Freedom of choice in domain names

DNS Belgium logoFrom .ads to .zip. From 2 or 3 characters (.ca and .bio) to 12 or 13 characters (.versicherung and .international). Domain extensions based on geography, media, entertainment, culture, education, technology, sports, health, business, brands and finance. It seems like we have an almost unlimited choice. More than 800 new extensions were launched last year and we can now choose out of 1.300 domain extensions. Did you know that?

Relevant extension + meaningful (domain) name = distinct online identity

When building a website, you choose a certain name, a specific address where people can find you online. For example: I’m selling writing materials and I want to create a website with a virtual shop. Therefore, I first need to register a domain name. Paper.be and pen.be are already registered so I’ll settle for writing-materials.be, or not?

The choice of an extension shouldn’t be automatic and a .be no longer an obvious choice. It’s clever to carefully consider the extension of your domain name. Dot com and dot net are for example more generic but also uninformative extensions. New extensions offer the opportunity to enrich your name online and to make that name clearer. In my case, I might choose paper.vlaanderen because this domain name is still available, in contrast with paper.be. My workplace is situated in Leuven, my clients are mainly Flemish and I only send orders within Belgium, that’s why a .vlaanderen suits me. I could also opt for paper.shop, paper.club, paper.center, paper.design or paper.expert. These extensions add something relevant about me or my business to my online name and as a result, it helps me with a strong online branding.

3 tips when switching to a new domain name

You can consider a new domain extension when registering a domain name for a new purpose, project or product. From an SEO perspective, a new domain name doesn’t mean that much because a domain name as such doesn’t have a lot of effect on your ranking. That’s why we wouldn’t recommend replacing an existing (well-known) domain for a new one. When you do move your website and you switch from one domain to another, here are some useful tips:

1. Use the migration function from Google Webmaster tools and limit possible loss in ranking by correctly redirecting your old domain name to your new domain name. To do this, you use a 301 redirect, in which Google ‘transfers’ rankings from one page to another. Avoid chain redirects; always refer to the final destination page.

2. Avoid duplicate content. Google doesn’t like to see the same content appear in different places (different domains with the same IP address). Customize your content when you use different domains. In this way, you’ll avoid penalties (or loss of certain key word positions).

3. Take care of your link profile and avoid broken links. Make sure that external referrals link to your new domain and try to gain new links/referrals as well. In this way, your authority remains quite intact and you can try to rebuild it (if necessary).

An overview of all active domain extensions (in Latin script):
multimedia.tijd.be/domeinnamen

This news release/post was sourced from the DNS Belgium website here.