Don’t have a .com? Here’s what you can do.
First, I want to say this post is best for the people who are not using a .com but an alternate TLD. I just want to help by giving some advice if you are in this situation.
So you are trying to get a domain, most likely from GoDaddy, and you type in your business, example.com, and of course it’s not available! You have three choices: 1) buy the .com you want, which I can help with, 2) change the business name or 3) register your business with another TLD (i.e. not a .com, .net, .us etc). You might end up with availabilities like example.rocks, or example.live, or example.miami, and so on. What should you do?
First, understand that having a .com can be very important, but how important depends on the expanse of your consumer base and who they are. If you are appealing to a broad consumer base, like Amazon or Zappos does, then you want a .com because there are still many people that are not aware of domain extensions other than .com, .net, or .org. And even if they are aware it does not mean they would consider a site under another domain extension to be legit. If you provide a service then having a .com, make it a premium one too, establishes you as the authority in your vertical. .com is a comfort zone, and having a domain that is not a .com is risky. But if you are bold enough or you really don’t want a long domain or don’t feel like you have another choice, here’s what you can do to help build your business off an alternate domain extension.
Here’s A Scenario
Let’s say I am creating my own line of flavored coffee, I call it Markiatto Coffee. I look for my domain and I find MarkiattoCoffee.com is not available and Markiatto.Coffee is available, so I register Markiatto.Coffee. Now what am I going to do to make this domain work? I am going to have to rely heavily on my branding and marketing to make sure that my traffic is not going to the .com version and that my business is recognized properly.
My Two Main Ingredients To Make This Work
dot Branding – My original name was Markiatto Coffee, but now I registered Markiatto.Coffee I want to make the brand entirely named Markiatto.Coffee. I am not going to call my business or product Markiatto Coffee anymore, I am going to always and only call it Markiatto.Coffee. My brand is not split between two names, my name and my brand centers around that [dot]Coffee. My Twitter handle, Facebook name, all my social media handles will be markiattodotcoffee; and anybody else who comes behind me and tries to market under markiattocoffee is asking for legal trouble.
Consistent Marketing – Once I’ve come to terms with the fact that my brand is heavily vested in this [dot]coffee, I need to communicate this brand all the time. Every time my domain has a chance to be seen I would place www. in front of the domain. This way it’s not mistaken that www.markiatto.coffee is the address and nothing else needs to be typed in the address bar. My logo would include a visual [dot] coffee in the graphic. My advertising would always include the whole brand name not just Markiatto. Any blog post would refer to the brand as Markiatto.Coffee and not in any other way, i.e. splitting the words or omitting the dot. The same thing with any graphic (shirts, car graphics, packaging, etc), it would all say markiatto.coffee.
Now if I had the chance to purchase the .com version of my brand, I would redirect markiattocoffee.com to markiatto.coffee. This could be a preference for a shorter domain but if I’ve already branded under the [dot]coffee, then I would keep it going.
Of course, the above scenario is figurative but it is so you can have some guidance on what to do with an alternate domain extension. Like I said, doing things this way is a risk, and a .com might be a better option in some cases, but those of you who are using an alternate TLD, I hope this helps.