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New Top Level Domains Are Available: Be A Savvy Marketer

Top level domains – you know them without really being able to define them – they are the .com, .org, .net, .edu, .gov, and even .mil. Top level domains also include the country domains – you’ll see something.ca, for example, and know that’s a domain related to Canada. .jp is for Japan and so on.

Now there are a whole host of new top level domains available for purchase and the benefits for marketing and differentiating yourself are compelling.

What Are the New Top Level Domains?

There are about 1300 new top level domains and they are being released to the general public slowly. There are 111 that are now available for purchase. The new top level domains cover a wide range of topics. Here are a few examples:

  • .academy
  • .agency
  • .bargains
  • .bid
  • .bike
  • .build
  • .builders
  • .catering
  • .cleaning
  • .club
  • .construction
  • .democrat
  • .education
  • .expert
  • .guru
  • .marketing

Top level domains like .law, .lawyer, and .attorney will be available for pre-registration soon. What should a savvy marketer do to take advantage of these new domains?

1. Innovate Your Brand

I’m sure we can all agree that your domain name is important for the branding of your company. After all, you would expect to find Connect4 Consulting at www.Connect4Consulting.com,  right? And the same is likely true for your business domain.

But what if the game changed so that your business domain could be more aligned with your business? We could be Connect4.marketing or Connect4.consultant. Own a car dealership? How about www.BethesdaFord.cars? Have a law firm? How about www.washingtondc.law or www.personalinjury.law? Are you a politician? How about www.joesmith.democrat or www.joesmith.gop?

These changes and more are all coming in 2014. Savvy marketers need to get in front of this new domain landscape and line up to protect their brands (or even consider re-branding).

2. Protect Your Brand

If you have a domain that is your company name or a domain that reflects your branding, it’s time to protect variations of that brand that are becoming available.

For example, Connect4 Consulting only works with companies in the US and Canada, so we’d probably be okay with a foreign entity owning <a “href=”http://www.connect4consulting.asia/”>www.connect4consulting.asia. But we definitely would not like another agency to grab www.connect4consulting.marketing.

3. Get Up For The Sunrise

As each new top level domain becomes available, there’s a 60 day “sunrise” period for trademark holders to purchase their domains. For example, this will allow Hertz to scoop up www.hertz.cars and Amazon to get www.Amazon.book. Trademark holders still have to purchase the domains but they get first pick.

To view the list of all the new TLDs, take a look at Name.com’s TLD Watchlist Here you can see all the new TLDs and also mark the ones you’re interested in so that you can be notified when they become available. Your domain registrar may offer a similar service. As these new domains become available, you can purchase them for prices similar to those for your existing domains. Tip: Go to Name.com’s TLD Watchlist and see what TLDs are of interest to you. Then add these names to your Watchlist (right on the same page).

4. New Top Level Domains and SEO

According to Google’s Matt Cutts, the new top level domains won’t have an SEO advantage over existing domains. What will matter, however is the memory of the end user and your branding. Which is better Ford.com or Ford.cars? Hilton.com or Hilton.hotels? Today it’s easy to say that .com is better for brand recall, but over time I think we’ll see a shift as brands use the top level domains as part of their overall branding strategy.

The Bottom Line on New Top Level Domains

Our suggestion is that you register new top level domains that match your business objectives or that you want to protect, either because of your own trademarks or for future use.

How To Boost Exposure For Your Website Without SEO

There are many ways to boost exposure for your website. SEO or search engine optimization is one method, but for some online businesses – particularly ecommerce businesses – there’s too much competition for first page search results. This post discusses four proven methods for driving referral traffic to your website and building brand exposure even if your site doesn’t appear on the first page of Google search results.

Four Methods for Increasing Website Exposure & Referral Traffic

1) Build an email list from your existing website visitors

This is something of a no-brainer. Every website should have an email signup. If you don’t, please contact Connect4 today (202-236-2968) so we can help you set it up. However, this method is slightly different because it offers a purchase incentive to visitors. This can be a coupon that the visitor can use immediately on the site to buy something. For example, REI.com offers people 15% off select products if they sign up for the email list.

2) Incorporate products into your blog

Another way to build exposure and referral traffic is to create a blog with great content that features some of the products that you sell or services that you provide. Zappos is a company that excels at this approach. If you go to Zappos, it looks like any other ecommerce site that sells clothes and shoes. However, if you go to the Zappos blog, they do a great job of incorporating their products into great content. They also give how-to tips. If your blog isn’t getting much traction, you might want to shift away from product announcements and try a Zappos-type approach and integrate your products or services into great content.

3) Create expert advice videos

Another way to get exposure for your website without SEO is to create content that appeals to your target audience but doesn’t even talk about the products or services that you offer. Once again REI does this really well with their YouTube channel. They’ve identified their target market and then created expert advice videos. They are assuming that people will watch the expert advice videos and then be reminded about a purchase they intended to make and be reminded that REI is a place to go to make such a purchase.

4) Guest posting

Yet another way to boost exposure for your website without SEO is to guest post on someone else’s blog. What you’d first want to do is to do just what REI did and identify your target audience. If I were doing this, I would search Google for something like “small business technology” + “guest post”, and then I would go through the various sites and pick the site with the most comments.

As you can see, the key to promoting your website without SEO revolves around creating great content. You want great content that appeals to your target customer and a variety of vehicles for getting that content in front of them.