The answer you will get to this question most often will be to go with a .COM domain name. Of course, every business and website has individual needs and will be facing their own set of unique challenges, so it may not always be as cut and dried as “just go with the COM.” With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at each of these options and then spend a little time diving into the world of top-level domain extensions even further.
Why .COM Is Always Recommended
We all know that the .COM extension is by far the most common, and the one that still carries the most significant value for most companies. Why? Simply because most of your customers are going to automatically assume that your company’s website is going to end with that extension. Still to this day, people often ask if using the .COM extension will actually have any impact on their SEO rankings. While research has shown that Google does love the COM extension, it really doesn’t play the role in rankings that it once might have. The reasons for always wanting to use the COM extension is because it’s well known, customers assume you will be using it, and it will likely carry the highest resale value down the road (when thinking in terms of investing in a domain).
When To Use A .ORG Extension
Just because COM is king doesn’t mean other extensions don’t have their place. The .org extension is well-known and still very well-trusted. This extension is the normal (and most obvious) choice for charity or non-profit sites. That being said, there are successful for-profit sites that use the .ORG extension as well. If you’re able to use it correctly, a .ORG can give you a bump in social credence or validation (many users tend to look at a .org as a more benevolent site). However, you will need to brand your company with the .ORG extension tied directly to your name since most users will otherwise just assume your company’s domain includes the .com extension (like I mentioned above). As far as the SEO question I spoke above for COM – ORG is the same. Google loves this extension, but at this point in time it really won’t play a huge role in where you rank. Several other factors go into that these days.
When To Use A .NET Extension
Most would argue the .NET extension ranks second in terms of most popular TLD extensions. However, it doesn’t really provide either of the same benefits the other two extensions above do. It doesn’t server a specific purpose like the ORG extension does, and it isn’t automatically assumed by customers like the COM extension is. Still, NET is generally accepted and trusted as an authoritative extension by customers, and it’s been around long enough that if a customer hears it, they’ll probably remember it if they decide to visit your website later. Personally, I would still recommend the COM over the NET at anytime!
Are Other Extensions Worth It
There are so many other extensions available these days – You could be tempted by anything from a .NEWS and to .XXX extension (depending on your companies niche). Sometimes, companies might go this route to be a little extra creative. Some believe using a crazy extension will actually make their domain more memorable. If you have the time, ability and budget to promote that type of name and associate it with your brand, it does become a viable option. However, you should remember that many of these extensions are still fairly new (less than 5 years old), so many people might not be too familiar with them yet. That means getting some potential customers to remember your domain (especially if advertising via commercials or billboards) could be difficult. Other extensions are certainly worth considering if COM, NET and ORG are unavailable, but just be prepared for how you will handle the branding portion further down the road.