The Definitive Guide to Selecting the Right Domain Name Extensions for Your Company’s Website
So, you’ve set up a thriving business and you also want to have a strong online presence. Or your company has finally decided to join the vibrant digital community and you’ve been assigned the task to liaise with the web development company on a suitable domain name and name extension. What do you do?
It’s been an exciting and relatively plain sailing experience so far but now that you have a dilemma staring at you, which name extension should you use for a company’s website? .com, .net, .org, .info or perhaps one of the less known extensions like .pro or .tv?
To go straight to the point, the answer basically depends on your business niche and online vision. However, as much as possible, it’s always best to stick to a .com extension.
We’ll tell you why. But first, a little background on name extensions and how .com came to be the standard and most widely accepted name extension.
.COM name extension, history and why you should stick with it
As already stated, you should pick .com for your company’s website name extension before any other considerations. And as also hinted earlier, the reason is because .com has become the industry’s standards for domain names.
But that has a lot to do with the history of domain name extensions.
Before now, way before you were assigned the task of coming up with the ‘perfect’ URL for your company, whenever you hear anyone calling out their company’s website, it begins with a www…and your expectation for the remainder is?
Exactly! They’ll give a short, creative name that communicates their business name and then end with a .com, right? It comes a bit surprising and weird if it’s any other name extension, besides .com, isn’t that so?
You see, you think it’s natural. So do a lot of others when you want to tell them your company’s domain name extension.
That reason aside, .com also ranks as the best name extension choice because at the start of name extension history (precisely in 1985), .com was created to represent commercial usage; and businesses naturally embraced the domain name extension.
In the long run, it gave businesses on the web, a kind of presence, a feel of familiarity and credibility. Thus, .com established a reputation that ranks it higher than the other name extensions.
This large presence of .com domains helped to establish its reputation forever on the Internet. In fact, 52% of all websites have a .com name extension.
So .com is your most ideal choice except if your organization belongs to other niches, such as a government website (in which case, .gov is the advised), or a non-profit (in which case .org is the best fit) or an educational institution (in which case, .edu establishes your online authority better).
…But what if .COM name is unavailable with the business name you prefer for your URL?
If you come across this roadblock, don’t despair. It’s a common hurdle most domain name registrants encounter and must learn to scale, creatively.
First, there are a few choices you could explore, such as adding a hyphen or an underscore somewhere to make it different from the already taken name with a .com extension.
But be careful and limit their use so as to avoid your website from eventually looking like a spam page or coming off as unprofessional.
Besides, this option has some inherent risks. For example, people could easily forget to add the hyphen or underscore when typing in your web address in the web bar; and then see an error page or be directed to a wrong address. That could potentially cause you to lose serious web traffic to your page.
You may also decide to ditch the idea of adding a hyphen or underscore somewhere, and instead, tweak the brand name a little. For example, you may choose to use JSrealites.com to replace the unavailable JohnSavageRealties.com.
Not available, too?
Then dig deeper into your well of creativity, while still being short, concise, and memorable, and retaining your brand’s keywords.
Try JohnSavageRealtors.com. How about JS Realtors.com? Or theJSRealtors.com? Or JohnSavageAgency.com? Perhaps JSAgency.com?
All taken still? Don’t be alarmed or discouraged. Actually, if your company has a really unique or eye-catching English brand name, you’d be lucky to have it available with a .com extension without a few creative tweaks here and there.
It’s extremely in high demand that way.
Besides, your unique brand name or keywords could get lost in the process, and cost you some brand value or organic web traffic when you eventually go live with your website’s address.
At this point, you should consider some equally fantastic domain name extensions that would work well with your company’s website and guarantee you high SEO ranking in the process.
Other great options to consider besides a .COM name extension
This is a good option especially if your company belongs in the tech industry. But it is also widely accepted for businesses of all types and it is the second most popular extension after .com.
.biz name extension is actually reserved for businesses and therefore, it is a good alternative to .com. But overtime, this name extension has developed a reputation problem as it appeared to be a favourite for most spam sites.
.org is another popular name extension. But it has come to be associated with non-profits and so, it is not a good fit for business or commercial enterprises.
Specialty And Location-Based Domain Extensions
The downside is that if your company has already built a huge reputation with an easily recognizable brand name and your customer and business associates are well familiar with the name extension, you could be lost in the crowd.
There are actually over 300 available name extensions, including ones that are most ideal for personal or professional uses, but the aforementioned are most relevant to companies or commercial enterprises.
The bottom line…
When prospecting for the perfect domain name and domain name extension for your website, and taking along all the points discussed, you should also be conscious of copyright issues or make sure you’re not violating any of Google’s regulations, so as to avoid harsh penalties.
Also, once you’ve settled on an accepted name and domain extension for your company’s website, test run its target audience acceptability rate with a quick survey. Ask them what they think of your new URL, and watch their spontaneous reaction (both verbal and non-verbal).