New top-level domains – are there any advantages?

If you’re the person involved in registering your website’s domain name, you’ll have been inundated with offers from the domain name registrar in the last year or so for the many new top-level domains, or ‘TLDs’ now available. Remember the old days when you had a choice of .com, .co.uk, and maybe .net or .org? Well, now there are over 1,200 of the things, including the truly bizarre.

How about .fail or .sucks anyone? I thought not. But there must be a market for them.

Many are targeted at specific sectors, and these will probably be quite attractive there. Examples include .legal, .vet and .plumbing. But it’s worth remembering not to register these because you think they might give you some sort of SEO boost. Google has said that it completely ignores the word in the TLD. However, many may be useful for one-off campaigns where you want to send people to a specific page from a mention in print. There’s a chance that people might type blue-widget.shop into their browser (to be seamlessly taken to some much longer URL on the company’s .com website), whereas there’s no chance nowadays of anyone copying out a long URL.

Finally, do remember that if you own a .co.uk domain, you have the right to buy the .uk version for the next three years. After that, anyone can have it. For the sake of twenty quid, it might be worth registering it now. More here.

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