What’s in a name? That famous quote from William Shakespeare doesn’t quite hold true for website domain names, because a website by any other domain name might not perform as sweetly. Choosing the right domain name can have a big impact on the discoverability and reputation of your website. Read on for some of the key benefits of choosing a quality .com domain name.
At the birth of the internet, you didn’t have much choice when it came to domain extensions. Flash forward to 2016 and there are reportedly a whopping 882 different extensions to choose from. Despite this vast range of choice, the .com extension still dominates the majority of the internet, with sources citing statistics varying between 40-50% of all domain names. There are hundreds of extremely obscure domain extensions that each make up less than 0.1% of all domain names.
So, why is the .com extension so popular? It seems that its popularity has bred its popularity. Because it was one of the first top level domains to be registered, it was the most widely used. People came to associate .com with the internet and websites in general, and that association is still strongly held today. Because of this, .com is still the most recognizable and memorable extension, and it is the one that comes to mind first.
Most people’s initial assumption will be to put a .com at the end of a company name to guess their website URL. So, when people look for your website without using a search engine, a .com domain name helps your chances of them discovering it. It can also affect your credibility as a brand. Imagine you’re looking for an insurance company online and come across a website that ends with .cool or .party (Yep, these are real domain extensions!). Chances are you’re more likely to trust a .com domain name than one of these obscure ones.
Another advantage of .com is that it is globally recognized. This is vital if you are targeting a global audience or hope to achieve this in the future. If your business operates locally and is going to stay that way, then a country-specific domain extension such as .co.uk, .de or .en would suit your needs. Other extensions may be suitable for certain companies or websites. For example, .org is generally associated with charities and not-for-profit organizations, while .gov is used for government bodies, and .edu is commonly used for education sites.
Choosing a domain name
The extension of your website is important, but perhaps even more important is the domain name itself; the name that makes up the main part of your URL. This name needs to reflect what your business does and how you want people to view it. Your domain name is part of your company’s brand, and it contributes to the overall image of that brand.
Registering a quality domain name will make people be more likely to remember you and your website. This can help you gain more traffic to your site. A strong domain name will also change what your users associates with your brand in terms of emotions and the qualities of your brand. You want a domain name that instils trust and confidence in your brand so that potential customers are more likely to buy from you.
Descriptive vs. branded domain names
Most businesses use their brand name as their domain name. It makes you more discoverable online and makes people more likely to remember your brand name and associate it with your website. If you’ve already established your brand name and don’t want to change it, then best practice is to use that for your domain.
If you’re just starting up your business or are wondering whether to change your brand name when starting up your website, you need to think about what kind of name you want for both your business and its website. Domain names basically boil down to two different types: descriptive and branded.
Apple is an example of a branded domain. Although we all know who Apple are and what they do, the company name doesn’t tell us anything about them. Branded domain names are generally memorable and lend to the branding of the company. If they were to opt for a more descriptive name, they could use something like mobiletechnology.com. Not quite as catchy, but descriptive names have the added advantage of attracting “type-in” traffic. This is where someone searches for a keyword or phrase by typing it directly into their address bar. They might even add .com or another extension after it.
What if my domain name isn’t available?
There are millions of .com domain names already registered. So, when you go to register your domain name, you may find that it is not available with the .com extension. In this case, you will need to decide whether it is worth changing your domain name to find an available .com domain, or whether you’d rather choose a different extension to use the domain name you want to use.
You can make slight changes to your domain name to try and find one that is available. For example, when looking for our domain name, we might try marketing-strategies.com, marketingstrategy.com, or bestmarketingstrategies.com to find a similar one. You will need to walk the line between getting the .com and still having a domain name that is memorable. If you end up with something like best-online-marketing-strategies-for-businesses.com, it’s not going to be easy for people to remember or say. As a result, your brand is less recognizable.
As you can see, there is a lot to think about when selecting and registering your domain name and extension. The domain name you choose could impact the effectiveness of your website, so choose carefully and do your research.