There are hundreds upon hundreds of things that people do to make their brands memorable. And, no, I'm not talking about the Kardashians here. Businesses and marketers are constantly clamoring for new ways to make their brands stand out—from PR to advertising to blogging to new social media such as Snapchat and Facebook Live.
As marketers, we want to be on the cutting edge of all things related to branding; yet, most of us use the same domain name we've been hauling around since we purchased it back when AOL disks were used to dial up the Internet.
If you want to help people find and remember your brand online, you need a digital identity that stands out from the crowd. With hundreds of new domain names, such as dot-marketing (.marketing), dot-agency (.agency), and dot-media (.media) now available, we can use them to tell the world who we are and what business we're in.
Naturally, as with all technological innovation, there will be questions. The biggest one is, Will I be found online if I use, for example, a dot-digital (.digital) or dot-productions (.productions) domain name?
It's a legitimate concern for businesses and brands when their economic success is based on the almighty search engine results page. Luckily, I can put those concerns to rest because the short answer to your question is YES, you will be found online if you use a "not-com" domain name option.
I won't make you listen to me, though. Instead, see what Google, the ultimate arbiter of online search, said in an FAQ blog post at the end of 2015: "New domain endings are not treated any differently than traditional domain name endings like .com or .org. Domain names with new endings are shown in search just like any other domain name."
Google brings this point to life with a good example. If you type "coffee club" into the Google search browser, you'll get this as one of its top results: www.coffee.club.
There are plenty of examples of businesses and personal brands adopting "not-com" domain names and finding success online, from startups (Driftaway Coffee: driftaway.coffee) to established companies (Intelligent Product Solutions: IntelligentProduct.solutions) to personal brands (The Christmas Expert: TheChristmas.expert—hey, 'tis the season, right?).
It's all part of a bigger "not-com" revolution taking place as we speak. Since early in 2014, hundreds of new options have become available to people who want to create a meaningful and memorable digital identity.
Google describes this new choice as a way to "find a meaningful and memorable name for your business as you tell the world who you are and what you do."
Think about it: If you see a website with a dot-catering domain name, we know you're a catering business. Take Amici.catering: If its website were Amici.com, potential visitors would know little about the business beforehand.
Fathom Clothing is another good example: Fathom.clothing immediately tells you that Fathom is a clothing and apparel brand, whereas Fathom.com would leave a lot to the imagination.
At a time when you have about one-eighth of a second to capture a potential customer's attention, you want to be as descriptive as you possibly can when you leave a digital calling card.
And Google itself is walking the "not-com" walk. It not only invested $25 million to purchase the 'dot-app' (.app) domain but also launched a new holding company, Alphabet, on abc.xyz; and its domain business, a one-stop shop for purchasing domain names and building websites, lives at domains.google. (How did it pull that off? Well, some major brands secured their own domain extensions.)
Of course, having a keyword-rich domain name is only one step in the right direction toward SEO perfection, along with website content, pageload times, keyword frequency, inbound links, and more.
The long and short of it is this: A creative and descriptive domain name can go a long way toward helping you carve out your own digital niche.