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Domain name strategies to spruce up your SME

Are you planning on rebranding your SME this year? Or maybe you’re just looking to give your website a a facelift. Either way, the ever-changing landscape of domain names is rich with opportunities to boost business. Are you keeping up with the latest trends? If not, here are three you should know about.

1. New gTLDs

ICANN (that’s the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) is the organisation responsible for keeping the Internet from turning into the Wild West in terms of domain name registrations and extensions.

ICANN is the governing body that allows new generic top level domains (gTLDs) from being registered, and recently there has been a surge in the number of approved domain extensions.

Until a few years ago, stepping outside the box in terms of gTLDs meant choosing .net or .biz instead of .com. Now, gTLDs like .photography or .nyc are available, among hundreds of other generic top level domains for multiple industries.

This means you have a brand-new opportunity to get creative with your domain name. Which of the new gTLDs of the world will be your top choice?

Before you get too excited about all of your options, be sure to consider existing gTLDs. The process for registering a brand-new domain extension with ICANN is not only time-consuming, but also expensive. Unless you have an extra 200 grand on hand and a handful of lawyers to handle the paperwork, it’s best to stick with options that other companies have already registered. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to find out which extensions to consider for your website. Start with a domain name generator like Nominus, for example.

2. Dropping Vowels

English in particular is a language full of silent vowels and letters. Who needs them anyway? One trend appearing in company names, product names and domain names alike is the dropping of vowels. Toggle becomes Toggl, for example.

It’s also popular to spell a word phonetically for a new twist. Would you buy Tiger boxes or Tyga boxes? The latter is far mare eye catching and sparks curiosity.

A word of caution, however: when you start playing around with dropped letters or clever spelling, be sure to run plenty of tests with your potential audience in order to make sure the changes make sense. If many people mispronounce or misunderstand the word, it is time to go back to the drawing board.

3. Shorter Extensions

Although long gTLDs like .photography or .business are now available for purchase, shorter domain extensions are actually trending. And for good reason: advertising space is precious, and shorter domains are more economical.

Think about the cost of business cards, flyers or good old fashioned newspaper classified ads. In many instances, you’ll be charged per letter. A long gTLD could cause your advertising bill to skyrocket.

On the other hand, think about how easily your digital marketing team will be able to design side bar banners or smaller advertising slots with a long domain name. Ideally, the entire URL will fit onto the same line. But if your viewers need a magnifying glass to make out the name of your website, your branding efforts will be moot.

Opt for shorter gTLDs that are just two or three letters long, and try to keep the overall domain name on the short side as well.

Bonus Trend: Investing in Domain Names

Investing in domain names is becoming more popular and trendy each year. With a little up-front investment, selling popular domain names for a larger price down the road can be an excellent way to earn passive income.

However, as with all investments, there is some risk. You might never be able to resell a domain name. But if you keep a close eye on trends in business and popular culture, you might be able to predict which domain names will be sought after in the near future.

Still, the popularity of new gTLDs might dissolve this form of domain name investing. With so many other options to choose from, it would be easy to buy the same domain name under a different extension, like .city. However, .com continues to be the most recognizable and default option for domain extensions, so companies may still pay big bucks to purchase a .com version from you.

About the Author:

Cathy-HabasCathy Habas is a professional writer, editor and Spanish-English translator. She collaborates with entrepreneurs from around the world to market their innovations and to reach a diverse audience. Cathy is also a member of the Build Niche Links writing team.

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Cathy Habas

Cathy Habas

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