Spilling The Beans On New Domains And Their Impact On Branding And SEO
Maybe you're starting a new business or planning to take an existing brand online. In either case, you need a website. The first step towards building an effective website for your business, and making it a promising brand, is to pick the perfect online moniker for it. Yes, we're talking about domain names.
Finding a relevant, memorable, and snazzy domain name is hard, given that there are what seems like a billion websites floating in cyberspace! Fortunately, there are some cool new domain name options that are sure to offer your business the edge when it comes to acing the "name game" and building the perfect online home for it.
We spoke with Suman Das, Director of Brand Operations, at Radix, one of the world's largest domain registry's that operates 10 new domain extensions, to share his thoughts on what startups and young brands must keep in mind when choosing a domain name for their business and the various ways in which one can use a new domain name to improve branding and organic search rankings. Read on!
M: Tell us about Radix. How has the journey been so far?
S: Launched in 2012, Radix operates as a subsidiary of Directi, a $1.4 bn company founded by Bhavin Turakhia and Divyank Turakhia in 1998. Finding short, relevant, and memorable domain extensions was already challenging back in 2012. When ICANN invited the initial applications for new domain extensions, we literally sat down with a dictionary to brainstorm names that we thought would make for interesting and popular domain extensions.
We picked generic words, such as "online" and "website", as well as specific words that identified with booming industries, such as "store" for eCommerce and retail and "tech" for technology, as part of our efforts to acquire new domain names. Currently, we have nine new domain extensions and one re-purposed ccTLD, .PW.
Some of the top international brands using Radix domains include Google My Business (every small business that signs up gets a businessname.business.site sub-domain for free), Emirates official merchandise store on emirates.store; Viacom's tech portal on viacom.tech; the Consumer Electronics Show on ces.tech; the world's first space nation, Asgardia, on asgardia.space; as well as Edward Snowden's Freedom of Press Association on freedom.press.
M: What should startups and young brands keep in mind when choosing a domain name for their business?
S: The world of online search is evolving, and we are moving into the era of "voice search". Startups should ensure that their domain name is one that Siri and Alexa can find instantly. You can test this out by taking a "radio test" that basically involves saying a domain name to a person (or an AI assistant). If they can type it out correctly in one go after hearing it once, it's a winning domain name. So, brilliant.tech is good, but brilliant-tech.com is not.
Additionally, startups should consider the following parameters when choosing a domain name for their business:
- Searchable: Do your keyword research and pick a domain name that clearly resonates with your industry niche and core competence.
- Brandable: Pick a name that is fresh, simple to type, easy to understand in most languages, and one that doesn't sound awkward and will stand the test of time.
- Innovative: New domains smartly denote your forte, so you can choose an innovative prefix that compliments what you do.
- Memorable: People remember a clutter free and neat name so try and pick a name that is easy to remember and one that is free of any lingual or grammatical errors.
M: What are the various ways in which one can use a new domain name?
S: New domains can be used in multiple ways. Here's how one can make use of new domain names:
- Primary Domain: Use a domain name to create an online identity for your business. For example, louder.online or stronger.tech.
- Professional E-mail ID: Use a domain name to make a strong first impression with a unique e-mail ID. For example, email@example.com.
- Branded URL Shortener: Use a domain name to enhance brand visibility and build trust with every link that you share online. For example, go.tech/mktg instead of bit.ly/2jZFNLk.
- Domain Redirect: Use a domain name to make an important inner page easily accessible by creating a deep-link. For example, kindle.store, which redirects to Amazon's Kindle store.
- Product Launches: Use a domain name to attract customers to your new product, store upgrades or seasonal promotions. For example, if you are introducing a new car and want to position it as a "fun car", you can launch it on carname.fun.
- Personal Brand: Use a domain name to build an attractive online persona for yourself. For example, willpaterson.space is the portfolio of a popular designer, author, hand letterer and vlogger, Will Paterson.
- Vanity: Use a domain name to share your social media profile. For example, andru.tech forwards to technology influencer, Andru Edwards' YouTube page.
- Blog/Press Page: Use a domain name to make your brand gain visibility online with a brandname.press. For example, cars.mclaren.press is McLaren's official media site.
M: What questions should one ask before purchasing a domain name?
S: Here are some of the preliminary questions one should ask before purchasing a domain name:
Question 1: Why do I need a domain name?
Start with understanding what is the purpose of buying a domain name. If it's for your blog or portfolio, the domain name should highlight you or what the blog is about. If it is for your business, it should be pioneering and avant-garde, and one that is memorable and relevant to swiftly garner market trust.
Question 2: Do I register on a variety of domain names?
Figure out if you need to register across multiple domain names. This is especially necessary if your business operates across various geographies as you may want to register yourself across domains such as .US or .IN to imply the region of operation. For example, if you are a software technology business that also happens to sell the supporting hardware, it would be wise to register across .TECH and .STORE domain names.
Question 3: What purpose will a domain name serve?
This is twofold. Firstly, you need to be sure if you're planning to use this domain name for years to come. And secondly, is it worth investing in a category-killer domain name? It's simple - if your website serves a temporary purpose such as a one-time project or an event page, then a simple new domain name should be enough.
On the flipside, if your website will be home to your business for generations to come, then it is advisable to invest in a high-value domain name. A premum domain name creates a stellar online presence and a solid brand.
Question 4: Will my brand grow with this domain name?
The key to answering this is for you to identify the nature of your business and then to plot a definitive path for it. This will help you select the most suitable domain name for your brand. For instance, if you invest in the domain name thedessert.store, you can sell cakes, pastries, waffles, ice-cream, and more! However, if you'd picked thepastry.store, you would be bound to sell only pastries.
M: How can startups benefit from using new domain names?
S: A domain name is crucial for a brand's online persona. Probably the biggest benefit that new domain extensions offer is the sheer availability of domain names. This means you don't have to compromise on your brand name choice just so you can acquire an exact match domain name. New domains make for intuitive and memorable online addresses that are supremely brandable.
Using a new domain name, you can let your online address do the talking instead of explaining your core competence to your prospects or partners. For instance, smartphone.tech clearly implies a brand in the business of developing tech solutions for smartphones. This makes new domains the perfect marketing tool for new businesses as they don't need to spend heavily on marketing their core competence.
M: Are new domains the next big drivers of successful online branding? What's your take on that?
S: When it comes to utility and the way they operate, new domains are very similar to .COM/.ORG. However, new domains are primarily meaningful words that offer a strong sense of context and this can do wonders for a business when it comes to branding.
Today, you have .TECH for tech products and startups, and .STORE for retail and so on. Startups are spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing a relevant domain extension which goes a long way in building, strengthening and maintaining its brand positioning.
New domains offer businesses an opportunity to choose a smart and super relevant online name that people will easily remember and relate to without much effort. So, when it comes to building a strong online brand, a new domain name definitely plays a vital role.
M: SEO is a powerful brand building strategy. What are your thoughts on new domains and their impact on organic search and SEO?
S: It's often believed that new domains affect SEO ranking on search engines. However, this is not true. New domains are as good as any other domain for search engine optimization. Google has stated that their systems treat new domain extensions just like legacy domain extensions (like .COM & .ORG). When it comes to organic search ranking of a website, that depends on a number of variables, namely content quality and the number of on-page backlinks from reputed websites.
A keyword rich domain name helps to get backlinks and can in-turn help a website rank higher. For instance, londonfood.tech can get backlinks on the anchor text "London food tech" from reputed websites. This will give search engines a positive indication about its relevance for those keywords. Therefore, keyword-rich new domains can in fact help boost a website's SEO.
So, if you're building a new business or revamping an existing brand, do consider adopting new domain names like the ones that Radix offers and give your business the winning edge.
From Marie: A special thanks to Suman Das for taking the time to sit down with us and share insights from his team and experience at Radix. We're keep to hear your thoughts on the above, so please reach out to us anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org with your domain questions, feedback, and comments.