Choosing a domain extension can be confusing and may seem as though it doesn’t matter as to which extension your website has. There are a vast amount of domain extensions on the internet, most people will be familiar with the Top-level domain (TLD) extensions, such as .com. Find out about the different extensions and how to choose the perfect domain extension for your website.
What is a domain extension?
A domain extension is the suffix at the end of a web address that specifies an internet category and/or the country code of the location the domain is from. For example if we take the web address ‘brightdesign.co.uk’, we can see that the domain extension that it holds shows that the website is commercial (.co) and a part of the UK (.uk – country code).
The most common domain extensions
.com (commercial business)
This is by far the most commonly used domain extension, 52% of all websites use .com as their extension. It was originally designated to be used by for-profit businesses but is now the first choice for everyone and all domains. With .com being the most common extension, it carries trust among people, giving it a slight authority boost over other lesser used or uncommon extensions.
It would be hard to decide against choosing to use .com as your extension, but with the popularity and authority that comes with the domain extension, it allows domains with the extension .com to be sold for extremely high prices.
If you have the opportunity to be able to own a .com extension, you should get it. However, if you cannot justify paying the high premium for the extension, there are multiple viable options available.
Much like the extension .com, .net is used by all. The extension was originally used for internet service providers or networks but is now a strong alternative to .com. there is a high association of .net with technology and web-based services, due to this, it would mean that the .net extension would be best suited for websites that are within the technology sector.
With the extension being shadowed by the .com extension it gives a greater chance that a desired technology related domain is available and at a more reasonable price opposed to the .com alternative.
Again, this extension is and can be used by all. This extension was originally used for not-for-profit organisations such as charities. It is often a popular choice of extension for many non-governmental, not-for-profit, political party or online community type of organisations which are best suited with the .org extension.
The .org extension is less popular opposed to the vastly favoured .com extension which would mean you have a greater chance in acquiring your chosen domain with this extension. But this extension doesn’t work well with all business types. For instance, the .org extension is so heavily associated with community and knowledgeable websites, that trying to run an eCommerce website with the .org extension would lead to misdirection and confusion of visitors.
The .co extension is originally the use for the country code for Columbia but has become a popular use for other businesses. The .co extension is a familiar acronym for company, corporation or commercial.
The use of the .co domain extension can be very suited to start-up companies that are seen to be original or unique. This is because .co is a new and shorter extension and seemingly more in line with the younger generations.
The .co extension is also often used in Second-Level Domain when associated with a TLD country code (.co.uk).
.co as an extension is less sought after than the vastly used .com, this would give you more flexibility in choices for your domain name if you are not yet fully settled on a name, while also offering a smaller price tag. But the .co extension can often be misused with consumers force of habit placing an M after it possibly leading your consumers to a different website.
Country Codes (.uk/.us)
These are classed as Local TLDs, which are geographically specific to the location of where the website is from. This is useful to explain the origins and language of which the website is in. The domain extensions are usually initials that arise from the native name of the country, in the countries language (e.g. .de for Deutschland, German translation of Germany).
With country codes, many are only accessible and can only be used by consumers in the country of origin of the website due to restrictions that may be in place. This would mean that an international eCommerce website would not be able to efficiently run on a singular Country Code, whereas if the website was to use the .com extension it would be able to be used globally as there is no country restriction to the domain extension.
Choosing a country code opposed to a .com extension would be best suited to a smaller website looking to work only within the regions of the country that it is in.
Other domain extensions
The most common domain extensions are very good and useful to many, but they aren’t your only option when it comes to choosing a domain extension. There are actually over 1,500 different TLDs available to use. Here are some other common domain extension options;
• .gov (government) – Restricted to official use for government entities
• .edu (education) – Not open for public registration but is used by educational institutions.
• .info (information) – Best use for information or database types of websites.
• .biz (business) – Alternative to .com for businesses.
• .me (personal) – Often used for blogs or websites that have no commercial intent.
These are just some of the wider used and more recognisable domain extensions which hold various purposes and reasons for use.
Factors to consider when choosing a domain extension
The purpose and niche of your website
This is the most important factor that you will have to take into consideration. This will help with being industry specific with some domain extensions as well as location specific with others.
Don’t forget Local TLDs
Consider targeting the specific geographical area that you are in. Having a geo-specific domain extension will help rank for specific countries where people may be more inclined to choose a local link opposed to an overseas or international link.
Some domain extensions have a much lower price tag opposed to others, but choosing solely based on price can be a mistake. Some of the cheaper domain extensions are associated with scammers or spammers, or less credible sources. Understanding the different and key domain extensions helps.
Lesser used TLDs do not affect rankings or SEO
Many people speculate that lesser used TLDs have less power than a .com domain extension but this is not true according to Google’s Matt Cutt. Matt Cutt’s explanation of how google will treat new TLDs says that Google will continue to rank the most relevant search results regardless of the domain extension. Therefore SEO on a website using any TLD will be equally effective.
Your domain extension is one of the most important choices you will make in regard to the future of your website. By considering the information above you should be able to make a well-informed decision on which type or types of extension your website can use, but more importantly, know which domain extension is perfect for your website and matches your business needs.
How can we help?
If you have any further questions related to domain extensions, web-design or web-development get in touch with our team of experts. We know that when it comes to planning and creating the perfect website for your business it should never be a one-size-fits-all approach which is why all of our websites are bespoke and designed to meet the needs of your business and your customers.