The first thing you must have when starting a business is a location. Whether you sell custom antiques from the comfort of your home or offer administrative services from an office space, your business needs to exist somewhere and have a location. The same applies to online businesses. Every online business needs to have an address or what is popularly known as a domain name.
- It is crucial for businesses to understand the purpose of their website before selecting a domain from the various domain types.
- For those who want to target local visitors and consumers, the country code TLDs are ideal.
- A company should also consider search engine optimization.
- Some domain types will rank higher on search engines than others.
- As a business, you also have the option of purchasing more than one domain name. You can opt for 2 or more domain names to build your brand identity.
What is a domain name?
A domain name is a site’s electronic address that is used to locate a company, product or service that operates online. It is the name that identifies a website. A domain name comprises of the company’s name, a trade mark, or any other sign that enables a user to locate it and a domain extension.
Types of domain names
Top Level Domains (TLD)
These are the highest level domains in the internet’s DNS structure. Top level domains are divided into three major types
i. ccTLD –country code Top Level Domains e.g business.co.ke, business.co.za
ii. gTLD – Generic Top Level Domain e.g business.com, business, org
iii. IDN ccTLD –internationalized country code Top Level Domains e.g
Different types of domains and their impact on businesses
I. Generic Top Level Domains (gTLD)
The generic domain is the most common extension. It includes extensions such as .com, .net, .org and .biz. Anyone can register for these names. Generic domains also include restricted domain extensions that require one to apply for them. Most of them belong to a group or organization. For example, the dotAfrica (.Africa) TLD is proposed as a new gTLD (Generic Top Level Domain) for the promotion of African business, people and culture on the Internet.
Advantages of generic domains to businesses
gTLDs allow companies to claim a brand name that specifically represents their company’s service mark or niche. Generic domains also help benefit SMBs by adequately representing them through their domain name. For instance, a bakery by the name “”tasty pastries” may be lucky enough to get the name tastypastries.bakery as its website’s address. This generic domain is great for branding as companies can create memorable names.
2. Marketing efficiency
Generic domains allow better SEO and web traffic. They allow for instant recognition of a domain name that instantly associates your business with a particular market sector. It also helps to raise your company’s credibility and profile.
3. Customer experience
gTLD also enable visitors to know exactly what to expect from a website. For instance, a domain name that ends with .doctor will let the visitor know right away that the site is related to doctors or medicine.
II. ccTLDs – country code Top Level Domains
This domain is built to be used within a country, a sovereign state or a dependent territory. Often referred to as country code extensions, they may require that the user registering the domain name lives in the country. However, this domain names may not be searchable outside of that country. Each country has its specific ccTLD. For instance;
• .ke is for Kenya
• .de is for Germany
• .ag is for Antigua
• .uk is for the United Kingdom
Hence if your company is in Kenya and you choose a ccTLD, your domain name will be; Mycompany.ke
This domain name is ideal if you want to build your company’s credibility amongst the locals visiting your site. Even so, other people feel that sites with their country’s extensions are full of spam. ccTLDs are more expensive than non-restricted gTLD. Before choosing a ccTLD for your website, find out first if it is searchable and if it would have a good reputation.
Impact of the ccTLD to businesses today
1. They offer local targeting and SEO benefits
This domain allows you to target traffic from particular areas of the world. For instance, if you want to target the Australin audience to visit your clothing store in Australia, choose a ccTLD as your primary domain extension. By so doing, your website will show up in the search results of people in Australia and not other parts of the world.
ccTLDs also give you’re a higher Search Engine Optimization(SEO) value for country based search engine results. This is because search engines give priority to local results. Hence, if someone in your country searches aclothing store, your country code TLD clothing store will rank higher than if you did not have the .au ccTLD.
2. Instills Buyer confidence
Most visitors are more confident purchasing through a local website. The ccTLDs are good for building your credibility as well as give your visitors more confidence. Likewise, more people prefer to complete a transaction on sites that use their native currency, are in their local language and region.
3. Helps businesses bring out their creativity
Ever heard of the term domain hack? This is one of the tricks most companies use to build a strong brand. The companies take the time to build names using both the domain name and the ccTLD together. Some good examples include;
• beach.es for a Spanish ccTLD
• subscri.be for a Belgian ccTLD
Domain hacks do not have any limits. It can even be a call to action like check.in or help.us. Companies can explore their own creativity to come up with smart ccTLDs.
III. IDN ccTLD- internationalized country code top-level domains
This is a specially encoded domain format that enables domain names to be written in multiple scripts and languages. It allows people from across the world to use domain names in their local language and scripts.
Impact of IDN ccTLD on businesses
Today, at least 50 percent of the world’s population uses the internet. The IDNs provides businesses with more localized methods to reach a broad base of their target market. Businesses are able to create more localized content and services that are suited to a respective region or culture. Hence, it is especially beneficial to companies that do businesses in countries where English is not the official language.
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