When you choose a domain name, the focus tends to land on the middle part after www. Not much thought goes into the domain name suffix at the end of the web address (URL). But that overlooks the extensive world of new top-level domains.
A top-level domain (TLD), or a domain extension, is the last part of a URL. It’s the .com in ipage.com. Common top-level domains include .com, .net., .edu., and .org.
Over the last few years, new domain extensions were introduced, widening the scope of options to include various endings like .me, .store., and .yoga.
These custom domain extensions provide new options and have advantages and disadvantages, including lack of memorability but a chance for branding. It’s worth learning about new domain extensions when you set up your business website and choose a domain name.
Read on to learn more about:
- The categories of top-level domains
- What the most popular top-level domains are
- What new domain extensions are
- The advantages and disadvantages of choosing a custom domain extension
The Different Types of Top-Level Domains
There are multiple types of domain name extensions:
- Generic TLDs (gTLDs) are the most commonly used, including .com and .biz. New gTLDs include options like .store and .casino.
- Sponsored TLDs (sTLDs) are for certain organizations including governments at .gov and educational institutions at .edu.
- Country code TLDs (ccTLDs) are for specific countries, including .cn for China and .uk for the United Kingdom.
The world of domain endings can seem strange and confusing. But by learning domain extension meanings, you can better understand the websites you visit and how to improve your own domain name management.
Many people just want to use .com for their website and call it a day. But if you do extensive work in another country or are trying to gain credibility for your new educational organization, it’s essential to consider the best domain to choose.
Most Popular Domain Extensions
- .com (Short for commercial)
- .net (Short for network)
- .org (Short for organization)
- .co (Short for Colombia, but often used for company)
- .us (Short for United States)
The list of commonly used TLDs is not surprising. But as more websites get registered every day, your company will likely have to choose a new domain extension for your website.
What New Top-Level Domains Are
New TLDs, or custom TLDs, are the new options available for domain extensions. Examples include:
ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) manages the domain name system, which connects domain names to IP addresses. Until a few years ago, there were only 22 generic top-level domains. In 2013, ICANN started releasing new TLDs.
There are currently more than 1,200 custom domain extensions available. Some are general keywords, and others are for brands like .Toshiba and .Macys.
The list continues to grow, but at a slower pace than the first few years, with .cpa and .gay being the only new additions in 2019.
Though these domain suffixes have been around for a few years, they’re still relatively uncommon. Let’s look at what you should consider before using a custom TLD.
Disadvantages of Using Custom Domain Extensions
The biggest concern with using a new domain extension is that you’re going against the norm. People are used to .com and .org. So .food or .radio might be confusing for users.
There’s also the issue that new domain extensions aren’t as easy to remember. A GrowthBadger study found the most memorable TLD is a .com domain name at 44% correct recollection. And .com was the most-guessed option when an extension was forgotten.
Another concern is trustworthiness. Will people trust a domain extension they don’t recognize?
GrowthBadger also found .com was ranked as the most trusted domain extension. But at number six was .blog, which proves new domain extensions have the potential to be as trusted as the main extensions.
While these disadvantages may be deal-breakers for selecting your domain name, custom TLDs will become more common as the internet evolves. That gain in popularity will also make custom TLDs more recognizable.
Advantages of Using Custom Domain Extensions
One of the main reasons to consider a new domain extension is if your first extension choice is taken. Custom TLDs have more options and availability.
Because there’s a long list of choices, you can choose a new domain extension to give your business a unique domain name. It can even be a conversation starter like Driftaway.Coffee’s blog post explaining their domain choice.
A descriptive domain extension can also help with your business. You can choose a custom TLD like .dentist or .attorney to help your business with branding. A customer will understand your service just by seeing your URL.
Choosing a custom extension can also navigate people to other parts of your website. For example, Emirates.store is Emirates’s official store page.
Domain names can affect search engine optimization (SEO), and domain extensions also play a role in SEO. While Google has said that it doesn’t rank new TLDs any higher, there are still some advantages to using a custom TLD.
A custom TLD can add keywords to your URL, which SEO agency Globe Runner found helpful to rank in relevant search and improve conversion rates. A custom domain name can also create a long-tailed keyword, which can help SEO.
Final Thoughts: What Are New Domain Extensions and Why You Might Want One
While ICANN released custom domain extensions almost a decade ago, they’re still gaining momentum on the internet. New domain extensions provide options outside of the commonly used domain suffixes.
New TLDs might be less recognizable and memorable, but they can make your URL more informational and contribute to SEO.
When you choose a domain suffix, consider a custom domain extension.
Are you ready to set up your new domain name with a custom TLD? Take a look at iPage’s hosting packages today.