Which domain extensions are best for a startup?

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If you’re a business-minded person, you probably already know how important your online presence is to the success of your startup. Whether you operate primarily in a brick-and-mortar store or your business is exclusively online, as of 2020 a good website will always be the backbone of your business. However, before you can build the site that takes your business to the top, you need to start by registering an ideal domain name to run your site with.

That being said, if you are still in the process of starting your business with an online presence, consider quality and reliable web hosting, you may not have unlimited funds to register a domain. On top of that, you may not have your preferred choices available to you, due to the large number of domains being registered daily. However, there is no reason to lose hope! The perfect name is out there, just waiting to be found by you. Sometimes you just need to get off the beaten track a bit.

Why not .COM?

At this point, you might be wondering why you can’t just register a domain like “yourbusiness.com” and be done with it. While .COM has certainly become the most popular domain extension, even becoming something of a shorthand for everything online, its ubiquity also poses problems for new businesses. Nearly half of all websites on the Internet today use a .COM extension. With so many names already taken, finding one that is short, catchy, easy to remember, and ALWAYS relevant to your business can be like finding a needle in a haystack. If you’ve ever struggled to find an available username for an online service, you already know how problematic it can be.

Alternative gTLDs that spice up your site

One of the easiest ways to get around the problem of not being able to find a suitable .COM domain is to take advantage of one of the many other gTLDs available. A gTLD stands for “generic top-level domain,” a category that includes .COM, but also things like .NET or .BIZ. You may already be familiar with these particular examples, but did you know that you can also save .FITNESS, .PLAY, .PHOTO and literally hundreds more? These specialized gTLDs are part of a program undertaken by Internet domain authorities called the New gTLD Program. In fact, their goal is to give new domainers like you more options.

The best gTLD for your business depends entirely on your business situation. There is no “good” or “bad” choice, only better or worse. Since no one can make the final decision except you, here is a list of some new gTLDs that could possibly serve a variety of businesses, along with a description of why you might want to consider them.

  • .ART — A great choice for anyone involved in art, graphic design, photography, or even writing. Does your business focus on creating concept art, logos, or anything else artistic to order? If so, a .ART gTLD may be right for you. You can also check out .DESIGN or .PHOTO.
  • .GURU — Do you consider yourself an expert in your field? If so, a .GURU domain could be a way to highlight that. Being a “guru” can cover a lot while clarifying the type of expertise you bring to your clients’ table. If .GURU is still too general, you can also consider other options; For example, a social media expert might use .SOCIAL.
  • .GAME or .GAMES — Many game studios, even relatively large ones, started out as startups. If you count yourself among them, then a .GAME or .GAMES TLD can be the holy grail of your domain name. Both variants are available equally, but .GAMES sells for significantly less than .GAME.
  • .SPORTS — If your startup is all about games, but not video games, then a .SPORTS TLD may be more your style.
  • .TOP or .PRO — There are also a number of new gTLDs available that can spice up your domain while still being fairly general. Are you a pro? Try .PRO. Is your business on top? Try .TOP. These are by no means the only two gTLDs like this available, so feel free to explore if this sounds like the right path for you.
  • ccTLD — Last but not least, if you’re feeling particularly smart, you might want to see if you can find creative ways to use a ccTLD. ccTLDs, or country code top-level domains, are TLDs that represent a certain country. Some of them have restricted use or are only available to the government or governing bodies of the country in question, but not all of them. There are also many precedents for companies using the ccTLD for a country they are not affiliated with to enhance their domain, such as musical.ly (.LY being the ccTLD for Libya). If this sounds like something you want to do, be sure to do your research first. If not, you could have great success going this route. You can find a complete list of all available ccTLDs here
    on the 101domain website.

Again, there is no “best” domain extension for a startup. The funds you have, the time frame in which you need your site to be active, and what your startup is specifically focused on affect all gTLDs you consider. After all, the most successful domain name, whether for a startup or a global enterprise, is one that reflects the business, embodies the corporate culture, and is easy for customers to remember. Last but not least, your domain should be something you are proud to own. Starting a business is no easy feat, and neither is creating your first website. It could be a veritable world of dog-eating dogs, so why not make your estate something that puts a smile on your face?

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