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Does Your Brand Need a Top-Level Domain?

on December 26, 2017

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If you’ve been trying to build your brand online for a while, you’ve probably noticed, there seems to be a LOT of terminologies, tons of ideas, a million strategies— and just as many people telling you what your brand needs. One of the most difficult parts of branding to wade through is the domain name system (DNS). So we’re here to help demystify it and clue you into something that could give your brand an edge: a Top-Level Domain [TLD].

top-level domain information

As a quick refresher, a website is made up of three main parts:

Subdomain Domain Top-Level Domain [TLD]
www. coolwebsite .com

Ideally, you probably know just from your personal internet browsing that there are several generic TLDs out there. You probably recognize these, for example:

  • .com
  • .net
  • .ca
  • .org
  • .gov
  • .edu

But as more and more people got websites, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has allowed enough domain-name expansion to make Brand TLDs possible. As you might have guessed, Brand TLDs are just like other TLDs, but instead of a generic term, their TLD is unique to their brand. Some of the most well-known Brand TLDs include .apple, .google, .bmw, .aaa, and .bloomberg.

Some of the biggest benefits of having a Brand TLD:

  • Only the brand can use the domain name
  • It cements a brand’s reputation, legitimacy, and name recognition
  • Gives the brand unique opportunities to innovate its websites and online content.
  • Is very secure and reinforces trust between brand and consumer.

Due to benefits like these, it’s natural to wonder if your brand can— and should— make this leap. However, Brand TLDs are extremely costly to apply for, and not granted to many companies (we’re talking a few hundred companies shelling out upwards of $185K).  Unless you’ve had a really good year, you likely don’t have that kind of money to put towards online branding. But don’t despair, an understanding of your domain name and how it fits into your marketing strategy is still important. After all, it’s central to your identity online. Here are some things you can do.

  1. Get to know the DNS, and how different TLDs affect different marketing strategies.
  2. See what type of consumer goes to which type of TLD.
  3. Look carefully at your domain name. Is it easy to remember? If not, what can you do to make it more concise?
  4. If your budget permits, purchase multiple domain names, under a variety of TLDs, and redirect them to your homepage. This way, more people will be more likely to interact directly with your brand first.

The bottom line is, although it would be awesome to have a brand— and a marketing budget—it may not be feasible right now. If that’s the case, don’t be discouraged, there’s plenty you can do to better align your TLD— and the rest of your domain name—with your marketing goals. If you’re a marketing professional for a large corporation and you don’t have a Brand Top-Level Domain yet, talk to your marketing team. Figure out what’s standing in your way, and make sure everyone is clear on the costs and benefits if it’s going to be a part of your strategy in the future. Are you having trouble with your domain name? Visit the Web Development section of our website to see if we can help.

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