Most Recommended Domain Extensions to Use for Your Business
A website is now an integral component of business growth. The majority of consumers rely on digital channels to research products or services, compare prices, and make purchases. A global survey shows that 59% of shoppers research online before buying a product, and 74% search online for store information such as location, hours, and contact details.
This means that you must have and maintain a business website regardless of your business size and industry. One of the main considerations in getting a website is the domain name that will communicate your brand and help you stand out from the competition. A carefully considered domain extension will help easily distinguish your niche and attract consumers.
What is a Domain Extension?
A domain extension is the last part of your web address. It is a combination of characters appended to your domain name and preceded by a period. It is used to specify a website's Internet category or country code and can be used to highlight different part of what your brand can offer.
During the initial implementation of the Domain Name System, only a handful of extensions were available for use. These included .com, .org, .net, .edu, .mil, .gov., and .int. There were called top-level domains and made a clear distinction of the first few websites launched during that time. Today, thousands of options can further customize your website and align it with your brand name.
Choosing the right domain extension for your business can help establish your brand identity, increase brand awareness, and accelerate growth. But with dozens of available extensions to choose from, it can be pretty daunting to select the one best suited not just to your business but also to the kind of audience you intend to reach.
Here, we give you a rundown of the most popular domain extensions used for business websites and considerations to make to help you decide which one is the most appropriate for you.
Most Popular Domain Extensions for Business
Today's most widely used extension, .com, is an acronym for commercial and was initially intended for commercial entities. When it was offered for public use, it became a popular choice for all types of businesses and even for personal websites.
Being the most recognizable domain extension, it commands trust and boosts site authority. It's also easy to recall and adds an air of familiarity to your URL.
However, it does have its drawbacks too. One, this extension draws a high premium, meaning it is priced higher than other domains. Another disadvantage is that you may not use it if you have a reasonably common brand name. Unless you have a truly unique business name or are willing to use a variation of it, the chances are high that a .com domain for your business is already taken.
Like .com, .net was also one of the first domain extensions used on the Internet. Derived from network, it was initially intended for use by Internet service providers, infrastructure companies, data centers, and other entities engaged in network technologies. Today, it is considered a general-purpose extension and has no restrictions for use.
Among the most popular extensions today, a .net can also boost your credibility and make your web address easily recognizable. It can help establish your online presence regardless of your niche. However, remember that it is and will most likely always be associated with the word network. This means it might be more appropriate for businesses involved in some form of networking, whether technology-related or about social networking.
While it is the country code top level domain (ccTLD) assigned to Colombia, there are no restrictions to using .co. It can be used by any entity regardless of domicile or citizenship. Associated with the words company and corporation, it has become a favorite alternative to .com.
.co domains appeal to the younger generation and are popular among startups. It has an edgy vibe to it and can resonate well with innovative people. It's also recognizable and memorable, therefore helping businesses establish an online presence too.
One significant downside, though, is that consumers tend to automatically crucial in .com. When this happens, your potential customers can end up at the wrong website.
.me was delegated to the Government of Montenegro as its ccTLD. However, in 2008 it was made available to the public without domicile or geographical restrictions. Today, it has over one million registrations and is popular for personal and portfolio websites.
This domain extension is an excellent choice if you are a professional in the field of creatives. A .me domain name invites potential clients to know more about you and discover what you have to offer. Use it for a website that showcases your portfolio as a photographer, graphic designer, writer, or visual artist.
Due to the high demand for .com domain names, .biz was created as an alternative for businesses whose preferred domain names were already taken. While it has no legal or domicile requirements, .biz is restricted for use by bona fide commercial entities.
Having a .biz extension instantly tells users that you are a business offering products or services. This can help attract more potential customers to your site, and more easily communicate that you have something to offer.
If your business is engaged in television or broadcast media, a .tv would be a good choice for you. While it is officially delegated as the ccTLD for the Government of Tuvalu, .tv is more widely used in tv-related websites across the world.
There are no registration restrictions for this domain extension so you can use it for commercial use. If you produce video content and broadcast them online, you may want to get a .tv domain to gain a larger audience looking for video content.
Using Country Code TLDS
Like .co, .me., and .tv, other ccTLDs can be used for business websites. However, some domains have legal and geographical restrictions. For instance, .us. ca, and .br domains can only be registered by citizens or business entities based in the United States, Canada, and Brazil, respectively.
Still, using these geo-specific domain extensions is a good option for businesses targeting local markets. Many consumers would prefer transacting with local websites over international ones. They view local websites as more reputable, trustworthy, and accessible. This makes ccTLDs all the more worth considering if you want your website to get more traffic from specific countries.
Which Domain Extension Should You Use?
Your domain extension must match your business type and objectives. In choosing which one to use, determine the purpose of your website, your business niche, and your target audience. Then, you can narrow down your choices and decide whether to use an industry-specific or location-specific extension.
Domain extensions can affect your customers' perceptions of your business. This means you shouldn't just focus on how easy it is to remember or type. Make sure it pairs well with your domain name and reflects who you are as a brand.
When to Register a Domain
Register your domain right away once you have chosen the extension that would work best for your business. Thousands of domains are registered every single day, significantly raising the risk of you losing your preferred domain name to a competitor if you don't register it immediately.
You do not need to have an official website first before you register a domain name. You can set up a temporary one announcing that you'll be launching soon or park your domain name with your registrar. What's important is that you take the proactive approach and register your domain before your competitor beats you to it. You can do this right after processing your business registration or before launching your business.
How to Register a Domain
Domain names are registered through domain registrars accredited with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). They can be registered for one year or multiple years. At the end of the validity period, you must renew your registration or else risk losing the rights to your domain name. This can be especially troublesome if you already have an existing website established on your business's collaterals but lose the rights to its domain name.
The registration process varies per registrar but includes checking whether your preferred domain name and extension is available, registering your domain name after payment, and verifying ownership.
Most web hosting providers include domain registration in their subscription packages. This makes it easy for new businesses to set up their websites. However, you can also purchase a domain name without the web hosting services.
If you are starting a business in a country with strict trademark laws, make sure to check your preferred domain name for trademark infringement before registering it. If this seems too daunting for you, get your domain registered through Nominus.
Nominus handles domain and trademark registrations for businesses in almost all parts of the world. With over 200ccTLDs and 850gTLDS to choose from, you can find the best domain and process its registration in whatever country your business is based. Aside from domain registration, they can manage your domain zones, email forwarding, and web redirection.
Domains Extend Your Business to the Future
The success of your business website will be greatly impacted by the domain name and extension you use. Practice due diligence before you make a decision. Gain a better understanding of what different domain extensions imply and how consumers perceive them. Most importantly, choose a reliable domain registrar that can guide you through the processes involved and safeguard your rights as a business website owner.
When launching websites, business owners typically focus on web design and a domain name. However, the domain extension is just as crucial to the success of any site. Along with a domain name that communicates your brand and helps you stand out from the competition, you need a domain extension that can easily distinguish your niche and better attract consumers.
November 30 · 3 min read