Gone are the days when newspapers, or even digital news sites, control the messages that flow past the eyes of the world’s population. Everyone who has ever posted a single word or image online is a publisher. Now anyone with an internet-connected device can publish information that can be instantly accessed by billions of people. The trick, however, is that those billions of people need to be able to find it.
One way to try and guide people to engaging with your stories and photographs is through media platforms that have built-in audiences. These platforms include social giants such as Facebook, but also niche networks such as Medium and YouTube. The problem with all of these channels is that, while accessible, other people hold the keys to your content.
Per the terms and conditions of these platforms, they have specific rights over every piece of material published. YouTube may not technically own the rights to the indie film you and your friends labored over for months, but they do reserve the right to earn money from ads served alongside your movie and remove it from their website if they choose. Facebook Pages are excellent for sharing posts from your blog to a group of followers, but you are restricted regarding text formatting, image proportions, and an algorithm weighted toward paid promotions from publishers.
The only digital channel that gives you full control over your content is a website.
Many social media experts and online marketing experts have predicted the pending demise of websites over the last few years, every one of those forecasts was incorrect.
According to Internet Live Stats, more sites are launched each day than ever before, and the number of ways people are finding them is likewise increasing. For a long time, websites relied on Google almost exclusively for traffic. Today, people find new blogs and websites through search engines, review sites, message boards, and a thriving universe of instant messaging apps.
A website of your own offers a centralized destination for all these potential readers spread across so many places. How do customers get to your site? Through your domain name, either by search, messaging, social media, or even manually typing the URL after hearing it in a conversation or seeing it on your business card.
Domain names are just as valuable as ever in guiding people to your blog. When someone sees a referral link, bookmark, social post, online ad, or search engine result, it almost always includes a citation of the domain name that appears on the other side. Therefore, when you are planning to launch a blog or website, few upfront considerations deserve as much attention as the domain name itself. With billions of sites now available through our smartphones, tablets and laptops, some naysayers have proclaimed that all of the greatest domain names are taken. Again, this prognosis is incorrect, because the use of top-level domains as a marketing tool is just now finding its stride.
What is a Top Level Domain?
The letters that appear at the end of a full domain name indicate the top level domain chosen during registration. The old standbys for many years were “.com” and “.net.” It is true that a lot of popular words and phrases under these TLDs are already in use, but many others crack the door of possibilities wide open. Sometimes referred to as domain extensions or gTLDs, which stands for “generic top-level domains,” these fantastic little strings of text can help bloggers reinforce their niche in a way that is much more efficient than the genuinely generic .com. After all, they were invented to give internet users an immediate clue as to the subject matter of a page.
A Revolution of New TLDs
Over time, the elusive folks that run the internet realized that restricting everyone to just a few TLDs would limit creative expression and business opportunities online. While country code extensions were available at a relatively early stage, many of these TLDs were restricted to citizens or businesses within the country’s borders.
Luckily for everyone, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) added the licensing protocol for the creation of an unlimited number of new TLDs. While people clung to the familiar .com for a while, a significant breakthrough occurred when Google showed how valuable and memorable a TLD could be.
After announcing a restructure that created a parent company for Google and its many other ventures, the internet giant revealed that the domain name for the new Alphabet would be abc.xyz. The adoption of new top-level domains began to soar after one of the fifty largest companies on the planet signed off on the concept.
Using Top Level Domains For Your Brand
The biggest benefit gained through many of the new top-level domains is that they are interest or industry specific. Rather than an one-size-fits-all .com or .net, we now have options such as .tips, .technology, and .careers. These allow the blog publishers to make a clearer statement about the topics explored on the site, without dedicating valuable character space to random letters. When leveraged properly, top-level domains can help keep your URLs shorter and easier to remember.
It’s to this end that many companies are using unique gTLDs to help tell their brand story.
Modern Place, a lighting company in Pensacola, Florida chose the sleek, streamlined modern.place as their domain name. While not everyone operates a business with a name that ends in the word “place,” this is the perfect example of how the right top-level domain reinforces your brand, focusing on essential words and phrases, in this case, just the store name.
Buna’s Kitchen in Toronto, Ontario had similar success with their domain name, bunas.kitchen. This web address is the perfect way to represent this restaurant’s brand and gives any user a clear impression that good food can be found by visiting this URL.
Finding New Blog Readers
The blogging community can undeniably take advantage of a well-suited top level domain, as well. Healthy Body Support, a blog dedicated to sharing research information and scientific reports from the medical field, made a perfect choice with the domain name healthybody.support. Not only does it serve as an exact match to the name of the blog for anyone searching for the site by name, but there is also a visual emphasis on the word “support.” Anyone who comes across a link to one of the many posts published on this site can see right away that the content provides support for readers interested in health and well-being.
A music-centric blog called PwrMoves used the TLD .hiphop to give more insight into the topics covered. While the name PwrMoves is an excellent choice for a website focused on underground and upcoming rap artists, the passive user could mistake the name as referring to stock tips or exercise videos. However, with a domain name like pwrmoves.hiphop, you get an immediate idea of the type of content you will find.
Blogging is an essential part of the publishing world today because independent writers share insights on nice themes and topics that would not get attention otherwise. This publishing powerhouse is the ideal sector for leveraging top-level domains as a marketing tool because the top-level domain list includes hundreds of choices.
Food writers and chefs can mark their gastro-territory with a TLD like .recipes. A blogger named Robbie who writes reviews about the best bicycles on the market could choose between robbiesreviews.bike or robbiesbike.reviews, both of which provide a fun, less cumbersome alternative to robbiesbikereviews.info.
How to Choose the Right TLD for Your Blog
There are certain crucial points to consider before you register the domain name for your blog. First and foremost is the length. A reader may stumble across your blog through iMessage or Reddit, but you want them to be able to remember how to get back to your site the next time.
Long, drawn-out URLs are impossible to remember, so lean on the side of brevity. Remember, though: odd abbreviations are equally confusing for a casual visitor to remember. Acronyms sit in a tricky middle ground when it comes to domain names. They can help you create shorter URLs, but can also cause you to lose search engine power by omitting highly searched words and phrases.
The visual look of your domain name should be pleasing as well. joestrojanviruswormreviews.website is a weird choice for a blog about the best security plugins. You must remember that unless you are Amazon.com or WordPress.org, most people will never hear your domain name out loud. It is all about the visual appeal when someone reads it in on a message board or underneath a search ad.
In this case, a domain such as keepingasecure.website makes for a more pleasing choice because it evokes a feeling of safety and authority. As you explore your options, paste the potential domain name into your browser navigation or a digital ad mock-up tool.
Try to view it with an objective eye, and have friends give you feedback. Since your domain name is quite literally your address on the world wide web, it is best to pick one that will serve you long term.
To find the most number of new readers using an advantageous top level domain, you must think of every single letter as valuable. You only have a handful of characters to tell people that your blog is helpful, informative, and enjoyable to read. If you write about craft brewing in your city, explore options such as brooklynheights.beer or brooklynbeer.nyc.
Both domain names speak to the primary focus of your blog, without extra words or characters getting in the way. A blogger who focuses on how to videos about growing vegetables will find success with isobels.garden, while content dedicated to beautiful flower photography might do better with isobels.flowers.
The more articulate you can be by joining together a distinctive name with an informative top level domain, the more work this marketing tool can do for you.