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Which extension should you pick for your domain name?

When choosing a domain name, you will have a few different options as for the type of domain extension you want to use. The ‘.com’ is always going to be the most popular, followed by ‘.net’ and then ‘.org’. However, there are many other extensions to choose from — though I recommend you stick with any of the three mentioned here. They are the most professional and well-known around the world.

Very exciting! We decided on using WordPress as our blogging platform and also know how to setup hosting and selecting a domain name for your site. Now it’s time to bring it all together and put it in motion.


The .com extension is one of the oldest domain extensions. It’s also the most commonly used. Just think for a moment: almost every major website on the Internet ends in .com. The exception to this are government websites or non-profit organizations which usually end in .gov or .org.

Because of this, it’s almost natural for anyone randomly trying to find a website for any business to type in the supposed domain name and finish it off with .com. Indeed, the .com is one of the most desired and preferred extensions.

The .com extension is also one of the most credible domain extensions and it instantly makes your website appear more trustworthy.

And if you consider for a moment that you will share your new website with everyone you know, it makes sense to use .com extensions to make it easier for people to remember.

While it’s true that there are a plethora of new extensions available today, there’s another thing to keep in mind. Imagine for a moment that you decided to use a new extension like .design. You might think this is a good idea, but, in reality, most people will probably wind up typing yournamephotography.com which will lead them to a non-existing domain or worse, someone else’s website. You can easily avoid that risk by sticking with a .com extension.

Finally, another point in favor of the .com is the simple fact that most smartphone keyboards come with a .com button. When you factor in the rise in mobile devices for everyday Internet surfing, it’s a smart decision to go with .com.

Here are 10 reasons to think about one of the new extensions the next time you register a domain.

  1. Availability: Is www.yourcompanyname.com taken? Use any of the new domain extensions that make the most sense for your business. A photographer can use .photography, a journalist can use .press and a tech company can use a .tech. If you’re looking for a generic domain, you can go for options like  .site and .online
  2. Price – A four-letter .com domain that’s not even a real word in the English dictionary will cost you upwards of a few thousand dollars. SEDO currently has ‘vajj’ listed at a buy it now price of $7,500 and a 3 letter ‘qbi’ at $200,000. The same names, or much better names in fact, could be bought on almost every new extension for less than $50 – that’s a significant cost saving.
  3. Keeping it meaningful – Matt Schaefer, who runs a tech channel on YouTube with more than 100,000 subscribers, is using www.mattschaefer.tech. When you see the URL, you know you’re not only going to Matt’s site, but also what to expect when you get there. Award-winning Italian startup Horus Technology will be using blind.tech for marketing its wearable device designed to assist the blind and visually-impaired making it another easily-recongizable name. Two Y Combinator alumni from San Francisco — Seth Bannon and Ela Madej, are also looking at using impact.tech as a go-to source for the impact entrepreneurship movement in the tech world.
  4. Google doesn’t penalize new domain extensions –  Google, which itself has applied for and owns many new domain extensions like .how, has clearly explained – “our systems treat new gTLDs just like other gTLDs (like .com & .org)”  and even outlines ways of moving your existing website to a new extension without greatly impacting search rankings or history.
  5. Nifty names – New domain extensions make it possible to give meaningful and memorable names to your business. Paul Allen used the nifty www.smartcatch.fishfor his new business which trains chefs and restaurant staffs and encourages the latest environmental compliance standards. The Microsoft co-founder chose this name despite the domain ‘smartcatch’ being available in .com.
  6. Better branding and shorter URLs – You can improve brand recall with a shorter name. For example, anchor.host is featured as the top result for a Google search for ‘anchor host’ and the company, Anchor Hosting, a WordPress hosting and maintenance expert,  has ditched the longer www.anchorhost.com.
  7. Companies, celebrities, influencers among others are already using it – If you need some ‘social proof’ before you commit, consider that GM has a new website on generalmotors.green and OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei has just acquired carl.tech which we understand he plans to use for a blog.
  8. Getting there before others – The new domain extensions are still in their early days but demand is likely to become greater as time goes on. Getting into the new TLD game now and registering names relevant to your business will keep others from grabbing them later, potentially much to your frustration.
  9. Get identified as a local business – Want to maintain a local image as you expand into new areas? Many cities have been registering their own top level domains. If your business has an address in the Big Apple., .nyc is perfect. .berlin, .dubai and .london are just a few of the many geographic domains available.The Eiffel tower for example has moved it’s official page to www.toureiffel.paris.
  10. Microsites with impact – Your next marketing campaign’s microsite will seem a lot more polished with its own dedicated domain. Planning a Black Friday sale? Place it at .blackfriday. if your food brand is expanding into coffee, why not use (you guessed it) .coffee?

.COM Domains, History and Ranking

You should always pick the .COM before any other extension. This is because .coms have become the industry standard for domain names. Whenever you hear someone start saying www…you naturally expect a .COM at the end. It also ranks best because, in the beginning (1985), .COM was created to represent commercial usage. Since businesses naturally embraced the domain extension, it’s presence and familiarity took off. This large presence of .com domains helped establish its reputation forever on the Internet.

.COM domains rank easily and quickly. I always pick .COM domains whenever possible. I even prefer a long .COM to a short .NET or .ORG. More examples are given near the end.

.NET Domains, History and Ranking

This domain is .com’s ugly brother. The .NET extension is an abbreviated version of the word ‘network’. The .NET domain was created in 1985 and originally intended to be used by network providers such as Internet service providers. Unfortunately, this domain name never really took off. Yes, companies like Comcast.net (internet service provider) used it…but consumers didn’t care much for it. As a result, .NET became the default 2nd choice if a .COM wasn’t available.

It is difficult to rank a .NET domain. You’ll need much more time and incoming links (backlinks) to start ranking properly. If you’re planning on building out a large business with lots of great content, .NET is a good choice. If you’re building small niche sites and are hungry for fast rankings….stay far away.

.ORG Domains, History and Ranking

The .ORG (organization) domain is a generic top-level domain and was one of the original top level domains that was introduced in January 1985. Anyone can register a .ORG domain; there are no requirements for registration. The .ORG TLD is usually associated with non-profit organizations, charities and open-source programs. In addition, many political parties also use the .ORG  extension.

Now that you know it’s history, it’s easy to understand why a .ORG domain ranks as well as a .COM. Yes…I’m serious. they both rank quickly and easily. So if you’re looking for quick ranking, .COM and .ORG are your best bets.

.INFO Domains, History and Ranking

The .INFO is meant to be an informational domain, to be used for sharing information. Unfortunately, GoDaddy completely destroyed the domain’s purpose (and it’s ranking ability) with hundreds of $0.99 domain specials between 2006-2008. The result? Nearly every spammer and affiliate marketer started buying $0.99 .INFO domains in bulk to create top-level domain redirects for articles, spam and autoblogs. Google quickly took notice and penalized the domain heavily. If you purchase a .INFO domain, you can expect significant frustration trying to rank (even with backlinks). Google simply hates this TLD. Stay far away. Only use this as a “throw away” domain you don’t plan to develop. For example, if you’re advertising in someone’s paid newsletter and don’t want your original website being flagged as spam, use a .INFO domain redirect to protect your original site’s URL.


SEO Ranking

.COM

Firstly, people trust .COM domains. Google recognizes this and allows this “trust” to continue unaffected. As the most popular, .COM always wins in terms of ranking and recognition. This is always my first pick. I never use hyphens. Google stopped liking hyphens a while ago.

.ORG

This is only my 2nd pick for online marketing and SEO ranking purposes (see Important Note below)

.ORG was always meant to communicate to people…with charities and non-profit groups. As such, .ORG immediately carries trust and respect. This makes .ORG is my 2nd pick…even for extremely commercial properties. I know it goes against the original idea behind the domain…but my sales aren’t lying. People don’t care. It was intended for non-profits…but people just don’t care. They’ll visit and buy from .ORG domains in a pinch. There is nothing unethical about using a .ORG domain for a commercial website.

Important Note: If you’re running an offline or semi-offline business, get .COM or .NET. Telling people you run a commercial .ORG over the phone kills integrity. In these cases, slow ranking are preferred to integrity-killing conversations and business cards.

.NET

.NET was never intended to be commercial. As such, it’s an awkward domain to communicate to people. This awkwardness carries over in it’s ability to rank. I pick .NET domains as my dead last 3rd choice regarding SEO ranking. To be honest, though, I can’t remember the last time I bought one. These days it’s all .COM and .ORG. However, if I’m creating an offline business that includes phone calls or business cards, I will pick .NET before .ORG. for the purpose of retaining integrity. Offline businesses truly expect .ORG domains to be non-profit.

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