Domain names are the core of every website’s brand. A well-thought out domain name can evoke a positive branding impact as well as establish the website’s domain authority.
New domain name extensions (series of letters at the right side of the dot) have become available over the past years. This simply means that website owners have more choices when it comes to crafting the perfect domain name for their business.
ccTLD: Is it a Perfect Fit?
Each country is assigned a two-letter country code top-level domain (ccTLD) or domain extension. For example, .sg is a domain extension specific to Singapore.
Hence, websites targeting a majority of their audience in Singapore can use .sg as their domain extension. Other popular ccTLDs available in the market are: .us (USA), .de (Germany), and .hk (Hong Kong). For a complete list of ccTLDs check out this list: Country Code Top Level Domains.
There are common ccTLDs that are now commercially used for worldwide consumption–not just for the country where it is assigned to. Montenegro has .me, Tuvalu has .tv and Colombia has .co.
Due to the popularity outside of their respective countries, Google treats them as “generic” domains, which means that it won’t consider these domain extensions as specifically targeted to these countries. Again, not all ccTLDs are open for worldwide registration, so make sure to research first before making a decision.
To help you decide whether going for ccTLD will make sense for your business, here’s a rundown of the pros and cons you need to consider.
Pros of ccTLDs:
- Trustworthy – ccTLDs can boost credibility for a country-specific website. There are users from countries such as Germany that would give preference to websites with .de domain extensions. This is mostly because it uses the local language and the website admin is based locally so it’s easier to contact them when needed.
- Search engine-friendly – Another great benefit of using ccTLD is that it helps websites rank better in their local search results. Google believes that properly localized websites offer users more relevant search results. Since it targets a certain country, it has a good chance to rank higher in the local search engines. However, not all ccTLDs are treated equally–.tv, .me and .co are no longer considered ccTLD but gTLDs. A generic top-level domain or gTLD is a type of top-level domain name of a website address that classifies them generically according to a domain class. For example: .com (business/commercial), .org (groups, non-profit organizations), .net (originally intended for ISPs but now used for any purposes), .edu (schools/educational institutions, .gov (for government agencies and many more.
- Improve branding – Using ccTLD will bring your branding to the next level. You can use your creativity to inform users what your site’s purpose is and do something with your brand with the least effort. Since it’s shorter, it’s easier for everyone to memorize.
Cons of ccTLDs:
- There are certain ccTLDs that have restrictions on the website’s DNS providers.
- If you plan to extend your search ranking outside of your country, it may not rank as well especially if the content uses non-English language and has some geographic limitations.
- It is more expensive than a regular gTLD.
Creative Branding with ccTLD
There are well-branded websites that fuse ccTLD in their branding scheme. A perfect example of this is:
- Matt Mullenweg blog (Ma.tt)
- Instagram (Instagr.am)
- Reddit (Redd.it)
- Youtube (Youtu.be)
- Delicious (del.icio.us)
There are endless possibilities when branding your site creatively with ccTLD. Before you can register or renew your domain, check out some of these helpful tips to hack that branded domain.
- .ag (Antigua and Barbuda) – anything that ends with ‘ag’ such as Toteb.ag, Fashionm.ag.
- .be (Belgium) – It works well with words that end in ‘be’. Example: Iamthecu.be
- .co (Colombia) – you can use this as an alternative to your main .com site pointing to the same website. Popular examples: Twitter (t.co) and Overstock (O.co).
- .fm (Federated States of Micronesia) – ideal for online radios and streaming audio sites like Last.fm.
- .gs (South Georgia and the Sandwich islands) – Action-oriented brands or any site that ends in ‘gs’. Example: Blo.gs
- .in (India) – For phrases that ends with ‘in’. Example: check.in, move.in
- .it (Italy) – Mostly used for Italian websites but can be used for any verbs followed by ‘it’. Example: helpmelearn.it, explore.it
- .me (Montenegro) – commonly used on vanity or personal blogs or anything that has to do with the word ‘me’. Popular example: About.me
- .ly (Libya) – Popular among websites that use the suffix ‘-ly’ to form a single-word domain. Examples: bit.ly, ow.ly, brief.ly.
- .us (United States) – This is great if you want users to do something with your US-based website. Examples: visit.us, call.us
- .to (Tonga) – This adds a spin to a word or phrase ending in ‘to’. cr.yp.to, dine.to, go.to
Check Out that Domain You Like
When used properly, ccTLDs can prompt users action based on some examples we mentioned above. It also gives visitors some information about your brand even before actually browsing the site such as with Last.fm.
We hope that this article was of great help to you to branding your domain creatively. If you’re ready, you can create one and check with our Domain Search Tool to see if it’s available.
If it is, just go to our website to register that domain or you may get in touch with our 24/7 SuperSupport Specialist to assist you with your domain registration. It’s that simple. CLICK on the link below to get started.