If you’re just starting to build an online presence for a new business or project, 2015 holds a great opportunity for small businesses like yours to rub virtual shoulders with the big guys -- and grab a slice of the new internet real estate currently being carved out. Welcome to the new domain suffixes known as gTLDs, short for "generic top-level domain."
A whole host of gTLDs are already out there, or being released on a weekly basis. Recently available suffixes have ranged from generic words like .bike and .plumbing to geographic names like .nyc and .london.
You may be asking, Is this really an opportunity? I thought that no domain suffix really mattered except .com, and sometimes .org. But while that was definitely the case a decade or so ago, big changes in the domain name industry have been happening in the last year or so.
Think of it as the evolution or even the second dawn of the internet: We’ve gone from having 100 to 150 different domain suffixes, including those we all know so well -- .net, .edu, .it, .uk, etc. -- to having many times that number: as many as 1,500 gTLDs.
More importantly, though we don't know what the real secret sauce is at Google, we do know that the search engine is now paying more attention to searches that include key words. So, if there’s a key word as part of your new domain name, Google is treating that as part of the search.
Let’s take the example of Barack Obama’s favorite plumber, Joe. Not long ago, the best Joe’s Plumbing could hope for would have been joesplumbing.com. Now, Joe can buy joes.plumbing. Moreover, Google will treat the whole term as the search term, potentially giving the searcher better results.
Got some creative wheels spinning? This is a significant change -- a chance for small businesses to tie up the key words associated with certain domain names. The other good news is that you’re talking about a very small investment. You can purchase many of these domain names for $29 to $39 or so apiece -- and you’ll be amazed at what’s still available.
We’ve worked with some businesses that have looked up very generic terms, like office.lighting and street.lighting. Those domain names were (and perhaps still are) available, and more are being bought up every day. Additionally, every single week brings a new release of more of these new suffixes.
For example, .app is due out in the next couple of months; so is .site. Do you sell team t-shirts, or is your company otherwise involved in sports? You might be interested in other incipient newcomers such as .football and .tennis, both due out in the first half of 2015.
The message here: If you missed out on securing your business or project name back in the .com days, here is a new, real-time 2015 opportunity for small businesses to shore up or launch their online presence. Hundreds of new domain names are out there now, and they’re available on a first-come, first-served basis.
You can register names at domain name registrars such as GoDaddy.com, Easily.com, Speednames.com and NetworkSolutions.com. So, grab yours before they’re all picked over -- while you can still get exactly the name(s) you want.