Top Level Domain

Considering a new website or perhaps just a new domain name to brand you and your business?

The selection of  Your Top Level Domain or TLD has become as confusing to some as the internet itself!

 

The Internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow.

– Bill Gates

 

Today, real estate brokers and marketers (one in the same; in case you were wondering) can have it all. And it’s as simple as having a website, a social media platform and the power to syndicate and integrate massive amounts of information to your consumers.

Yet, before we can do anything, we need to make the biggest decisions of all:

“What should my domain name be?” and “Do I need (or want) a Top Level Domain?”

 

What is a Top Level Domain?

In April 2009, ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) proposed an expansion of the TLD system to allow anyone to register and reserve any unused letter sequence as a TLD for their exclusive use.

Today we have literally hundreds of TLD’s to choose from…View the Full List Here 

Back then, there were just a handful of TLD’s around including the old stand-by’s .net, .gov, .org and  of course the one that we all know and love .com!

Registering a domain name was, and still is, extremely simple to do. And most opt for the standard .com or in some cases, when the desired domain name ending in .com is not available, we see its little brother and sister .net and .org!

Today, we get a fair number of folks asking about purchasing a domain name for their new website with alternative endings such as .guru, .estate and now .realtor!

 

The idea of placing a unique ending to your domain name is brilliant!

 

It can help the consumer more easily identify what you do or the country in which you do it! It can also be an extension of your brand such as .loans or .rentals (both TLD’s are currently available) and can further separate you from your competition.

Are these a good choice? Maybe.

Most consumers are slow to change and will likely fall back on any website search with the endings being .com or .net! However, as these new Top Level Domains gain acceptance, early adopters very well could reap the benefits of owning such a domain name…time can only tell.

 

As of today, we believe that .com is still the most desired option.

 

Why are there so many Top Level Domains now?

 

One of the primary reasons we are aware of is all the domain or ‘name’ squatters out there profiting from purchasing/owning a popular domain name(s) and then selling that domain name to the highest bidder!

There are some domain names that are very popular, or are simply the ideal name for your business, and if the price is right, it can be yours!

TLD’s with very specific extensions are also more expensive which should curb the squatters from purchasing these domains in the hopes someone will pay their price.

 

 

At the time of this post, the domain name BellevueHome.loans was available on GoDaddy for a tidy sum of $129.99 a year or you could secure it for 5 years for $649.95!

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, this opens up a ton of opportunity for those who have specific niche businesses/brands with a need for really focusing on a designed product! You can secure .software or even .surgery if you like.

Are All Top Level Domains Available?

 

Yes and No. Most domain names can easily be secured aside from those specifically designed such as .edu or .gov which are generally unavailable unless you are an accredited school or United States Government Agency.

It’s also important to note, you can’t buy some Top Level Domains in the standard places like GoDaddy.

 

.REALTOR® Top Level Domain

 

A glaring example is .realtor. This can only be purchased through the Association of REALTORS® at:  https://www.claim.realtor

If you are thinking of purchasing a .realtor domain name:

You can not currently point the A Records which is a ‘fancy shmancy’ way of saying most web designers can not build a website for your new domain unless they use the old fashioned means of redirecting the name servers.

Is that a big deal? You bet it is:

Redirecting the Name Server = When you have your domain on one server, for example GoDaddy and then redirect to another server, you essentially have to move all emails and other services to that new host or you lose them.

Pointing the A Record = You keep all email and other services in one place while having your website on a secure server that’s only job is to host and maintain and secure your website.

Can I have more than one Top Level Domain going to my site?

You can have as many domains as your heart desires going to your site. Keep in mind, your website will have your main domain and then you can point alternate versions of your domain to your site, or forward, each additional domain to specific pages on your site.

For example:

  • Your website is www.myname.com
  • You also own a domain www.SeattleWaterfrontHomesForSale.com
  • This second domain could be directed to an IDX powered Seattle Home Search Page
  • We can even develop that page so it displays only waterfront homes for your visitors to see

 

How to Pick Your Domain Name

  1. Visit GoDaddy.com
    • As you are brainstorming you can instantly check availability
    • GoDaddy is still our favorite Domain Registrar (although we do not recommend that you host a website there… sorry GoDaddy.)
  2. Make it easy to remember.
  3. Keep it Simple.
  4. Make sure it is easy to spell.
    • If your Name is hard to spell —  Maybe you should not use your full name?
  5. Avoid getting gimmicky or cute (no hyphens, numbers, or misspellings)
  6. Choose your Brand Name or Include Popular Keywords
    • Real Estate Professionals Be AWARE of your MLS Boards Advertising Rules!
      • For example most, if not all, MLS’s have rules against having certain words in your domain:
        1. Realty
        2. Firm
        3. Brokerage
        4. Real Estate
  7. Visit copyright.gov and search Trademark issues before you buy.
  8. As wehave been talking about, choose an appropriate top-level domain.
    • Still preferably a .com
  9. Make sure the domain supports your current and future marketing efforts.

 

 

Conclusion

Considering the advantages and disadvantages of owning a Top Level Domain is vital to establishing the value, legitimacy and overall exposure of your online brand!

Having a ‘Jumping Off Point’ to get started is the purpose of this post and we hope you’re more informed than before deciding which domain name is right for you.

We also hope you will be able to see the benefits of investigating the differences in how these Top Level Domains function and where best to go to get started.

If we can be of any additional assistance in helping you with this or you have a specific questions/comment concerning TLD’s or this post, we’d love to hear from you…we pride ourselves on being an open resource for any inquiries, ideas and all things website and online marketing related so go ahead and ask away!

By |2015-11-03T20:51:59+00:00January 21st, 2015|

About the Author:

Long time Real Estate Broker, Certified Real Estate Instructor and Social Media Junkie! BUSINESS: Chief Relationship Builder, Real Estate Website Designer & Certified Real Estate Instructor specializing in Social Media and Online Marketing Classroom instruction for Real Estate Brokers, small business owners and anyone looking to learn the power of Social Media, Online and Inbound Marketing. SOCIAL: #HawksFan, #MarinersFan and all things #Seattle. CONTACT: Direct line 206-228-1900 | Contact Me

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