Choosing the perfect domain extension in three easy steps

You have unlimited choices when it comes to your domain name, thanks to all the New Domains coming into the fold. That’s great news if you’re looking for a memorable and intuitive domain name, but having so many choices can also prove overwhelming—nothing’s worse than knowing what you want and then being presented with every option in the world. We can help narrow your choices down in three easy steps that will make it possible to go from “Wha????” [brain explosion] to “Success!”

So much decision.

1. Focus your branding. What traits do you consider most important when shaping your brand— whether that be a company brand, an individual brand or a non-profit brand? Do you pride yourself on being local? On being an industry leader? Do you pride your credibility? Or your responsiveness? These traits are reflected in the New Domain and traditional TLD options. There are basic categories of TLDs: culture, geographic, industry-specific, generic, brand and off-beat. (Search by category here). Knowing what niche you’d like to fit into can help narrow your search down.

Example: Say you’re a local, medium-size shoe manufacturer based in New York City looking to register a domain. Although .NYC is an option, your store does most of its business online and prides itself mostly for custom shoes that are highly fashionable. You can cut out brand, culture, and geographic TLDs and look at traditional (.COM, .NET, .BIZ), industry-specific New TLDs in the retail and fashion sectors (.shop, .fashion, .style) and offbeat TLDs that create fun domain names (.GURU, .SPOT, .HOT).

2. Narrow down to a few options. Maybe choose them all. Okay, so a domain registrar telling you to register more than one domain might seem like a car salesman telling you to buy a station wagon for the weekdays and a sports car for Friday and Saturday, but we promise: A lot of businesses register more than one domain and use them for different purposes. So if you can’t seem to decide between three domain options and all are available, consider registering all of them. Some can redirect to your main page, and having a diverse domain portfolio allows you to market to different groups and cover the domains in your industry.

Example (cont): Now that we’ve narrowed down our options for the shoe store to traditional, industry-specific and offbeat, we choose a couple TLDs in each category that appeal most. The store’s name, Ice Ice Shoes (okay, so it’s a terrible name) is available on .COM for $10.99 (not surprising, considering the quality of that brand name), so we want it. Then, we’d take an industry-specific New TLD, like .SHOP ( we add iceiceshoes.SHOP to our watchlist, since .SHOP is launching soon) and a fun and highly memorable domain that acts as a redirect, like .GURU—iceyshoe.GURU ($24.99).

3. Once you choose your options, do a little research. There are a lot more registries than there used to be, and since a lot of them are operating for the first time with the launch of their New TLD, it’s not a bad idea to check and see what type of user agreement they have in place, as well as consider the size of the market, the openness of the registration process and the registry support measures put in place. Traditional TLDs, like .COM, .NET and .BIZ have been around a long time, so you don’t have to consider the same parameters, but it’s worth looking into the New TLD you like, specifically if there are others a lot like it (.SHOP and .SHOPPING, for example) and decide which has more of an appeal.

Example:  When Googling .GURU, we find it’s distributed via most of the top registrars (most importantly,, of course), there’s been a lot of media attention for this particular new TLD, and that it’s one of the most popular New TLDs being registered. It’s supported by a portfolio registry (meaning they run more than one New TLD), and the registry has an open, friendly agreement. Done.

Want to start your search or peruse available domain options? Start now. Waiting for your favorite New Domain? Read how to use our domain watcher.