Google AdWords is a very competitive landscape, and anything you can do to stand out from the competition is beneficial. Having a unique domain name will not only potentially help with your ad relevance and quality score, but may also help with the all important click through rate.
Obviously it is still very early days, but an interesting study on the effects of the new TLDs on Google AdWords can be found here and provides some interesting, although limited, data.
Disadvantages of a TLD
Unknown new domain name space to users
Internet users are a fickle and untrusting bunch, and for them to become comfortable and trusting of your business on a new TLD such as .brisbane or .company, is going to take some time and education.
Unknown new domain name space to Google
Just like consumers, Google can be even more fickle, and often with no good reason. With any new domain name space, Google will take a while to decide how it considers the new space, based on the types of websites that utilise the space, and how it perceived online.
The objective of these domain space is to be a local presence, but due to the lax domain name registration requirements (open and no business details required), it's much more difficult for Google to verify and trust that the business and website are genuine.
Difficulty with Link Building
Being a new space, that trust is just not there yet, there was an interesting comment a while back on the Moz blog:
"It's much harder to get an authoritative site or writer to link to a TLD that isn't a .com and frequently even when you do earn a link the person creating the link accidentally and unconsciously links to the .com version even if your site is not on the.com TLD." -Rob Wood
Problems with form validation
Something we picked up when a customer tried to contact us on our website form, is that many of the new domain name spaces will not validate on web forms and online services.
This is due to the fact that to prevent spam, forms detect whether your domain name or email adhere to various conditions to ensure its a real person submitting the form.
The reason this is relevant is it may prevent you being able to submit to directories and other link opportunities, as well as potentially being a barrier to contacting potential customers or partners.
Previous unsuccessful domain space launches
Following on from the above. we have seen so many failed domain name space launches:
The biggest problem with new domain name spaces as they get a name for themselves pretty quickly.
'.info' became synonymous with spam and phishing attacks, which has directly disadvantaged those using the space for genuine purposes. All it takes is a few bad eggs to cast a shadow over a new domain space.
Another domain name to worry about
If you have an existing site, with a decent reputation and history, it's much better to pour your resources into building up that domain, rather than create another site that may compete with your own products and services (something Google don't want to see). Just having the domain itself forwarded to your main site will not provide any SEO benefit.
No matter that the intention, these new TLDs provide us with options, and opportunity. If you consider all the variables carefully, you should be able to utilise these new spaces to really benefit your business.