We are often asked “Why does your Element 6 URL end in .io, and is that a new thing?” It is always such a great question and one that we can’t wait to answer! Let’s get started with the basics and learn why .io is an industry trend worthy of attention.
Background basics & TLDs
First, let’s learn what a TLD is. TLD refers to top-level domain. These are the letters of a website’s domain name (or URL) that follow directly after the ‘dot’. For example, we’re all familiar with .com, .org, .net, .co, etc. Most of these are categorized as global TLDs (gTLD), meaning they can be found anywhere in the world without having a geographic limitation. There are also country or geographic-specific TLDs, such as .ca, .au, .fr and so on. These are called ccTLDs, for country-code top-level domain. These ccTLDs are treated by Google and other search engines as ‘territory-specific’ which naturally limits reach and visibility, and therefore SEO. So where does .io fit in? Originally, .io represented the British Indian Ocean territory,so it would have been classified as a ccTLD. However, Google considers .io a global TLD, which means it doesn’t fall into any geographic search limitations. It’s wide open to the world! Let’s find out how this came about.
The other .io
Within the tech industry, .io was adopted as an acknowledgement of input/output (I/O) – referring to either the information being passed in or out of a computer, or the devices, programs or software that control the movement of the information. A general understanding in the tech realm is that computers and computational systems are based on the fundamental premise that every input results in an output. What gets entered in, must come out in some form or another. As a result, I/O transitioned cleverly into .io, to the delight of tech enthusiasts everywhere. Knowing that .io websites get the same treatment or visibility as other global TLDs, with the added bonus of a more unique extension, is why .io is becoming a global trend in the tech start-up realm.
Top 5 reasons why .io works
Why did Element 6 choose .io for our web design and development start-up domain? Here are the top 4 reasons:
The use of .io as part of a domain name gives it a tech-focused status and a true sense of community. What does it tell people when they see .io? It is a clear statement that you are a proud member of the tech industry as either an established company or a sassy start-up/founder.
2. Easy to use
Having a shorter, simpler domain name and email is always a bonus, particularly when thinking of the ever-increasing mobile user for whom every character counts. Having to type in .io makes it that much simpler and more memorable.
While .com may be the most popular of the domain extensions, it just doesn’t have the same flair or originality as .io. In the tech start up world, we developers like to think of ourselves as a forward thinking, counter-culture movement; we aren’t a formal, corporate officialdom, and we’re proud of that. Plus, having .io means fast, easy branding that is embedded right in the domain name. It’s marketing perfection!
As they are relatively new, .io extensions have more availability when registering a new domain. With more than 40 million domains in the world, the odds of a start-up finding a .com they want are limited - to say the least. Using .io, you may get your first choice of domain, with the added perk of a lower price (at least for now).
5. Brand, brand, brand
For the Element 6 team, .io is meaningful for us on a more personal brand level. It works right into the DNA of our agency. We input maximum effort and get maximum results. The use of ‘IO’ keeps us focused and humble; we talk about the things that matter to our clients and we listen before leading. The use of .io is not just about a domain name extension, it’s an extension of us at our core.
Using .io for a web development or other tech start-up demonstrates a commitmentto the web community; we are not afraid to go out on a limb and try something new. It’s unique, edgy, community-focused, on brand and user-friendly, which is exactly what our clients expect from us on the daily.