.com? .net? .info? Deciding On Your Next TLD

Do you know what TLD is?  Don’t be too embarrassed.  It stands for ‘Top Level Domain’ and to put it simply it’s what comes after the “.” in your domain name.  It could be a .com, or a .net…and even and .us.  If you’d like to be a nerd then you can find out more on Wikipedia.  You can also get a brief history of gTLD’s (or Generic TLD’s) that were first introduced in the 80’s on the  ICANN website These included the ever popular .com, .net, .org, .edu, .gov, .int and .mil.  

Enough about TLD’s though, let’s get into the good stuff…

What kind of TLD should you get?

Now there’s a few things to think of, but my super short answer is “buy a .com”

Let’s say you’re talking to someone at a party.  You reach into your pocket only to realize you’re an idiot and forgot your business cards in the car.  If you’re like me (who does this all the time) you try to give them your website.  By the time that person gets home you’ll be luckily if they remember the ‘main part’ of your domain name.  It’s like when you’re introduced to someone for the first time and you’re introduced to someone by their first and last name.  Chances are you’re going to repeat their first name in your head until you remember…then, if you’re luckily, you’ll try to remember their last name.  So even if you are technically an organization you should always push for the .com.  It’s become the norm.  If you’re really that concerned about it, you could also buy both!

 

So Why Is I Heart Blank a .net?

A very good question.  I can’t even say I made the right decision but here’s why you’re at a .net and not a .com.  

I Heart Blank, LLC is the name of the business.  Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on the day) we do a lot more then websites.  We can host your website at iheartsites.com.  We can get you that great domain name you want at yournextdomainname.com.  We also run a music Reunion blog called The Albatross.  I have a personal ‘nerdy’ blog called at gunnston.com.  We just started a radio campaign about Going Social (which ultimately just leads to this site) and I’ve been known to write a song or two.

I’ve owned iheartblank.com for years and it’s always been for whatever I was doing at the moment.  Basically all the things you see above.  So when it came time to put a website together for I Heart Blank I actually put together a ‘tree’ of all the stuff I wanted to do with the business and website design was only a part of it.  What I decided to do was make iheartblank.com a hub for all the stuff I was involved it.  I joked around with the lady and said it was my ‘corporate headquarters website.’  Don’t worry…she didn’t think it was funny either.  If you head over there you’ll see that, quite methodically in fact, I did put iheartblank.net first.  That way, next time I forget my business cards at a party there’s a better chance that person will get to the right place.

 

What if .com’s taken but .net isn’t?!

Do some research…and make a decision!

If .com is taken but .net isn’t then you’ve got a little research to do.  You want to make sure that the company that owns the .com isn’t competition or isn’t going to confuse your customers (or potential customers.)  How many times have you typed in .com, not found what you were looking for and then automatically tried to type in ‘.net.’  I would assume not many.  You’re tendency is probably to go to a search engine and look up the business.  Plus, if your business is not ranking high in the search engine then you might have lost a potential customer.

If you have a common name, like ‘Franks Pizza’ I would not recommend buying the ‘.net’ just because it was available.  In some cases you might be leading clients to a competitor.  And just because the other business is 12 hours away from you doesn’t mean that you’re not inconveniencing your customers.  Sometimes it can take a person a minute or two to actually read a mailing address on a website and at that point they’re just going to search for a different pizza place.

If the .com you want is just ‘parked‘ somewhere with no website attached to it, then it is your decision to snatch up the .net.  Alternatively, the .com version may simply be a promotion someone was doing at one time that is not part of your business plan.  The point is that you should do some research on your business name and decide if it’s the name you really want to use.  If American Eagle is launch a new clothing line that is your business name then you might want to consider changing it.

If there’s nothing weird going on with .com then you do one of three things; buy the .net, get more creative with your .com, or do both!

 

Getting creative with a .com

I know you’ve got it in you!

I don’t always think it’s better to go with a .com, but it usually makes things less messy.  We talked about when it’s okay to use a .net, but now let’s talk about getting more creative with your .com  The idea is to think outside the box.  Here’s some general rules or tips that I use to get more creative and make sure I’m not giving someone some bad advice:

Three Word Rule

Try not to buy a domain with more then three words.  It’s just too much…unless it’s really funny or a gag.  (ie – iamsoinsanelyawesome.com)

Visualize The Domain

This one kind of goes hand in hand with the ‘three word rule’ but I always try to visualize what the domain would look like on a business card or on a website.

‘Hear’ The Domain

It might be my years in radio but I always like to say the domain name out loud.  Like a lot.  It can help you between two names and help you determine if anything might be weird in your business name.  While I’m not against it and there’s nothing wrong with it, sometimes a business needs to avoid a weird spelling and hearing the name out loud in your head can help you…literally…hear it.

Be Careful Of Numbers!

Numbers can make domain names a drag.  Sometimes it’s necessary, but many times it’s not.  I hate when I find myself asking “Is it the number 4 or F-O-U-R?!”  Think about it in terms of ‘hearing’ the domain too.  If you were to do a radio commercial you’d have to say, “Just go to W W W dot the number 4 bird watching dot com.”  Think about it.  That’s a lot and there’s less of a chance someone’s gonna remember it.  Adversely, if you’re including an 800-number in your domain it’s something your listener isn’t going to mistake.

Be Careful Of Variable Words

I’ve done this before but the numbers one above made me think about it.  If anyone, at anytime, can mistake ‘their,’ ‘they’re‘ and ‘there‘ in your domain name then you should try your best to avoid any variation.  Like for serious.

Try Adding An SEO Word

Stuck on a .com domain?  Try thinking of some terms someone would search for you.  Sometimes it’s as easy as adding your town or even your state (ie – goingsocialnj.com.)  If you’re in a service industry it may just help you beat out your competitors.

Be Weary Of ‘-‘

I go back and forth on the dash ( – ) sometimes.  On the one hand it’s easy to say (“W W W dot hackettstown dash pest control”) and it may help with your Search Engine Integration…it just doesn’t have a lot of style.  Unless it totally fits, I usually feel like I’m giving up on a domain name when I put a dash in.  It also is a little less likey to be remembered.  Remember that even in the ‘Three Word Rule” the dash counts as a word.  Use it wisely!

The Old Standards

Sometimes getting the perfect .com is as simple as adding ‘online’ to the end of your domain.  This is what Domain Name Suggestion Tools sometimes use to help you come up with a name.  Speaking of which…

Suggestion Tools

We actually have a Domain Name Suggestion Tool.  Don’t be too proud to use it.  It’ll help save you time and might even help you think of other creative ideas to venture on!

 

Conclusion

I think that’s about all I can pull out of my head right now without writing a book.  Always try to use a .com.  If you can’t think of one, just simply think outside of the box.  You’re welcome to use a .net if you’re going to buy both or you’ve done your research and have found no other association or confusing business associated with yours.


Hi, I'm a marketing guy, who knows how to make websites. Every so often I see or think of things, that will be of value to others. It's either that or I just need to 'rage-vent.'

tommy[at]iheartblank[dot]net

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