Do you want to start a website for your company, institution, organization, or business? Then understanding how to choose a domain name is highly important. Recently, a client of ours asked us to help him understand how to choose the perfect domain name for his business. As a result of this, we decided to publish an article that addresses this issue.
After reading this article, you will know the exact type of Top Level Domain name and extension that is most suitable for your business. Hence, you won’t have to pay any researcher to help you find a perfect domain name.
The type of website or blog you intend to start plays a huge role in determining the domain name you choose. There are several TLD extensions to choose from. In fact, there are thousands of TLD extensions right now. An article on Wikipedia provides a list of all the official top-level domain extensions as maintained by the Internet Assigned Number Authority (IANA).
Popular domain extensions available to choose from
The most popular TLD is .com. However, you can choose a domain name that targets specific services or that describes your organization, institution or company. Let’s have a quick review of these popular top-level domains.
Generic top-Level Domains:
There are seven generic TLDs. These extensions were created very early – during the creation of the internet. They are:
.com: The .com is the most popular TLD. It’s widely used on the internet. Every person, company, business, etc. can register the .com even if its original purpose during creation was to be used for non-profit purposes.
In fact, it is everyone’s favorite TLD extension. Almost all the big companies, individuals and businesses in the world use the .com TLD. So, the .com TLD is always my first recommendation to most of my clients who intend to start a personal blog, business website, or company website.
.org: The .org TLD was originally intended for use by non-profit organizations. At the moment, any person, company or organization can register with the .org. Whenever I meet a client that wants to purchase a domain name for an organization, I usually recommend the .org. This way, the purpose of your website becomes clearer. However, an organization can still register the .com TLD.
.net: The .net TLD was intended for Umbrella sites. However, almost any individual or company use it. An umbrella site is a site that acts as a portal to other smaller sites. The .net TLD is cheap to register. In popular domain registry companies like GoDaddy and NameCheap, you can get a .net for as low as 6-10 dollars.
.edu: This TLD is used for educational purposes. It is limited to certain higher institutions in America. However, Schools in other countries can use it along with country-specific TLDs. Like .edu.in for India, .edu.ng for Nigeria, etc.
.gov: This TLD is limited to government agencies in America. Many other countries use it along with country-specific domains.
.mil: Limited to the United States military.
.int: used by international organizations.
There are many other TLDs. But very uncommon and not frequently used.
The .com extension has now become very competitive. Most of the four-lettered domain names and keywords have been taken. Some are in use, some are parked, and domain flippers also buy for the purpose of reselling.
Choosing country-specific TLD is also becoming more popular by the day. This is most suitable for you if your target audience is in a specific country. If you are aiming to reach the world, avoid country-specific TLDs.
In a few years’ time, we will experience a wider use of other generic TLDs. But prior to that, the .com is still everyone’s preferred TLD extension. So it should be what you are aiming to buy.
recommended: how to start a WordPress website.
How do you buy the perfect domain name?
Bearing in mind that the .com domain names have become extremely difficult to buy. How do you cope with this? Should you buy other extensions or still buy the .com? I recommend you still go for the .com extension. A long .com extension is better than a short unpopular TLD. Most web browsers complete your domain name with .com when you type just the name. So, why buy another extension?
If you want to buy a .com, here are a few measures you can adopt to get the best out of your limited options.
Keep it as short as possible:
Most people are always in a hurry. They don’t do proper research while purchasing a domain name. It is better you wait, keep trying search keywords till you get the right one. Because I want to include the keyword ‘blog’, I end up discovering most of the short domain names with the word ‘blog’ has been taken. In a bid to include that keyword at all costs, I may decide to search for ‘Iknowhowtobloglikeapro.com’. This might be available if you search for it. But it is highly unfriendly and too long to type.
Keep it simple:
Do not overuse creative misspellings while searching for a domain name. It can prevent your visitors from easily remembering it.
Avoid numbers and unusual characters:
Including numbers in your domain name may also cost you a few visitors. For instance, If you have a name like blog123.com, and is communicated verbally with a person, the person might end up typing it as blogonetwothree.com. This can cost you thousands of visitors. Also, strange characters like hyphens must be avoided when searching for a domain name. These characters are difficult to communicate with people verbally.
Avoid using complicated vocabularies:
There are a lot of words in the English dictionary that are quite hard to spell or remember. Words like counterreformation, discombobulate, etc. They are not commonly used and can be hard to remember by someone who is seeing them for the first time. So, you must aim for vocabulary that is commonly used.
Avoid buying a name or TLD extension that is Copyrighted:
Although, for the .com domain, it is highly uncommon to buy a domain name that is copyrighted. However, you should not aim at registering a domain name that includes all the words from a registered company. For instance, registering a domain name like googleowner.com can backfire.
Buy from the best domain name registrar.
There are many domain name registrars. I highly recommend NameCheap. I’ve used them for a long time and have never had any issues for once.
Additionally, NameCheap offers free whoisguard. Something you have to pay for when registering with other domain name providers.
Whoisguard protects your most vital details like home address, phone number, email address from the pubic eye. Without whoisguard, someone can just lookup your domain name and know all of that private information. Such sensitive information should be kept away from scammers and fraudsters.
I hope with this guide, you are able to choose the perfect domain name for your next project.