Choosing the Best Domain Name

One common question I encounter is from people who can’t get the “.com” domain of their choice, but find the “.net”, “.org” or other country-specific top level domains (TLDs) available (like .de, .nu, .sg, etc). Should they try for these?

It depends strictly on what your website is about. If your website or business caters to the local community, such as a fast food delivery business , then it makes sense to get a country-specific domain. You actually benefit from having such a local domain because the people in your country know that they’re dealing with a local entity, which is what they want. After all, if they stay in (say) the United Kingdom, they’re not likely to want to try to order pizza from pizzaparlour.com, which suggests a US or an international site. You’ll have better luck calling it pizzaparlour.co.uk, ie, with a UK domain.

What if yours is a site or business that can benefit from an international audience? There are actually many schools of thought on this. I’ll just mention a few common ones.

The first school of thought goes on the premise that it is better to have a domain name of your choice “myperfectdomain” even if it has a TLD of “.net”, “.org” or some other country specific extension, than to wind up choosing an obscure domain name for the simple reason you can’t get your first choice. Thus they would settle for domain names like “myperfectdomain.de” or “myperfectdomain.net” or whatever. Against this is the argument that if you get a country specific domain, people might think that your business only caters to that country.

Another school of thought finds that “.net” and “.org” extensions are actually quite acceptable domain names. For some, the “.org” extension actually describes the non-profit nature of their organisation. So, for example, the famous Apache web server can be found at “apache.org”.

Others settle for the “.com” extension and no less. As grounds for their arguments, they cite the browser algorithms used to locate a website when a user simply types a name like “acme” into the browser. Apparently, the browser searches for a domain name “acme.com” before attempting “acme.net”, etc. As such, people who do that will be delivered to your competitor’s site if you do not also own the “.com” extension. Indeed, even if people do not rely on their browser to complete their typing, many simply assume a “.com” extension when they type a domain name, so if your business is “Acme”, they’ll just assume your domain name is “acme.com” rather than “acme.net” or some other such name.

As you can see, there are actually good grounds for accepting any of the above views. My personal footnote to the above arguments is that if you get a domain name with an extension other than “.com”, make sure that you promote your business or website with the full domain name. For example, if your domain name is “dogandcatfood.net”, make sure that when you advertise your site or business, call it “dogandcatfood.net” not “dogandcatfood”. Otherwise people will assume a “.com” extension and travel to the wrong place.

It all comes down to what your website is about. If you are a country specific business, you should go with a country specific domain. If you are a non-profit organization, stick to .org. If you are a television associated business, go with .tv. The list goes on. Do a Google search on “Domain Types List” to check out all the rest.

Online Money Lab Dot Com – Experiment

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