The internet is a vast entity with not only millions of people around the world viewing it, but also millions registering internet domains. Anyone, with very little knowledge, can take out a domain name and build a website. The question is what domain name to choose and which extension to choose, com vs net vs org.
Is the domain name extension that important? I discovered that it is actually, more so if building a business site. In fact, choosing a domain name could make or break a business. With this in mind com vs net vs org is important.
What Is A Domain Name?
Before I go into the ins and outs of choosing a domain name, I want to clarify with you exactly what a domain name is.
To put it simply a domain name is your address on the internet. A domain name is unique with no two being the same, although it is possible to have similar ones. A domain name has to be registered, paid for and renewed each year.
IP addresses are identities on the internet with every computer having its own IP address. The IP address is a number, 126.96.36.199 for instance.
Remembering numbers are not as easy as remembering words and names. Hence, the invention of domain names to make life easier.
A domain name can virtually be any mixture of letters, words, and numbers, but it pays to choose them wisely, more about this later.
The first part of the domain name is your address then there is the extension. This is com vs net vs org or any of the numerous extensions available.
The Arrival of Domain Name Extensions
Name servers arrived in 1984 long after the birth of the internet. Before this, domain names did not exist. Anyone who wanted a web address only got numbers. This, as mentioned above was very confusing and did not relate to what the website offered.
This meant a web address looked like this: 188.8.131.52, with the HTTP in front of it. These numbers do not mean much. It does not provide any information. The numbers are very hard to remember with them not giving away any information about what the website offers. It could be a website address for a news blog, a personal web space or store. Visiting the site was potluck.
Thankfully, this changed and today anyone can register a great looking domain name. For instance, instead of the numbers, the web address for someone selling clothing for dogs might be dogclothing.com.
If I were looking for clothing for my dog, though personally, this is something I detest, I would check out this website. With the name in the address, I immediately know the website sells clothing for dogs.
Today there are more than 800 different domain name extensions, with the main three choices being .com, .net, and .org.
Choosing the Domain Name
Just as important as choosing the domain name extension is the actual domain itself.
This should reflect on what it is you are selling. For instance, if I were setting up a website to sell computer parts online, ideally I would want to see the word computer parts in the domain name. Computerparts.com or computerparts.net, both make good choices as they are short and to the point. It tells people the website is about computer parts.
The domain name is relevant in Google search too. When people search for computer parts on Google, there is more chance that my site would show up among the top results.
Obtaining good rankings in Google, ideally on the first page, is essential to bring people to the website.
When considering the domain name think about:
- Choosing a name that is unique to your brand;
- One that people can remember, short and to the point;
- One that people can pronounce;
- One that relates to what you are selling.
The domain name, whether it is com, net or org, is going to stand for your brand. It is the first thing people see.
With this in mind, make sure it stands out and it is specific to your brand. There might already be a website called computerparts.com so do not simply add on “my” for mycompterparts.com as your website address. Instead, choose something unique.
When choosing a unique name it is important to make sure the name, or something very similar, is not trademarked. If you use a domain name too similar to that of a big company, you might find yourself sued for trademark infringement.
One prime example of this might be Google.com and you choose Gooogle.com.
Thankfully issues such as these can be avoided a there are sites that enable you to check domain names to ensure they are not trademarked or copyrighted.
Short and to the Point
Choose a domain name that is as short and to the point as possible. The shorter the URL is the catchier it is and the more people will remember it.
Long-winded names are not memorable. They are also a pain when it comes to social media and appearing in search results. Shorter domain names make printing them easier on business cards and related media.
The downside to shorter names is finding one that relates to your business, which is available. You might have to come up with a happy medium when choosing a unique name, but I recommend having it no longer than two or three words.
An example of this might be computerparts.com, not Isellcomputerpartsonline.com.
Which of the above would you be more likely to remember? I know for me that it would be the first one.
Pronunciation Is Key
One thing I always remind people is to choose a domain name that people are going to be able to pronounce.
I choose wisely with this in mind and all my domain names are easy to pronounce. The whole aim is to attract people to visit your site. If people can say your website address without struggling, they can pass it on to friends.
If pronounced easily there is less likely to be confusion about what you are offering or selling. An example here could be to use “computerparts.com not computerpartz.com. If there are two websites with similar names, people will pronounce the site with the correct pronunciation not your spelling of it. You lose out.
A Name That Sells
I will stick with the theme of selling computer parts again. If you are selling computer parts through your website, you need to make sure the keyword is in the domain name.
It is no good using your name, such as JoeBloggs.com, as it does not give people any idea what you are selling.
Sure, Apple, Samsung, Nokia, and many others use their brand name as their domain address and people recognize them, along with what they are selling. However, they are the exception to the rule. It is preferable to have a name related to what you are selling.
Choosing the Right Domain Name Extension
As I mentioned above there are hundreds of domain name extensions but not all are in favor with Google. The most common are:
- . com
- . net
- . org
The most sought-after domain name extension is.com. Next is.net and then.org. Having considered this, the extension may depend on the reason for building the website.
Generally, most people prefer to take out the.com extension for their domain name. If I am looking to register a domain name, it is always the first I try. Of course, with around 80,000 people per day registering a domain name, .com is not always available. This is when I look into other extensions.
.Com = Most familiar
A.com website is the most familiar of all website address around the world. In fact, most people automatically type in.com into the web browser without thinking.
A.com extension used to be used for a commercial website, today many people choose it.
If you want.com but it is taken, you might want to try changing the domain name slightly. Instead of computerparts.com, you might try computer-parts.com. I have done this successfully with my chosen domains in the past.
Another option is to find out who has taken the.com domain you want and ask if they want to sell it.
. Net = Great for Tech Website
I choose .net for domain name extensions over .com when building websites related to technology and computers. This is mostly because.net relates to the internet or network. This is about the only instance where I would personally choose.net over.com.
. Org = Non-profit
Bear in mind that.org is generally reserved for websites that are non-profit as it does stand for organizations. Therefore, choosing.org for a business website where you are making a profit is not usually a good idea.
If you are setting up a website for a non-profit or charity website, you might wish to use.org.
Huge Range of New TLDs Cropping Up
As if choosing between com vs net vs org is not challenging enough, there is a huge range of new TLDs cropping up among registrars. These include:
- . build
- . bargains
- . bid
- . ninja
- . boutique
- . bike
- the list goes on
It seems that today just about any word can become an extension for a domain name.
How well a website with any of the above domain name extensions might do is anyone’s guess. They are certainly not as popular with people or search engines as.com or.net.
Local CC Top Level Domain Names
Additional top-level domain names thrown into the mix include local names; these needs considering along with com vs net vs org. These are extensions used for countries and further confuse matters when choosing an extension.
Local top-level domain names might be useful to small local businesses that do not need to attract attention from around the globe. Typically, these will be websites linked to highlight local stores and restaurants. The websites may hold information such as opening hours, menus and other information relating to the brick and mortar store.
Local top-level domain names include:
- . uk – United Kingdom
- . ae – United Arab Emirates
- . au – Australia
- . be – Belgium
- . br – Brazil
- .ca – Canada
- . cn – China
- . de – Germany
- . fr – France
Every country and region in the world has its own local top-level domain name.
Domain Name Extensions to be Wary Of
There is a huge range of domain extensions today, but some you need to be wary of for one reason or another.
A word of warning, some domain name extensions suggest spam. For example, I made the mistake of choosing.info for a news website with the idea being it provided information, hence.info.
The website did not appear well in search engines despite my knowledge of SEO and having a blog attached that I updated daily. I worked my socks off but it still did not get anywhere in search results.
I tried linking the site to Facebook to post links to the site and Facebook banned the website address as spam. This is a mistake I will not make again and ask you use caution if considering.info.
Other domain name extensions, that require thought before purchasing, include:
- . online
- . ws
- . cc
- . tech
- . space
- . me
- . IO
- . adult
One Important Factor to Consider When Choosing an Extension
There is one very important factor I recommend considering when mulling over the choice of com vs net vs org.
This is dependent on the first half of the domain name, the part before the.com, .net or .org.
The reason I point this out is because it’s not always evident when registering the name that in its entirety it can make your domain silly or look as though it’s pointing to something else. This is because the actual domain name does not go with the extension. In some cases, the domain name itself (the first part) might not have been chosen very well.
Check out the examples below and you will see this.
- net – might suggest you are selling hair nets while it is actually the website for a trendy hair salon;
- net – might suggest you are selling fishing nets when you are providing information about the best places to fish;
- net – This website sells custom pens, however, on reading the domain name it may mean something else entirely;
- com – This is a website for people to gather to exchange items. The name could read differently and have people looking for a sex change visiting.
So with the above in mind always double check any domain name and extension to ensure it really is what you want to become stuck with.
SEO and Your Choice of Domain Name
Now I want to turn to another aspect to consider when choosing a domain name. This is SEO, search engine optimization.
The easiest part of choosing a domain name is choosing between com vs net vs org. The part of the name before that is far more important to get right as it can affect SEO.
What I mean by this is the closer the domain is to the subject of the website, the better it works for SEO purposes. SEO = people finding your website in search engines.
There is a fine line here. It is important for SEO purpose but the domain name has to be people friendly too. The easiest way to bring SEO into a domain name is to take advantage of a keyword for the actual name. For example, if the website sells dog toys use the word dog toys in the domain name, if it sells computer parts use the keyword computer parts etc. Of course, this does not help you decide between com vs net vs org.
Is the Domain Name Extension Still Relevant?
Today people are using the internet much differently from how they used to do it, on a computer.
Smartphones and tablets are quickly overtaking computers as the number one tool for browsing the internet. This leads us to the question of whether the extension of the domain name really matters all that much. So, is the domain name extension still relevant and should you spend much time weighing up between com vs net vs org?
I cannot really answer this question. Perhaps it is less relevant today as it once was when more people accessed websites via computers. On saying this, a domain name still needs some thought.
Almost all of the younger generation use Facebook or another social media channel. This is where they come across the majority of links to websites. A simple click on an enticing post and people go directly to a website without even having to know the address.
Looking at it this way, the domain name is not relevant so why stress about com vs net vs org. People simply bookmark the website if they like it while never actually paying too much attention to its name.
When considering the fact that many people today browse websites on smart phones and tablets you might want to consider building a website specifically aimed at phones. In fact, Google looks for websites that are mobile friendly. If you want to get anywhere with a website today, it has to be mobile friendly.
Registering the Chosen Domain Name
Having chosen between com vs net vs org and come up with an ideal domain name for the site it is now time to register it.
There is no shortage of competition online to register your chosen name. The price you pay for the domain name may vary between registrars so it may pay to shop around for deals.
Some registrars offer deals for the first year with the domain being cheaper to register for that year. It is usually cheaper to take a domain name out over a longer period. For instance, if you agree to pay two or three years in front, you get the name cheaper than paying for it every year.
Bear in mind that if you take out the domain name for one year you do have to pay each additional year that you want to retain the domain name.
Some domain name extensions cost more than others to register. If someone has already registered a domain name you are interested in, it may be possible to register an interest in purchasing it if or when it becomes available.
On applying for the domain name, the company may ask if you want additional services. This could be whether you want your details, such as the information of the owner of the domain name, kept hidden, or an email address.
It is possible to get a free .com, .net or.org domain name when singing up for web hosting. Anyone who is setting up his or her first website and who does not have hosting might want to take advantage of this when considering com vs net vs org. Otherwise, they will have to pay for hosting and the domain name separately.
Old schoolers will stick to.com, .net or.org and nothing will persuade them to do otherwise. However, the younger generation faces a plethora of options for a domain name extension. Many of the new TLDs are trendier, which will appeal to the younger generation of would be website owners.
Some of the newer domain name extensions are more pertinent to the website behind the name. For instance, anyone with a pizza restaurant or takeaway could use the domain name .pizza. .ninja could be a great choice for a martial art related website or .boutique for a clothing store. The choices are endless and new domain name extensions will continue to appear.
It certainly does not hurt to have a great domain name as the foundation for your website. I personally believe this gives a solid foundation on which to build a brand up.
A powerful domain name starts a brand off on the right footing, more so if the name is based on the above advice. I am not saying that the choice of domain name is going to guarantee success, but it goes towards helping.
Of course, the domain name is only the beginning. Once you have decided on your choice, com vs net vs org, it is time to build the website for your brand. This is where the real hard work and dedication come in. It is what will set your brand apart from being a success or failure. This is not happening overnight unless you are extremely lucky.
Just as important as the name is to build a high quality professional looking website, fill it with quality informative content and keep it updated. Link the website to a social media page, email address, and find authoritative links.
So, have you decided which to go in the choice of com vs net vs org? I wish you the very best of luck in your online endeavor and hope the information here has gone some way towards you getting started on the right footing.