top level domain names

What are Top Level Domain Names?

As anyone who’s ever tried to buy their ideal domain name knows, in recent years the pickings had become decidedly slim! Our ever-expanding worldwide web sees new websites being created all the time, and all the desirable .coms have long since been nabbed. In an effort to combat this problem, a whole host of new domain name extensions, known as Top Level Domains (TLDs), have recently been introduced. TLDs are the last part of a domain name eg, .com, .fr, .org etc.

In the past, these were all handled by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), but last year, the process was opened up to all to create their own TLDs.

This means there’s now a whole new world of possibilities for creating your perfect domain name. http://pizza.com may well be taken, but what about http://pizza.delivery? Many businesses can now opt for a highly personalised website address for the first time. This can quickly give visitors a good indication of the purpose of a website.

Apart from the benefit of increased choice though, it must be said that TLDs don’t offer any intrinsic benefit to business. A recent survey found no evidence they alter or improve perceptions of the website. They also have zero impact on site rankings, as confirmed by Google. New TLDs are neither penalised nor favoured by search engines.

In fact, they could sometimes be a disadvantage. Compared to well-established .com websites that have been around for years, a website with a new TLD can give the impression of being newly-created – and therefore an unknown quantity. This is why older alternative TLDs like .biz or .info never really took off. Before opting for a new TLD, it’s worth thinking about what kind of perception you wish to project: cutting edge and hi-tech, or established and dependable?

Lastly, if you are considering getting a new TLD for an existing website, it’s vital you ensure you handle the transition correctly. Failing to properly redirect traffic from your original domain to your new one can have catastrophic results on your site’s search engine visibility. So, make sure whoever you get to do it knows what they’re doing (hint: we do!).

You might not have noticed but we’ve recently opted to get a new TLD for ourselves: .services. This allowed us a domain name that matches perfectly our company name: http://port80.services (although we are course still be accessible via our original port80services.com domain too).

So, if you have any questions about new TLDs, get in touch! We can give you all the info you need, reserve your new TLD domain and set it all up for you.

A full and regularly updated list of all available TLDs is maintained here.