When you browse online, you’ll be clicking on websites with different domain extensions. You might recognize these as “.com” “.net” and other variations. If you have just started a business and need to set up a website, you might be wondering which of the dozens of extensions available you should choose and if it will affect how your audience will see your website online.
We discuss all these and more below.
Domain Name and Domain Extension
A domain name is your website’s name. It’s what users will type on the search bar if they want to access your site. It can be any combination of numbers and letters, but for websites, some of the best practices for choosing a domain name are to keep it short, memorable, and easy to type.
These are important considerations because the domain name you will choose affects your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. If you play with the spelling of regular words for no reason, choose a domain name that is not your business name or one that simply doesn’t make sense, your target audience is less likely to find you.
When choosing a domain name, you want your audience to immediately recognize your brand or identify what your website offers. Any company that provides SEO services can tell you that the more people understand your brand, the more credible your site becomes. The credibility of a website contributes to higher Google rankings, which means your website becomes more visible to people looking for the goods or services you offer.
Domain extensions, on the other hand, do not affect your SEO rankings as much according to the results of a survey Moz conducted in 2015 about search ranking factors. Domain-level, keyword-agnostic features like top-level domain (TLD) extensions scored four on a scale of one to 10, one being the ranking factor is not influential and 10 being the ranking factor is highly influential.
Despite the results, you must still choose your domain extensions well, especially with thousands of TLDs to choose from.
Choosing the Best Domain Extension
According to industry data, more than 1,500 TLDs exist today, from the most popular “.com” to the most bizarre such as “.ninja” To help you figure out which one to use for your business’ website, we have a few tips below.
1. Consider your target location
Extensions such as “.au” and “.co.uk” exist to cater to a specific location. If you only provide your services across Australia, for example, then using the domain extension “.com.au” is recommended. Search engines will prioritize your website for users searching within Australia, giving you an edge over competitors who might not have it.
2. Consider the industry
With thousands of domain extensions, you can veer away from the classic “.com” or “.net” and choose an extension that fits your industry instead. Running a restaurant? Choose “.food.” Own a school? Choose “.edu.” Simple as that, you can communicate to your audience what they might expect from your brand.
3. If all else fails, use .com
Almost all the websites online use the “.com” extension because it’s familiar and more valuable than their counterparts. So if you want a straightforward domain name, this extension is the best to use.
Picking a good domain name and extension takes you one step further to better SEO. Apply other techniques on your website, and you just might see your site at the top of SERPs.