What is a TLD?
TLD stands for “top-level domain”, or in layman’s terms, the “.xyz” following the domain name. This website’s TLD is .com, following asmallorange. The list of available TLDs now are numerous, and the full list of TLDs we offer for registration can be seen here.
There are essentially three categories of top-level domains:
- country codes (a two letter abbreviation to represent a country, like .fr for France, or .it for Italy)
- internationalized country codes (TLDs using non-roman characters like Chinese, Arabic or Hebrew)
- general (this includes the more common TLDs like .com, .net, and .org)
With all of these choices, it can sometimes be overwhelming deciding which TLD is best for your purposes.
Which TLDs to use
Use what is most relevant. First and foremost, it is important to think about what is most relevant to you or your organization. Are you a non-profit or organized group of people with a purpose other than commercial business? A .org may be a good fit for you. Are you an e-commerce retail business? A .com would likely be the most logical choice. These TLDs were originally created with a purpose, and while the guidelines have been loosened over the years, it is still smart to keep this in mind when registering a domain.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The best TLDs, especially for SEO (search engine optimization) purposes, are the old standards – .com, .net, and .org. You want to avoid the newer, “specialty” TLDs like .name, .ws, .cc or .info as these tend to be cheaper, easier to get ahold of, and therefore often indicate a fraudulent or spam website. Unfortunately, most search engine crawlers and analytics favor the big three TLDs, irrelevant of the credibility of the site with a less common TLD.
Whatever is easiest to remember. This is especially important for e-commerce or blogs that rely on unique and growing traffic. The key to a successful domain is a memorable domain. Having a simple extension like .com, .net, and/or .org will make it infinitely easier for your customers, readers, or visitors to remember your URL as these are the most common TLDs they encounter day in and day out.
Specialty TLDs still have their place. While you may not want to register an uncommon TLD for your primary domain, you might want to register a less common TLD for a witty domain or small venture. A common practice with the growth of Twitter is the use of short links, which is a remarkably short domain (i.e. bit.ly or tiny.cc) with the sole purpose of shortening a longer link. Short links like this can be convenient for advertising longer links via Twitter and other social networking to keep character counts down.
What’s in a name?
While a TLD is most important, it’s impossible to know which TLDs are available to register until you decide on the domain name you’d like to buy. Domain names should have the following qualities to be the most effective:
- Be concise. Longer domains are harder to remember, easier to misspell, and can be inefficient for SEO purposes.
- Avoid hyphens and numbers. While these are acceptable in register a domain name, they are cumbersome, less attractive, and inefficient for SEO purposes.
- Make it relevant. Use keywords or the business name so that the domain alone can give the visitor an idea of what to expect. Don’t abbreviate an obscure business name or phrase if you don’t use the abbreviation anywhere else. This can be confusing and difficult to remember.
Once you’ve decided the domain name and know which TLD you’d prefer, it’s time to go to the registrar and try to purchase the domain. Do not be discouraged if your first choice is taken; there are hundreds of millions of domains currently registered, so it may take some trial and error (you’ll get good practice brainstorming domains and choosing TLDs!) before you’re able to settle on a domain.
Covering all bases
Once you’ve settled on a domain, you might be lucky enough to find that not only the TLD of your choice is available, but other common TLDs are available as well. You could consider buying multiple TLDs of the same domain name (i.e. xyz.com, xyz.net, and xyz.org) to ensure no other company purchases a similar domain and confuses your visitors. It would also ensure visitors will still get to your site, even if they don’t remember which TLD you used originally. It is very simple to forward multiple domains to the same main domain via a full management registrar, or via cPanel if you’ve registered through us.
Register your domain today!