Deciding which domain name extension is best for your business may seem a little trivial but as the age-old saying goes, first impressions matter.
The short sequence of letters that extends on from your domain name will help to inform a potential customers first impression of your website and your business. In order to make the kind of first impression that leaves customers wanting more, you’ll want to choose an extension suitable for your brand.
So, domain name extensions aren’t trivial but what exactly are they?
Firstly, I think it’s important to clarify what is meant by a domain name. Essentially, it refers to the name of your website.
‘Globalgraphicswebdesign’ (the domain name), is partnered with ‘.com’ (the domain name extension) to form “www.globalgraphicswebdesign.com” (the company’s web address).
Sometimes domain names are referred to as a second level domain (SLD) whilst domain name extensions are interchangeably referred to as top-level domains (TLD).
(Complicated I know, but clever people can never seem to just stick with one name for clever things)
Domain name extensions were initially intended to specify which brand/category a website fell into. Although, this categorization has now slightly loosened with certain extensions being used for purposes beyond their original purpose, this initial purpose still mostly holds true.
Right, now that we’re on the same page, let’s turn to something that you probably have heard of before; “.com”; “.net”; “.co”; “.org”. These are all called generic domain name extensions and are often the most common.
These three letters have become synonymous with that of the World Wide Web, and for good reason (52% of all websites use .com as their extension!). It stands for commercial business and was originally intended to be used by for-profit commercial businesses. However, the “.com” extension has grown to become the primary choice for all websites and domains.
This extension provides your online presence with a sense of trust and authority over other extension names that are less commonly used. So from what you’ve heard so far, it’s hard to vote against a “.com” extension.
But, this authoritative and trustworthy extension will cost you a pretty penny and they’re very hard to get your hands on.
If an opportunity presents itself for you to ascertain a “.com” extension I would recommend grabbing that opportunity with both hands, but if you find your pockets aren’t deep enough to justify forking out for this extension there are plenty of other options.
Originally, the “.net” extension was used for network or internet service providers, due to it’s obvious familiarity with the words ‘internet’ and ‘network’. However, it has lent itself to become a solid domain name extension and a viable alternative to the “.com” extension. As the slightly less popular alternative it is often a more reasonably priced domain extension than that of its older brother “.com”.
That being said , the extensions strong association with that of tech and web-based services has continued, making it a highly popular extension for websites situated within the technology sector.
This is another extension that can be used by all websites. It stands for organization and was originally intended for websites of charities or not-for-profit organisations.
It is an extension typically used by non-governmental, community, charity or political type organisations. Consequently, if your website is best described by the previous sentence, it is likely that the “.org” extension is for you. However, if your website does not fit the previous description it is likely best to avoid a “.org” extension due to its heavy associations with charity/knowledge/community.
As a result of its smaller popularity compared to the “.com” extension you are much more likely to be able to acquire a “.org” extension and for a cheaper more affordable price.
Originally used as a country code for Colombian domains, the extension “.co” is now widely regarded as the cooler/trendier younger brother of the “.com” extension. “.co” forms the well known acronym for company, corporation or commercial but it is seen to be newer, shorter and more modern than that of its “.com” counterpart.
As such modern, niche and original start-up companies tend to utilize the “.co” extension to appeal to younger generations.
It is often in lower demand compared to its more traditional “.com” counterpart, enabling you to acquire it a lower price. It also enables you with an element of flexibility should you wish to change your domain name in the future.
However, internet users and customers can often accidentally add an additional letter to the “.co” extension, instead confusing it for “.com” accidentally leading them to an alternative website.
The “.co” extension may also be used as part of the domain name when used in conjunction with a country code extension, such as “.co.uk”.
Domain name extensions may also specify the location of your domain with a country code, such as ‘.ca’ for a Canadian based domain or ‘.uk’ for a domain based in the United Kingdom. They are used to indicate the origins of the brand as well as the language of the website.
Country codes limit the efficacy of websites on a global scale, therefore, they should only be used if you want your website to work within the region of your local country.
Generic domain name extensions are often useful enough for most websites but there are over a 1,500 domain name extensions (data.iana.org). Other popular extensions include:
.gov – a form of sponsored domain extension, restricted to official government use
.edu – another form of sponsored domain extension, used by educational institutions
.info – used by websites of an informative nature
.biz – an affordable alternative to the “.com” extension for businesses
.me – used for blogs or websites of a non-commercial nature
So now you know all about domain name extensions and the different forms that they come in. Now you know what they are and what they are used for here are 3 important things to consider when choosing your domain name extension: