Aaron Grauer

The URL extension revolution is upon us, even if it is happening somewhat slowly.

You have a business or a nonprofit. You have an idea or a mission and now you want the web property to tie it altogether in a nice little bow, except there’s one little problem: “Are the .com and .org extensions available for our website URL?”

This is a question frequently asked by clients across the globe—so don’t worry, you’re not alone. And sure, .com and .org extensions are great, they’re the Alpha and the Omega of web extensions, the “who’s who” of web extensions. But there’s a lot of untapped magic—particularly as it relates to thinking outside of those two web domain dominators—that can happen if you’re open-minded to idea of being different in an internet landscape that continues to look increasingly homogeneous.

There are tons of custom domain extensions to choose from these days. Are you a restaurant? Maybe consider .bar, .cafe, or .catering. Are you an artist? Think about using .art, .studio, or .design. If you’re a nonprofit you might consider using .foundation. These give you a way to set yourself apart from the rest of the web and help tell the world who you are and what you do.

These eye-catching extensions can also serve as a handy alternative if the .com or .org you want is already taken (or being squatted on)—which it probably already is. At a minimum, if you decide to go the traditional .com or .org route, look to the future, and consider also locking down a couple of the newer domain extensions that fit your organization or business to prevent other organizations from stepping on your virtual toes down the road.

These new domain extensions offer businesses and organizations endless new namespaces to make an otherwise ordinary URL clever and memorable and all the while, theoretically, offering a built-in organizational structure for the web.

Having the traditional .com or .org isn’t as imperative as it used to be because more and more we’re getting our site referrals from aggregated, trusted sources (like Digg, Facebook or Reddit), and the domain name itself doesn’t necessarily come into play.

At the same time, particular, strategically-chosen unique domain names will actually help people remember you. But how will the SEO Gods look upon your newfangled URL extension? Welp, how about we hear from the mouths of babes, err, Google, in this instance? “New domain name 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.”

Remember though, findability is about way more than just your domain name. You obviously still need to use a full SEO/SEM strategy (which Firespring can help with) that includes website content (we do that too), page relevance and optimization.

Some examples of early adopters include Lady Gaga’s nonprofit organization at bornthisway.foundation, Dropbox’s new design language announcement at dropbox.design (simple, yet effective) and of course some promotion for a beloved and timeless cinematic masterpiece, The Hunger Games at thehungergames.movie.

I told you the revolution is coming, albeit slowly, and Katniss Everdeen might not be leading the charge on this one, but web developers like myself are.

Let’s boil today’s lesson down in four tidy bullet points of why using unique URL extensions is beneficial:

  1. Unique URL extensions better organize and invigorate the internet namespace with more creative naming.
  2. Shorter or unique domain names make it easier for people to remember, type out or name drop your site into conversations.
  3. An industry or location-specific domain name has a better ring to it than just another plain old .com.
  4. Embracing the newest advancements establishes your business/organization as one that’s knowledgeable and modern.

Now, go forth and make the internet as amazing and unique as you are and start by being brazen enough to become an early adopter of a unique domain name.

¡Viva la revolución de internet!