What Extension To Choose?
With so many extensions being available to choose from, what one should you pick? Well, that may also be open for debate.
As we covered earlier, the .COM extension is the first pick to look at, but that doesn't mean you should only settle for a .COM name. The biggest problem using .COM names come from many registrants choosing them for just that — meaning the majority of favoured, easy-to-remember addresses are unavailable.
Realistically, one could consider cycling through the other four noted extensions in the last section, but the suggestion would be to make sure the brand you want to portray is available.
Alternatively, the next best option would be to research enough to know the owner of the .COM won't be a problem before committing to a secondary-choice extension like a .NET or .CO. For example, how long has the .com been registered? If the name is more than a few years old and parked, it is likely for sale. Having the name you want available opens up a couple of doors which we'll follow up with later on, but then opens another question right now. Is this the right brand for you?
Having a unique brand name increases the likeliness that no one may have used it before, but it also makes it a bit trickier to market since you need to target that niche wording for visitors to find you. On the plus side to this may, there will also be less competition with that brand or term.
The up and downs side to domain names is it's a large domain market online, including expanding brands and aftermarket sales. Even if a registrant isn't using the domain name for their business, they may be parking the name to sell it. But wait, that's a good thing, yes? Well, not necessarily, especially if that person is a cybersquatter. The market, as we noted, is growing, but this also means there is a need for choice. What this means to the average consumer is you need careful thinking about what your brand is. More specific to the topic, what is written in front of the domain extension before you buy and then keep it registered.
Keeping a name registered should be easy, right? Well, every case is different, but there are several factors to consider, like the following:
- How long did you register the domain? You can register most gTLDs up to 10 years, but some extensions like a .CO can limit you to 5 years. Where will you be at that time?
- If you registered on a credit card, who handles the card within your company? When does your credit card expire? More importantly, does your card expire before the domain name renews?
- Did you turn on auto-renew or safe renew? It is a backup plan, but it only helps if the credit card is still valid.
- Does your registrar of choice offer protection services, like DEP – domain expiration protection in case your credit card does expire?
- If safe renew is off, are you getting email reminders of expiry dates? Is someone within your organization paying attention to those emails and checking the spam and junk folders?
- Did you set a calendar reminder in advance of renewal?
- Who registered the domain name, and do you have access to the registrar account yourself? Companies often tend to share ownership and duties of domain names, but consider this when registering a domain name with an employee or tech person as the registrant for when they are no longer under your employ.
Despite what some may think, it is not the registrar's responsibility to ensure you renew your domain name. The registrar is required to email reminder notices and may, on occasion, call you, but that's it. Taking action to renew the domain is like any other subscription service. You have a renewal date, and paying it on time is the account holders' responsibility, else the domain name may expire or enter redemption before returning to the market. You don't want this.
Another thing to consider is if you register a domain, how long can you do it? Are you confident that you will stick with the address that you chose to invest hundreds of dollars in to secure the name properly without risk? Are you aware of the consequences of failed renewals, such as expiration charges or redemption? Some registrars can charge 2-3 times the registration cost of a domain for a redemption cost to redeem the name back from the registry. In perspective, this can start at 60-200 US dollars or more!
The last item we'll review on the topic of domains is Premium Domains. What is a premium domain? These select names are typically short, memorable domain names, which already have associated traffic going to them. Numerous providers sell aftermarket names at premium prices, such as HugeDomains or BuyDomains, but are they worth it? Well, if you're in the market for a solid primary domain at a higher price tag, it could be. As we covered, finding a name that is memorable and rolls of the tongue could be worth it if the price is right.
However, some premium domain names can be a bit overkill. Some memorable domain names that fetched a high price in the last 15 years include Voice.com for $30 million, 360.com for $17 million, and Fund.com for 12 million dollars! Now, this is a skewed result as these are very high-end domains. The average premium domain to most consumers can range in cost between $100 to $2000, but this depends on the terms used and the industry market.
If you are in the market for a new domain, or your first domain, Do Your Research! Check your brand, learn about branding and trademarks, check social media, and ensure there are no infringing trademarks or copyrights you would disturb by registering your domain. Next, see if the names you would consider are available. Now think about backup options or secondary extensions, consider these, and take a moment to write them out somewhere on paper. Review your possible names and find out if they're available and if there is a .COM among them, and if so, does it have an established website? If the name is available to register, is it at a premium cost?
Next, map out your purchasing options. Which registrar will you choose? Try starting your venture by reading our blog about how to Choose a Registrar <link again>. Once you know what type of provider you'll register with, you can review other factors, such as your budgeting strategy. When it's time to review your planning, are you still confident in your brand? Are you self-assured enough to secure the domain for multiple years without concern for infringing on someone else, or enough that when you register, you'll keep it active and maintain the name?
Determining a new brand or changing your brand, researching your trademark rights, and finding your providers can be a lot to take in at once. Like all business ventures, there are many perspectives to think of but don't fret. Let Alley Kat Web Consulting make it easier for you to make that new step. Equipped with years of market knowledge and experience, our professionals harness many strategies to help transition new and old businesses where they need to go. Including branding and rebranding solutions <link>, Alley Kat Web Consulting will discuss your requirements and compare your existing or intended brand within the industry. Don't let yourself fall short on your new website launch, and be prepared. Contact Alley Kat Web Consulting today for a consultation, and let us help you become the next big thing.