A few years ago, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) decided that there was a real need to increase the number of top-level domains (TLDs) available for public use.
So, for a few months during 2012, anyone was able to apply to register a custom or niche top-level domain. This means that if you want to run an e-Commerce website, you could register a TLD with the name .shop or a TLD that names your industry, services, or profession.
But, what exactly is a niche top-level domain?
What are its benefits?
How do you find a (dot) Niche TLD?
Discover the answers to these questions. Read on!
What is a Niche Top-Level Domain? Understanding the New TLDs
In the past, there wasn’t much variety when it came to what top-level domains were available. However, this all changed when ICANN launched its New Generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) program.
This program aimed to increase the number of top-level domain options, and asked internet users to submit applications for new additions. Ultimately, ICANN received 1,930 suggestions before the deadline. The process began around 2005, yet ICANN didn’t begin launching the new TLDs until 2013. Over a thousand TLDs were approved, including .academy, .accountant, .archi, .apartments, and .actor – just to name a few. <link to http://newgtlds.icann.org/en/announcements-and-media/announcement-13jun12-en>
Finding a (dot) Niche TLD
With a niche top-level domain, you can unite your unique community (your ‘niche’) around a top-level domain. For instance, the environmental community gathered together to register the .eco domain – they won the rights to this top-level domain on April 2017.
In 2012, ICANN allowed unique communities and niches to apply for a (dot) Niche top-level domain (TLD). A TLD is the suffix that comes after the domain name in a web address, as in the .com in google.com or .org in icann.org. With a (dot) Niche TLD, can unite their unique community around a top-level domain – for instance, caterers can use .catering, accountants can use .athlete, and so on.
However, a (dot) Niche TLD is not limited to communities. Brands can consider applying for niche TLDs that pertain to their brand (i.e. Nike could consider .shoes; Coca-Cola could consider .soda, etc.). There are endless possibilities for (dot) Niche TLDs – it is as infinite as languages are. For instance, Nike could also consider .schuh (this means shoe in German).
So, if you represent a niche or a unique community, you have come to the best place to learn about (dot) Niche TLDs. With our expertise, we can help you make the best decision for your niche. We can help you apply for, launch, and operate your new (dot) Niche TLD.
Learn more about (dot) Niche TLDs. Get in touch with us for a more detailed discussion. <link to contact us page>
Benefits of Niche TLD
The number of suggestions that ICANN received for new (niche) TLDs is a testament to how many people are interested in new, creative domain extension options. However, there has been a lot of discussion about whether or not it’s a good idea to use these new niche TLDs.
For example, most people worry that using uncommon TLDs can have a negative impact on a website’s SEO. Fortunately, Google has reassured users that a website’s TLD has no impact on search rankings. <link to https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2015/07/googles-handling-of-new-top-level.html>
On the other hand, the benefits of owning and operating a niche TLD are many. Some of its key benefits include:
- Marketing and Branding Tools
Today, choosing the right top-level domain has become just as important as choosing the right domain name. With this, many individuals and businesses are leveraging these niche new top-level domains in order to connect with their target audiences.
The wealth of new top-level domains mean that companies can find a domain name that more closely resembles their brand, industry, product, and service. Though some companies remain skeptical about the effect of TLDs on search engine optimization (SEO), they are becoming more and more essential to brands.
For consumers, these niche and new TLDs provide the benefits of greater availability for their preferred brands. It also provides relevance and memorability as they search for service solutions and new products.
In this way, niche TLDs have become important marketing and branding tools that companies are using to generate leads, build awareness, enhance brand image, and different themselves from their competition.
- Clarifying Domains
Today, many businesses are diverging from the traditional .com domains and are looking for more niche TLDs that enable them to specify their business and clarify the services and products they provide, thus enabling a more customized traffic type through their websites.
From a marketing perspective, this could be seen as a savvy business opportunity, as using a more specific domain name has the potential to help you build a deeper customer relationship and strengthen your online presence.
For instance, unlike its more generic predecessors, .biz and .info, the niche and newer TLDs provide the idea that each domain represents a specific community (a niche) that consumers can instantly identify with depending on their interests, wants, and needs.
Other benefits owning a niche TLD include:
- Niche TLDs are generally cheaper compared than traditional options
- Using a TLD that is relevant to your website’s niche and/or audience can help strengthen your branding
- Having a unique TLD may help your website standout in the crowded online marketplace
However, niche top-level domains are not without their potential disadvantages. Perhaps one of the biggest concerns about niche TLDs is credibility. For instance, one survey found that users largely trusted .com websites more than niche and new TLD options. <link to https://varn.co.uk/10/27/70-of-people-dont-trust-newer-website-domains/>
Most people are used to seeing .com domains and often expect established businesses to have these kinds of domain extensions. While this doesn’t mean that you should restrict yourself to the common TLDs (i.e. .com, .net, .org, ec.) it does mean that you need to think carefully about your choice.
The Bottom Line
Choosing your website’s domain name – as well as the right TLD – is very important. The right name can influence your brand’s credibility and image online, so it is not something to be taken lightly.
Niche TLDs have their pros and cons, but are well worth considering for many businesses.
Those in more traditional and formal businesses may benefit more from using classic TLDs such as .com.
However, if you wish to further establish your brand and stand out from the crowd, using a creative niche TLD may be beneficial for you. Niche TLDs are interesting and attention-grabbing and they are great for businesses that use an informal, friendly approach to communicating with their audiences.