Smart marketers and entrepreneurs always seek an edge over the competition. Domain names have changed for the better. Legacy domain names ending in .com or .net were most prominent when they were the only option.

In the last decade, new top-level domain (TLD) names – also known as alternative TLDs – have become mainstream. This means you no longer have to compromise by choosing a website domain name that doesn’t represent your business. Yesterday you had to settle for livepianolessons.com, but today you can have pianolessons.live

Today more than ever, you absolutely must have consistency across countless platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok, and more… And, of course, your own domain.

Ever seen domains ending in .news, .studio, .games or .live? These are next-gen, descriptive domain names that are true to your identity, true to who you are, and why you matter to your audience.

Ninety-four percent of Fortune 50 companies own and already use non-traditional TLD domains already. For example: Microsoft’s Xbox uses xbox.live so users can easily stay connected to their games and friends, and get the most out of Xbox wherever they are.

If you’re about live esports, you don’t have to be liveesports.com (which is tricky with the double-E and already registered anyway). Instead you can try esports.live

How to choose a domain

Choosing a domain isn’t an easy job. Something seemingly simple can take a lot of thought, consideration, and research.

Moreover, many of your ideas will be taken. The internet has been around for a few decades and lots of great names have already been scooped up. Three-letter names are almost impossible to find, even with non-.com TLDs.

Popular keywords are also snatched up in every alternative TLD (e.g., .net, .us, .news) you can imagine.

Your domain name is the most basic foundation of your online identity. The wrong one can have a long-term, negative impact on your brand, ranking, and site traffic.

And your customers will have a hard time remembering it. It’s easy to remember a brand like ESPN; it’s not easy to remember wordier names like bigsportsinternetsite.com

Here are some basic tips to choosing a domain name:

  • Your brand name should be easy to read, to say, and to share with others.
  • It should be catchy, something your audience will not forget.
  • Make it intuitive so people quickly recognize who you are and what you do.
  • Your brand (name + logo) should be consistent on all mediums and platforms.
  • Get a domain name with your brand name in it. Descriptive domains can offer the best choices to find a domain with a descriptive ending, such as .studio, .cafe, .world or .live. At the same time, your audience is more likely to trust something with a .com ending because that’s what they’ve known.

Pro tip: A logo that includes your domain name is a smart way to elevate your brand, making it a call to action at the same time.

Here are a few points you should take into account.

Dos:

  • Choose a memorable domain: Your domain should reflect your brand and product or service offerings.
  • Answer both “who” and “what”: Who are you and what do you do? Encapsulate this in your domain, if possible. Example: streams.live
  • Keep it short: Taking advantage of new TLDs can save characters by moving a word to the right of the dot. Example: abctechnology[.]com vs abc.technology.
  • Think about your keywords: Include the SEO keywords you want to rank for. This doesn’t provide the benefit it once did, but it still contains signaling value as to what your site is all about.
  • Be safe and secure: The domain extension you choose may or may not have security vulnerabilities. Look for a domain registrar that will try all homographic variations of your domain for free.

Don’ts:

  • Long domains with a hyphen (or more). For example: bad-idea-for-your-domain[.]com. People have trouble remembering hyphens. They might be tempting to get a good domain that is unique, but it’s probably a bad idea.
  • Hide: Don’t get lost among the competition with a domain name that doesn’t match your brand or services. how to do it right: LasVegas.Shop
  • Compromise: Your brand name should be as unique and uncompromised as the product or service you offer. Don’t add modifiers to your name when you can be creative and true to your name with new extensions. How to do it right: earn.money
  • Be ambiguous or vague: Use the space to the right of the dot to extend your branding and tell customers who you are and what you do. Is your business unique? Represent your anti status-quo positioning and lead the pack with a novel TLD. How to do it right: positive.news