In the past, .io domains were primarily used for websites from the British Indian Ocean Territory. But in recent years, it has become increasingly popular and is now used by many startups and tech companies.

But why? What fuels the growing popularity of .io domain names?

In this article, we discuss the advantages of .io domain names and why they are becoming an increasingly popular alternative to commonly used top-level domains.

1. There are still many .io domains available.
Today, most .com domains are already taken. In fact, .com domains account for almost half of all domains – meaning that there’s a good chance that the domain you want is already taken. Or, you might have to pay a high price to purchase the domain you want from its current owner. However, even if your ideal .com domain is already registered, it doesn’t mean that you have to change your company name or make up a whole new domain. One alternative is to use the .io domain. While the .io domain has been around for years as well, it has only become popular in recent years. This means that you may still be able to get the domain name that you actually want!

2. It is widely recognized by search engines. 
Many country code top-level domains are treated as territory-specific by search engines like Google, which can negatively affect your SEO efforts. However, Google recognizes .io as a generic top-level domain. This means that you will get the same treatment as other widely used, global domains with the benefit of a more up-to-date extension. 

3. It allows you to create a more creative domain name. 
Many businesses that have other TLD websites still choose to register .io domains to use as ‘hacks’, or creative ways to shorten their URLs. A popular example of a creative .io domain is Marcio Rubio’s use of the domain Rub.io during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign. Furthermore, since the ending starts with a vowel, it can be pronounced as part of your company name and enables you to create a more creative domain. You can use words ending in ‘io’ and turn them into unique, creative domains such as Portfol.io, Cheer.io, Pistach.io, and more! 

4. It is recognized and embraced by startup and tech companies. 

Today’s marketplace is crowded – new companies are being established every day. To succeed, business owners need to fit in and stand out at the same time. A .io domain is generally recognized and embraced by startup and tech companies. So, if you identify your business as part of the tech scene, having a .io domain can be a great way to fit in to this industry. Also, since many .io domains are still available, you can still choose a memorable domain that can help you stand out from your competitors as well.

5. It makes your URL shorter and more efficient.

While still highly popular, the .com domain is old and traditional. Some may even find it plain and boring. And for businesses looking to stand out in today’s trendy modern market, that just won’t do. Enter the .io domain. Not only is it shorter compared to other domain name extensions, it is also easier to remember and more ‘modern’. Plus, it can be incorporated as part of your company name, so you can make your domain shorter too (refer to item #3 for creative examples). And remember – shorter domain names are always more ideal.

The Bottom Line

When you are starting a new business, you need to do whatever you can to set yourself apart from your competitors. And a big part of your identity and branding is getting a good domain name. If you are joining the startup and tech space, a .io domain is a great digital place to start.