There are lots of domain name extensions out there. Recently the folks over at ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) added a whole new batch of top-level domain names (TLDN’s) for customers and companies to choose from. While some of these are very useful and have companies switching over from the .com domain extension, other companies have found out the hard (and expensive) way that switching over to another domain extension may not be that great of an idea. An example would be Overstock.com, who spent over $350,000 on the o.co domain name and rebranding efforts, only to find out a few months later that the switch had damaged their brand recognition and that they had lost traffic due to the switch. You are probably familiar with .com and .org, may be even .me (did you know it is from the country of Montenegro?), but there are tons of domain extensions to choose from. Take a quick look at the full domain extension list located here and you’ll see what I mean.
When choosing a domain name, it can be tempting to choose something like “lawyername.lawyer” if you are, of course, a lawyer, or something more simple like “mybusiness.biz”, but before you decide to invest time money and effort into a domain name besides, let me point out a few issues with every domain extension besides .com.
1: Other domain extensions are usually more expensive to register and renew
Domain extensions besides .com are usually more expensive. This is especially true for the newly released domains like “.gift”, “.lawyer”, and others. For example, say you wanted to buy a domain with this string of characters: “12345asdfg”. If you chose a .com domain, it would cost $10.69/year form Namecheap, but wait, what if you were a software company and wanted the .software TLDN? That will cost you $24.88/year, not including the renewal fees if you only go year by year. (By the way, that was on the low end of the spectrum, want 12345asdfg.engineer? That costs $129.88/year)
This isn’t always the case, 12345asdfg.club is $8.99 last time I checked, but I can’t recall a single instance where I’ve ever visited a .club website address. The point is, the more specific you try to make your domain extension, usually the more expensive it will be.
2: The .com domain extension is what people first try when looking for websites
I deal a lot with marketing, and one of the hardest things that I need to consider with clients is how they want to show their website on their advertising materials. Having a .com makes it so easy to advertise, because everyone recognizes it, and it’s usually what customers will put in the search term if they aren’t sure of the exact spelling of your brand or website. Having a “.beer” domain extension (yes, it does exist) might be cool if you have a brewery, but people probably aren’t going to be aware of .beer when they are typing in their search terms. Don’t tell that to the New Belgium brewing company though, because they scooped up a number of domains to use for their branding purposes, but they seem to be the only major company I can find so far that has taken advantage of this extension. Consumers are more likely to trust a .com domain name rather than a .net or .biz domain name anyhow.
3: Google usually sorts search results starting with .com
Google usually sorts websites based on importance and which sites are most trusted – .com is at the top of being trusted, good luck getting a nice search rank from Google with a .tk domain, which many users have reported has difficultly in ranking to begin with. This is true if you are using Google.com and not Google.de or another country-specific domain. If you want your website to focus on people located in Germany, for example, then in makes sense to have a .de domain extension because Google.de will rank it higher (Previously I said that .de was Denmark, I was later corrected. .dk is the Denmark domain extension). This is really the only situation where it may be worth it to have a country-specific domain name. If you plan on doing this, you should be sure to read this Google Webmaster Help Page first.
So there you have it, a quick note on why you should always have a .com domain name instead of any other domain extension. Of course there are exceptions to this rules, but for SEO, Marketing, and Google Ranking, you should stick to .com when you can. Let me know if you have any questions about this!