.Com or .SomethingElse: Which Top-Level Domain Should I Choose?

Top Level Domains (TLDs) Graphic

Even with hundreds of options like .net, .co., .club and .art, .com is still the King of the Domains. Here’s why you should stick with .com over the other top-level domains.

These days, someone looking to create a website has far more choice than they used to when it comes to top-level domains.

A top-level domain (TLD) simply refers to the letters following the dot in your main web address (URL) – in other words, does your web address end with .com, like google.com? In that case, .com is your top-level domain, or TLD. But there are many others to choose from.

You’re probably aware of some websites with TLDs like .net, .gov or .edu. If you’re not from the USA, many websites you visit probably use your local TLD, like .co.uk for the UK or .ca for Canada. But there are even more TLDs that have been added in recent years by ICANN, an international body that I would describe as the “Elders of the Internet.” They’re the ones who decide what can be used as TLDs, and they’ve been having a field day as of late by adding a host of new, often very specialized TLDs.

So with all this choice available, why stick with something as basic as .com? Aren’t these new TLDs a great opportunity to create a unique web address that people will remember?

Why use a .com domain for your website?

In theory, yes, these TLDs do represent a way to branch out beyond the plain ol’ .com TLD. However, there are a few things to consider when selecting your TLD:

  • Recognizability: Will people even know that your web address is a web address?
    In most peoples’ minds, web addresses end in .com. When they hear or read something ending in .com, they know it’s a web address. If a web address ends in something other than .com, they may not recognize it as a web address.
  • Memorability: Will people be able to easily remember your web address?
    Even today, .com is considered the default top-level domain. When people are trying to remember the name of your website, they will assume it is a .com address. If it’s not, people will need to devote extra brain cells to remembering your specific web address, or they will need to use bookmarks to remember. It’s an extra barrier for people.
  • Credibility: Will people think your website is legit?
    For many, a .com domain is comforting and familiar. All their favorite websites are .com domains. A .com domain makes them feel like the website is secure and legitimate.

    Also, scam websites are often associated with odd or unusual domains. A .com alone can help alleviate concerns about the safety and reliability of your website.

In short, a .com domain is more recognizable, credible and memorable. It will make it easy for people to trust and remember your website.

The Drawbacks of .com Domains

The major downsides of .com domains are:

  • A lot of the addresses are already taken. Since .com domains have been around since the beginning, and were one of the only choices for many years, there are many, many .com web addresses already in use. So, you might need to be creative to come up with a good .com address that is still available.
  • They can be expensive. A lot of .com domain names are for sale at a high price because they are highly in demand for the benefits I mentioned above. There are still lots of cheap .com domain names available, but high prices are a problem you may encounter.

In the end, I would recommend sticking with a .com domain unless there are no short, easy-to-remember, and affordable .com addresses available that work for you.

If you need to have a really long web address in order to secure a .com, then that would counteract the memorability benefit of having a .com domain in the first place. So, if your address ends up being something like joesartisancoffeeshopcincinatti.com, then it might be best to go with a different TLD.

Additionally, if any .com address that works for your business is too expensive, then it might be good to go with an alternative TLD until you have enough cash to purchase the .com domain.

All in all, .com domains remain the best option, but they’re not the only option. I hope this article has provided helpful info so you can make the best decision for you.

Questions? Contact RojaTech, LLC.

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