If you’ve tried to register a domain name for a business or product recently, you know how competitive it can be. There’s nothing more frustrating than coming up with the perfect name for your new business, only to find that the business name isn’t available as a domain because somebody else got there first. Trying a variation on your name can work, but sometimes even the variations you want aren’t available. What can you do?
Try using an alternative domain extension. (Domain extensions are also known as top-level domains, or TLDs for short). The .com TLD, while by far the most popular for businesses, isn’t the only option out there. Currently, some of the most popular domain extensions that can work for a for-profit business include .net, .expert, .company and .guru. Does your company do business worldwide (for example, an e-commerce website that sells products globally)? Then try the .global extension.
In addition to these alternative domain extensions, new ones are being added all the time. For example, .club and .solutions are two recent additions, while upcoming extensions that will be released soon include .shop, .shopping, .doctor and .games.
In addition to these more general domain extensions, you can also drill down into industry-specific domain extensions. For instance, if you sell auto parts and accessories or own an automotive repair shop, consider .auto or .car. Do you provide tutoring services to students? Then the .academy extension might work for your business. A CPA could use .accountant or .accountants, and a consultant could use .consulting. This type of domain extension also helps prospective customers quickly identify what your business does, which is especially helpful if your business name doesn’t spell that out. For instance, JRT.consulting is immediately clear, as compared to JRT.com.
There are also country-specific domain extensions you can use, such as .us.com. This is useful if you sell products globally, but want people to know you’re based in the U.S. American-made products have a lot of cachet overseas, so the country-specific domain extension can be a real selling point for website visitors. You can also register a country-specific domain name for the countries you primarily sell to. For example, if most of your ecommerce business customers are in Canada, registering a .ca domain extension will help you develop a website with a Canadian flavor tailored to those customers. Country-specific domain names help to protect your brand overseas, too.
Getting even more specific, you can also purchase city-based domain extensions, such as .nyc (one of the most popular domain extensions, by the way). If your business relies on a local customer base, using this type of extension can actually give you a boost in search results if people in that city are searching for your type of business.
Even if you’ve been in business for a while and already have a .com domain, it’s a good idea to purchase alternative domain extensions for your business name. This can prevent confusion in the future of business with a similar name launches. Find out more about available domain extensions.
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Maria Valdez Haubrich
Maria Valdez Haubrich is Chief Liaison Officer of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Visit her company’s blog at SmallBizDaily.com.