Choosing a domain for your website is close to deciding about the right name for your child.
Or a company, for that matter.
Everyone wants the best name for their website. And yes, it is an absolutely important. Your domain name deserves your full devotion, and it’s no exaggeration to say that, in some circumstances, making the wrong choice can break your business.
As for the domain name extensions…
In the U.S., for instance, most businesses go with a dot-com, the most popular generic top-level domain (gTLD). Some websites go for that extra creative step with their top-level domain (TLD) so that it completes their final use like time.is.
There are six different types of top-level domains:
– Generic top-level domains (gTLD)
– Restricted generic top-level domains (grTLD)
– Country code top-level domains (ccTLD)
– Test top-level domains (tTLD)
– Infrastructure top-level domain (ARPA)
– Sponsored top-level domains (sTLD)
– gTLD, or generic top-level domain, is also a top-level domain but is not assigned to a specific country or doesn’t have any restrictions. “.com” and “.net” are the most commonly used gTLDs. A TLD – Top Level Domain identifies something about the website associated with it, such as its purpose, the organization that owns it or the geographical area where it originates. Each TLD has a separate registry managed by a designated organization under the direction of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).
– ccTLD, or country code top-level domain, is the top-level domain generally assigned for each country or a dependent territory. The domain consists of two letters representing the country or territory such as “.nl” for the Netherlands, .us for the United States, .tv for Tuvalu, and so on.
There are some good reasons for choosing a ccTLD over gTLD.
Perhaps the most important SEO benefit of using a ccTLD for your website is the geotargeting benefit, as it sends the clear message to the search engines that the site is designed for a specific country or region.
A ccTLD comes with challenges when you wish to target other countries and regions.
For example, if your website uses “.de” domain which is a ccTLD for Germany and you add French content targeting France or English content targeting the U.S., you’d need to take extra steps to indicate that those sites are designed for France or U.S.
Top-level domains serve as an instant way to understand what a website is about or where it’s based.
Seeing a .gov address, like in uk.gov, will immediately inform you that the material on the website is centered around government.
For example, example.com is for the main website, but you also take example.org, example.net, and a bunch of other extensions with the same name but different TLDs.
And that is the smart thing to do. It is your brand reputation in mind, after all.
It’s for this reason that some companies will register multiple TLDs so that anyone going to the other, non-primary URLs, will still land on the company’s website. For example, google.com is how you reach Google’s website, but you can also get there through google.net. They are also geo located, so we’re googling through google.nl for example.
However, google.org is a totally different website.
Generic top-level domains are the common domain names you’re likely most familiar with. These are open for anyone to register domain names under
– .com (commercial)
– .org (organization)
– .net (network)
– .name (name)
– .biz (business)
– .info (information)
Additional gTLDs are available that are called sponsored top-level domains, and are considered restricted because certain guidelines must be met before they can be registered:
For people wondering what are the five most common domain extensions, .com is hands-down the most popular top-level domain (TLD). It was originally used to designate for-profit businesses (from commercial) but as you know and see, it has now become the classic go-to among domain names extensions. If it’s available, of course. Fun fact it that all .COM domains starting with A is already registered.
The .org extension is also open to any person or entity, even though it was originally designed to represent not-for-profit organizations. It’s a popular option for many non-governmental organizations, nonprofits, politicians and political parties, and online communities.
Much like the .COM, .NET is open to anyone. What was originally intended for internet service providers or networks only, has now become a great alternative to .COM. The .NET domain might be a nice little option for tech startups, tech- or application-based companies because it implies network and technology. In our humble opinion.