Why A TLD Can Make Or Break A New Website

28th January, 2019 by

Launching a new website is an exciting experience. However, it can also be doomed to failure before it even goes live if wrong decisions are made. Companies tend to invest considerable efforts in search engine optimisation and mobile-oriented design. Although, it’s easy to overlook the importance of choosing a suitable top level domain. Make the wrong choice, and a site is unlikely to be taken seriously by search engines – or by the general public.

A top-level domain does more than simply complete a web address. It contains a surprising amount of information about a business, its industry, its location, and even the attitude of its owners. Imagine seeing johnsmithandpartners.co.uk listed beside johnsmithandpartners.buzz in search results. Which brand would you perceive to be more professional and trustworthy?

Ending a website address with co.uk has long been the default choice for domestic companies, and every nation has a country code top-level domain. However, there are over a thousand generic TLDs on the market as well. ICANN, the body responsible for domain names has been gradually introducing gTLDs. Each suffix is owned and managed by a domain registry, who have acquired the rights to TLDs they believe will appeal to certain industries or niches.

However, success is never guaranteed. Some domains flourish while others wither. Worryingly, a few have become heavily associated with ‘bad’ websites, such as malicious domains designed to infect visiting browsers with malware or unwanted advertising.

Domain offenders

These are some of the most notorious TLDs in the marketplace:

.su.

Allocated to the Soviet Union by ICANN in 1990, .su became obsolete when the USSR collapsed a year later. Because .su domains are largely unregulated now, they’re very popular with cybercriminals, especially after Russia’s recent crackdown on misuse of.ru domains.

.gq.

Spam monitoring agency Spamhaus believes 90 per cent of .gq domains have a malicious purpose, making this a truly disreputable TLD. That’s despite .gq’s legitimate origins as the country code TLD for Equatorial Guinea.

.sucks.

Many companies attempted to buy their brand’s .sucks domain to stop irate customers registering them. Often nafarious individuals purchase the domains and charge far more than going rates. Even if you bear a grudge against a firm, it’s best to avoid this domain.

.country.

Research by antivirus brand Symantec revealed last year that 99.95 per cent of .country websites were dubious in some way. Examples include sites which automatically download spyware, create popup infestations, or redirect visitors to other dodgy sites.

Unsurprisingly, Google and Bing recognise the unwholesome nature of many websites bearing these suffixes. If you launch a new site using one of these domains, it will be marked down in search results. Even if you create a great site, it will suffer. A low SEO ranking generally results in disappointing visitor figures. Low traffic further hinder SEO scores in a vicious cycle that’s hard to break.

As a result, we couldn’t recommend choosing a dubious domain. In fact, also because of this, UK2.NET has decided not to resell potentially damaging or controversial domain names to our customers. When you search for available domains on our website, we’ll only show you TLDs we believe are respectable and worth purchasing. You’ll still have hundreds of domain suffixes to choose from. Each one should give your new website the best possible chance of success…

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