If you’re new to ecommerce and websites you can read my guide to domain names and why you need one.
Another question which seems to come up a lot when somebody is picking a domain name is which is the best extension to go for?
Domain Extensions for SEO
Technically it shouldn’t really make a difference to a websites SEO potential which domain extension it has, in reality though it does seem to.
For SEO I would stick with ‘.com’, ‘.co.uk’ (or your local geographic extension if you’re not in the UK), ‘.org’, or ‘.net’.
These in my mind are the main ones and are proven to rank highly time and time again.
Note that I’m not saying that sites rank highly because of the extension, I’m simply pointing out that there are countless examples of websites with top rankings using these extensions.
Whilst the newer extensions might offer you the chance to get a catchier sounding domain name, it is very rare to come across them in the Google search results.
I know there will be exceptions to what I’m going to say, but in researching this article I couldn’t find one example of a ‘.info’, or ‘.biz’ website ranking on the first page for any competitive term I could think of.
The counter argument to this is that because the newer domain names tend to be on newer websites (by default) then they will start ranking well at some point in the future. This may be true, but why bother starting a site with anything other than what is proven to work unless you absolutely can’t avoid it.
Domain Extensions for Humans
If you’re like me then you will just expect companies to have the ‘.com’ or ‘.co.uk’ version of their domain name by default.
Speaking with some non-technical folks I have heard it said that people don’t really trust websites that don’t have a ‘.com’ or ‘.co.uk’.
This is believable to me because there is a widespread fear of fraud on the Internet and in particular with eCommerce, if people are not sure of something the natural reaction is to fear it and be hesitant, you don’t want this for your business.
Another issue is the one that was raised by the new ‘.co’ extension. If you only have the ‘.co’ version and someone is trying to find you then they are far more likely to type in ‘.com’ or ‘.co.uk’ as this is what they are used to doing.
Domain Extensions for Businesses
If possible you should look to secure as many versions of your domain name as possible, this will ensure no competitors can snap up a closely related name and profit off your name or service.
I have vetoed domain names for projects before because I couldn’t secure the ‘.com’ or someone else was trading off a similar name under a different extension.
You also have to be a little careful of trademark infringements here as well.
If you have a large competitor trading off redwidgetsco.com and you buy redwidgetsco.co.uk and put up a site selling items in a related field they could have a case to come after the domain name through the courts.
It’s a big area for discussion and the easy advice is to shy away from any potential issues by being aware of this upfront.
Getting a domain name off somebody else through the courts can take years and be costly, I wouldn’t ever recommend that you rely on this as an option, that’s why it’s best to secure as many variations of you main domain name as you can whilst they are available.
I think that covers most angles of selecting a domain name extension, to conclude I would always recommend getting the ‘.co.uk’ and ‘.com’ if possible for UK based businesses. If one or the other is unavailable then you need to make a call on whether it could potentially affect your business further down the line, if so then perhaps an alternative name may be better.
What are your thoughts on domain name extensions, do certain ones put you off?