How new domain extensions help with marketing and branding

Written by Lee Colbran - 11 Aug 2020

Back in the nascent days of the Internet, when a business wanted to build a website, they had the luxury to register a domain name with just their brand name and not require further branding to it. For example, HP got www.hp.com, Intel got www.intel.com, and so on. Those were simpler days, but now times have changed.

Technology and branding have evolved significantly in the past few years. Today, even the smallest aspect of your business such as your domain name is a branding opportunity. What was once considered just another IT expense is now a full-fledged branding opportunity.

However, many start-ups still see domain names as just another task and fail to understand the strategic importance that their company’s web address holds.

What is the strategic importance of a good domain name?

One of the ways to attract good-quality incremental traffic is to build a stellar website. If you fail to do that, no amount of advertising or promotion will give you the success that you desire. One of the most important aspects of a website to get right is the domain name. That’s its identity. The colours, images, navigation, and content all comes second to choosing the perfect identity.

Three key strategic aspects a great domain name offer include:

1. Good brand positioning

A good domain name adds a ton of value to your branding efforts. It does the job of establishing what you do and what you have to offer. For example, www.homeoffice.store. The use of the descriptive domain extension (.store) demonstrates to users what the offering provides. The domain clearly applies context to users. You can see how this particular domain example would stand out against generalist competitors in Google:

Home office seach results

2. Appropriate marketing touchpoints

Descriptive domain names can significantly amplify marketing efforts. They act as touchpoints that attract and engage your target audience. Consider www.learnhealth.online. The name gives the audience greater context a clear indication of what the website has to offer.

3. Right first impression

You introduce your business with its name. It is your first impression, and it should stick. Consider www.flutelessons.site and you’ll know you’ll be learning how to play the flute on this website. It helps with user expectation.

.online, .store, .website, .site, .space

Headshot of Fresh Egg's Co-founder, Lee Colbran

The breadth of domain names now available to organisations creates an excellent opportunity to move away from traditional .com and .co.uk variants, where it is increasingly difficult to find the domain name of choice. We worked with get.online when choosing the domain name for laurenjones.online, and we were delighted to secure such a great name that was not available in traditional domain formats.  

Lee Colbran, Fresh Egg co-founder

What makes for a good domain name?

There are so many domain names out there.

Every online business has one. So, what makes one domain name better than the other? The right domain name will:

  • Add to the credibility of a business. On the contrary, dubious domain names (such as kewlbluejeanz.com or rental-homez-123.com) can be seen as spammy and suspicious.
  • Makes it easy for people to find you and will potentially act as a boost for business.
  • Is short, simple, and creative, which makes it more memorable and less prone to being misspelt.
  • Resonates with your brand and your audience, helping organisations create a great first impression and build a lasting relationship.

One of the best ways to ensure that a domain name-checks all the qualities listed above is to register it on a more brandable and contextual domain extension.

In the past few years, hundreds of new domain extensions such as .TECH, .STORE, .ONLINE, etc. have been introduced that are keyword-rich, relevant, memorable, and most importantly, brandable.

Traditional domain extensions such as .COM and .NET have been around for a long time, and often the domain name that you want is either not available on them or come at a premium cost.

So, a lot of organisations look for a compromise and end up adding a hyphen, or a number, or they change the spelling of a word to get their domain name which is not optimal.

The relative newness of these new domain extensions makes it easier for businesses to find their first-choice domain name on them without making any compromise. Moreover, you can get a lot more meaningful online presence.

For example, eCommerce businesses using a .STORE domain extension will immediately establish with the audience what it does. A tech startup using a .TECH domain will help the audience identify the offering.

Lauren’s story of becoming a professional wheelchair tennis player is truly an inspirational one and we wanted to be a part of her journey to become the top Paralympian. We were absolutely thrilled to offer her a .online domain name and give her a platform to build her identity on the Internet and motivate thousands of people who want to achieve great things in their lives. We support Lauren’s indomitable spirit and hope that she thrives on the court and online.

Priyanka Panchmatia, Senior Brand Manager, .ONLINE Domains

What are the benefits of using new domain extensions

Listed below are five ways new domain extensions can benefit your business.

1. Establish your niche

New domain extensions are indicative and often industry-specific. By using one that best fits your business, you can acquire a domain name that communicates your area of interest and expertise. For instance, if you are in the field of technology, the .TECH extension is perfect for your domain name, whether you’re a tech company (such as www.aurora.tech) or a tech blog (for instance, www.allabout.tech). Similarly, .STORE is explicitly meant for eCommerce and retail businesses while .SPACE can be used by anyone from someone in the creative industry to extraterrestrial life to a real estate company.

2. Position your brand

Your domain name is more than just your web address. When picked wisely, it can help you build and position your brand the way you want it to be perceived. New domain extensions not only provide companies with this opportunity, but they also make domain names quickly understood and more meaningful. For instance, the domain name www.codingclasses.online clearly indicates that this website teaches coding online.

Another excellent example of intelligent use of new domain extensions is the website www.breakinto.tech. It offers courses and content that helps people who are not from a coding background to get tech jobs. It is creative enough to intrigue you to visit the website and also communicates quite literally that it helps you break into tech.

3. Boost marketing efforts

New domain extensions can help you create meaningful branded links that you can use in your online and offline marketing efforts. Often, when you are publishing something on social media, and you wish to add links to specific pages on your website, the link looks long and cryptic with several numbers and special characters (e.g. bit.ly/ggT5rF).

These links communicate nothing about your company or what you are trying to promote. However, with new domain extensions, you can create brandable links that can help you emphasize your brand and your content. Many digital marketing and personal branding experts are making the most of it as you can with the following two examples.

Example #1 - Ryan Foland, a speaker, author, and artist uses ryan.online

Ryan Foland - ryan.online

Example #2 - Jeff Bullas, digital marketing expert uses jeff.online

Jeff Bullas -jeff.online

Apart from social media, such domains are more powerful in offline marketing materials such as print ads, flyers, radio spots, billboards, banners at events and TV ads.

4. Improves word-of-mouth marketing

Since domain names created on new extensions are usually relevant, descriptive, meaningful, and straightforward, they are easier to remember and type. They are also easier to communicate and understand as they are short and roll off the tongue easily.

A shorter domain means there is a lesser chance of your domain name being misunderstood, misheard, or just not remembered, which in turn improves your prospects of word-of-mouth marketing.

For instance, if you are a doctor who wants to start an online consultation clinic, you could use a domain name such as healthcheck.site. When you call or email your existing customers about your new service, rest assured that most people will have no trouble finding you.

5. Exact match opportunity

As the number of websites increases every day, finding an exact match domain name for your organisation may seem like a distant dream. However, new domain extensions make it a possibility, simply because they are fresh and relatively easier to obtain.

For instance, let’s say that you run a studio space for multimedia artists called The Collective Arts Space. An exact-match domain name such as www.thecollectivearts.space would be a perfect domain. It is not only relevant but also profoundly meaningful and inspiring. A similar, real example is www.disabilityarts.online, an art and culture platform that is run by the disabled to showcase and share disability arts and culture with the world.

Another example could be www.ecohome.store for an online store selling eco-friendly home decor products. The new breed of domain names does mean there are more choices available than ever to businesses.

Final thinking

New domain extensions provide an alternative from paying a high price for obtaining a traditional .co.uk or .com domain name of your choice or getting embroiled in lengthy battles over trademark issues.

But more importantly, they help you create domain names that serve as sturdy platforms on which you build your online identity. They also infuse your brand and your digital marketing initiatives with creativity, relevance, and meaning. So, if you’ve been struggling with finding the right domain name for your business, it’s time to give new domain extensions a chance.

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