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What are .blog Domains?

What is a top-level domain?

A top-level domain is essentially the part of a domain name which appears directly to the right of the final “dot” in your domain name. Originally, there were six: .com, .org, .net, .edu, .gov, .mil.

But as the Internet has grown, so has the number of top-level domains. In the early 2000s, new TLDs started springing up after ICANN, the international body who oversees domains, started opening up the system.

In 2012, ICANN announced a new type of TLD: generic top-level domains (gTLD). domainerelite Through an auction process, companies can purchase generic extensions like .store, .host, and…you guessed it, .blog.

Who Controls .blog domains?
In 2015, the rights to control .blog domains were auctioned off to a mysterious Panamanian buyer for the princely sum of ~$19 million, an amount about roughly three times as much as any other gTLD auction (at that time).

A year later in 2016, it was revealed that this mysterious buyer was none other than WordPress’ own Automattic (in partnership with another company).

By purchasing the rights to .blog, Automattic secured the authority to sell and oversee .blog domains. After giving trademark owners first-purchase rights and opening up domains to early (paid) applications, Automattic officially started selling .blog domains publicly on November 21st, 2016.

Reasons to Consider .blog Domains
When choosing whether to buy a .blog domain for a new or existing site, you should weigh the pros vs the cons. I’ll discuss the positives first and then get into some potential negatives in the next section.

It’s an Open Frontier – Huge Array of Domains Available
blog-domains-2

With over 120 million .com domains registered, it’s tough to find a quality .com domain that’s still available. Unless you’re willing to buy “extemporizes.com” or something similarly awkward, it’s nearly impossible to find an available single-word .com domain name. Most premium two-word combinations are also taken these days.

Not the case with .blog. Because .blog is brand new, you can still find many premium single-word domains. For example, at the time of writing this article, it’s still possible to register “weightloss.blog” and “blogging.blog”.

It’s important to note that Automattic is charging premium prices for some of these attractive single-word domains. But if you’re willing to be a little flexible, you can still find a great single-word domain without breaking the bank.

.blog Is Highly Brandable
If you’re running a blog, .blog domains obviously open up a ton of cool branding opportunities. Instead of something like “weightlossblog.com”, you can now just be “weightloss.blog”. The basic branding is the same, but your domain is shorter and catchier.

Some sites have long taken advantage of this with other TLDs. For example, Genius uses “geni.us” and Anchor Hosting went from “anchorhost.com” to the simpler “anchor.host”.

There’s No SEO Penalty for Choosing .blog Domains
A major worry when discussing new top-level domain extensions is whether using them will affect SEO rankings. Well, assuming Google is being honest, they claim that’s not the case at all.

According to Google, Google’s “systems treat new gTLDs like other gTLDs (like .com & .org)”. You’re not at any SEO disadvantage when choosing a .blog over a .com.

There is one caveat, though. Keywords in your TLD don’t affect your rankings. So if you did choose something like “weightloss.blog”, Google would not view that as an exact match for someone searching “weightloss blog”.

But given that Google has greatly decreased the importance of exact match keyword domains, this isn’t an issue like it would have been ten years ago.

Automattic Is Going to Be Pushing .blog
Though it’s a new TLD, .blog has a major advantage: it’s being pushed by one of the biggest names in blogging. Though it’s too early to tell, this backing will, hopefully, prevent .blog from becoming “just another TLD.”

If Automattic can push .blog into the mainstream, it will be much easier for your potential visitors to remember your domain name.

Reasons Not to Buy a .blog Domain
Though the new possibilities coming from .blog domains are certainly exciting, there are some reasons you may want to consider going with something traditional.

.com is Still the King
Though the magnitude has certainly decreased, it’s still common for regular users to associate websites exclusively with .com. If you don’t believe me, just ask your old Uncle the next time you see him!

Rand Fishkin also discussed something called cognitive fluency in one of his Whiteboard Friday talks. Essentially, you want to choose the name that’s easiest for your users to remember. In most cases, that’s still a .com.

If you have the option to get a good .com versus a slightly better .blog, you should probably stick with .com. If it’s a good .com versus a great .blog, then you might want to go with .blog.

.blog is a Brand New TLD
Some of .blogs greatest strengths are a consequence of this one weakness. Because it is brand new, average users might not even know that .blog exists. This could cause them to either:

Forget your website
Worry about the authenticity of your website
Automattic is aiming to register 250,000 .blog domains in the first year. If they’re successful, .blog might well enter the public consciousness. BUT, that’s a pretty big if. We will have to wait and see if they can meet their goal.

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