Picking the Best TLD: Domain Extension Options and What They Mean

Do you know how to pick the best TLD for your domain? OK, let’s back up. Do you know what a TLD is?

TLD is called top-level domain. It’s the last part of a domain name. You’ve seen them before as .com, .org, .net, .edu.

There are hundreds of domain names available. Believe it or not, the domain extension you choose has a big impact on your business. It’s a part of your brand, and it needs to be memorable and trusted.

There’s a big difference in TLDs in the minds of consumers. Some are more trusted than others. Other TLDs are known for having malicious code on their sites. 

Before you purchase your domain name, read on to find out if you’re choosing the right TLD before it’s too late.

Types of TLDs

Before we get into which TLD you should choose for your business, you should know the different types of top-level domains that exist.

Generic TLD

A generic TLD, or gTLD, is used to identify the type of organization. Commercial organizations typically use .com, the military would use .mil, government organizations use .gov. Educational institutions use .edu.

Also among gTLDs are some of the newer domain extensions such as .guru and .fit  

Within the world of gTLDs are more subcategories. For example, Sponsored TLDs are sponsored by a private organization. The organization International Society of Telecommunications Aeronautics sponsors the .aero TLD. Because the sponsor the TLD, they get to set rules and restrictions around who gets to use it.

There are also geoTLDs, which are also called geographic TLDs. These are used to showcase a specific region or city. The domain extension .gal is for the Galician region of Spain. There are city extensions such as .london that you can use, too.

Interestingly enough these are considered to be generic TLDs as opposed to a subset of country code domains.

Country Code TLD

This one is pretty self-explanatory. The ccTLD identifies the country a domain is in. You may already be familiar with .co.uk for the United Kingdom or .es for Spain.

Did you know that Antarctica has its own ccTLD? That would be .aq.

How to Choose the Right Domain Extension

Much like choosing a domain name, there are mistakes you want to avoid when choosing a domain extension.

You need to ask yourself a couple of questions, first. What type of business do you have? A real estate company might want to explore the .realtor TLD.

Where do you do business? If your business specializes in a city or country, you could get that domain extension.  

You can get as creative as it relates to your business. For example, a speaker or consultant can showcase their expertise with a .guru TLD.

Does a TLD Impact SEO?

It used to be that if your main keyword is in your domain name, you’d have a better chance at ranking for that keyword.

You might be wondering if having an extension like .fit would help a fitness business? Google answered that question in 2015. Having a TLD related to a keyword will not help your SEO. 

Will People Still Visit Your Website?

Studies have shown that new domain extensions still have a bit of a way to go to gain public trust. For the most part, people have a very high level of trust for the original domain names – .com, .net, .mil are a few examples. 

With newer domain names, there seems to be a generation gap as far as trust goes. Younger people are more likely to trust newer domain extensions than older people.

What does that mean for you? If your business targets older people, then you’re better off sticking with more familiar .com or .net extensions. If you target younger people, then you’ll be safe experimenting with a new domain name extension.

When you decide on your TLD, you need to make sure that it is an unrestricted TLD. Remember that many of the newer TLDs are sponsored TLDs and have restrictions.

Make Sure Your TLD Doesn’t Have a Bad Reputation

There are about 20 or so TLDs that are known for spam and other bad online activities. It won’t be obvious since there’s not a .spam TLD.

Symantec published this list of TLDs you should avoid. You should do your research to make sure that the TLD you choose isn’t on this list. 

Protect Your Brand with Your TLD

Do you see your business becoming a major conglomerate? If so, then you want to be sure that someone can’t co-opt traffic from ‘youramazingbusiness.com.’

The best way to do that is by purchasing several TLDs.

Try typing in Google.org or Google.net. Where do those sites take you? Right to Google. Google bought those domain names to protect and expand the Google brand. Imagine if you could type in Google.net and it took you to some nefarious website. How damaging could that be to the company?

Whether you have a massive business or not, it’s still a great idea to protect our business by purchasing several TLDs for your business. You can leave them parked or can you redirect them to your main site.

In Google’s case with the .org TLD, it goes to Google’s philanthropic page, which spotlights the community work that Google is involved in. This is an extension of the Google brand that shows that Google is a good corporate citizen and seeks to do good in the world. 

Get the Right TLD for Your Business

Getting the right domain extension for your business can have a major long-term impact. You want something that people can trust and remember.

You can choose a TLD that expresses your unique business proposition and sets you apart from the competition.

Want to know more about the world of domain names? Check out our blog today.