Ever since "not-coms" burst onto the scene a couple years ago, marketers have been tiptoeing around the subject, wondering just what they should do about it and waiting for someone else to make the first move. There are several reasons to believe that 2017 (+) will be the year (s) that these personalized domain names become far more popular – and we want you to be ready. Here's a quick FAQ to see if you need to put some plans for your own not.com in the pipeline.
What Exactly is a "Not-com"?
This refers to domain names that can be customized "after the dot" as well as before it. It allows sites to move away from the old ".com" and ".net" or ".edu" and onto much more specific words. This includes industry terms like ".agency" or ".clothing" to brand names like ".bmw." In other words, you can extend your brand to the .com part of your domain name for a little extra class and differentiation. Otherwise, the site and its related tags operate just as before. Like with all domain names, you have to register for or purchase these not-coms as websites. It varies a little, but most major web hosts are now offering the ability
Why Should I Care Now?
So-called "vanity URLs" have been available for some time (allowing for limited web address customization), but not-coms are a more advanced form of this kind of personalization...and there's not as much "vanity" about them as you might think. As new websites have popped up these past couple years, we've seen a lot more experimentation with not.coms. Their advantages have become more obvious, and internet users have grown more accustomed to seeing not-coms out in the wilderness, so they don't panic much anymore...which means the time is ripe to think about not-coms for your own company.
How Does This Help Online Marketing?
Let's talk about three important benefits:
- Standing out from the crowd: There are a lot of ".coms" out there, especially in less adventurous industries. Switching to a not-com is a great way to stand out and help people notice or remember your brand. Of course, this particularly advantage decreases the more sites in your industry that convert to not-coms.
- Providing more brand information: A not.com immediately says something about your brand. It's a word that tells people exactly what you think is important, how you classify your own business, and how you can help internet users. It's an extra little way to immediate give more brand info without even the need enter your site.
- Improving SEO: Depending on the not-com you choose, you could also be providing more accurate information for Google's bots to pick up on. In theory, this can lead to higher page rankings and more accurate appearances in searches...if you choose wisely. Local-oriented not-coms seem to be effective here.
How Do I Know if I Need a Customized Domain Name?
Take a look at your branding goals! If one of your priorities is creating a stronger brand and redefining your website and online reputation, one of these customized domains can be a very powerful tool.
I'm Happy With My Website: Should I Still Look for a Not-com?
You may at least want to have a conversation with your web designer or IT expert and discuss moving to a not-com, just to see what it would entail. There are a couple good reasons for this even if you have no intentions of immediately converting. First, if not-coms continue their trajectory of growth, you may need to adopt one eventually so that your site doesn't seem out of date. Second and closely related, in highly competitive industries, you don't want a competitor to steal the perfect domain name customization first, leaving you trailing behind.