Building your own website can be a fulfilling process. The end result is something that you created thanks to your personal vision. That being said, website building is definitely not something that should be taken lightly. Even if you use a template and can get the page to look aesthetically pleasing in a short amount of time, there’s still more to consider. For instance, your domain name is one of the most crucial aspects to your webpage.
A poor domain can really hurt the legitimacy of your brand. But determining the right domain goes beyond picking the name itself. You also need to be cognizant of the effect of picking one top-level domain (TLD) over another. A TLD is the segment of a domain that follows the name (.com or .edu, for example). Here are some things to consider for choosing the right extension for your domain name.
You’re no stranger to the Internet. It’s virtually impossible not to have noticed that .com are hands down the most popular TLD out there. In fact, about 75 percent of websites currently end in .com. But why do so many individuals and brands choose .com over the plethora of other options out there? A few things can be cited for this dominance.
For starters, .com is practically synonymous with the term domain name. When people think of a website, they just assume that it ends in a .com. The .com TLD has been around longer than any other. So Internet users have gotten extremely used to it. In addition, Google and other search engines tend to favor websites that use a .com domain name. They often favor brands above other kinds of sites, and these almost exclusively use .com. This extra boost to SEO should be enough to convince most people in the domain registration process to opt for a .com TLD.
However, people will often pay more for a domain that ends in .com even if that’s not what’s best for their brand. So let’s take a look at other TLDs.
The .edu TLD is used for educational institutions. If you are going through the domain registration process for a school of some type, .edu is a good option.
The .edu TLD can lend legitimacy to an organization of higher learning just as .com does for a brand. It shows people what your webpage is about. It’s unlikely that you will suffer any drawbacks to SEO if you use a .edu TLD. This is especially true because many people will be searching for your specific institution as opposed to doing a broad organic search.
It’s acceptable to use the .org TLD. This option certainly isn’t as popular as .com, but it won’t take a huge toll on SEO viability in most cases. The domain is commonly associated with open-source projects, education, online communities, non-profits, or even for-profit institutions.
If you’re looking to get creative with TLDs for your domain name, there are a few additional options that are viable. You can consider using a ccTLD. You have probably seen these before when visiting foreign-based sites. The cc stands for the country code. Some of the most popular ccTLDs are .de, .uk, and .jp. In fact, some places—such as Germany—actually prefer their ccTLDs to .com. You can also try slightly changing your domain name in order to get a .com TLD. Adding a carefully considered keyword into your domain name can actually help improve your SEO.
Another option is to use a TLD associated with your offerings. If you run a wedding catering company, for instance, your domain might read BestWedding.Cakes. Similarly, a FirstNameLastName.me could apply to personal websites or online portfolios.
Although often overlooked, TLD extensions are important to your domain name. You should carefully consider what option makes the most sense for your webpage before making a final decision.