Decide A Domain Name – .com .net or .org?

When you decide a domain name, should the TLD (top level domain extension) be .com, .net, or org? You have a domain name (=website address) in mind and check the availability. If .com extension is not available for that name, should you go for .net extension, .org extension or one of various others such as .info, .biz etc?

The quick answer is "always go for .com." Don't consider purchasing any other TLD's but consider another web address instead.

Top Level Domain Name - com, net or org?

For example you're looking to name your website www.mysite.com but it's already taken by someone else. However www.mysite.org and www.mysite.net are both available. Don't just buy org or net, but check if any other URLs are available with .com instead, say www.mybeautifulsite.com.

Many experts seem to believe that's because search engines tend to prioritise web pages with .com extension in ranking, although Google has never actually said so. It confirms no preference is given to particular TLD's.

Secondary Treatment... By People

Always choose .com. The simple reason is because .com extension is by far the most popular among all the TLD's. Many internet users still automatically assume that your website - or any website - URL should end with .com. You tell them your site address is www.mysite.org, and they'll type in www.mysite.com. And when they do, obviously they'll be directed to a wrong site that's run by someone else - that'll be the .com site that had "already been taken" when you initially searched.

Not only would your .org site confuse the visitors but it would also be disadvantageous from the competition point of view. If the .com site was promoting a similar niche as yours and successfully up & running, your .org or .net site would be at a weak position in the competition. And it could be very difficult for your site to catch up to reach the same level of standard as your competitor's site. 

For that reason, domains with .org or .net extensions can appear as 'secondary', not being treated so by Google but by reputation in general in that sense.

international domain extensions

International Domain Extensions

If your targeting audience is geographically limited, a country code top level domain (ccTLD) can be used when you decide a domain name. Your webpages will be ranked high in search engines specifically in your country, and I can tell you that from my own experience.

I live in the UK and had a website with .co.uk extension. UK is a small country and my site found a good success relatively quickly; many of my pages were lucky enough to rank at the top of Google and I was making small affiliate sales month after month...

...Then I got greedy. I decided to expand my site globally, bought a new domain with .com extension and move the entire site. The ranking position of all my pages dropped dramatically, which was expected, but struggled to climb back up again, especially some earlier posts. Taking back an already established site to square one and reconstructing it all over again...really not easy!

Moral of the story - if you are not from the US and targeting the audience in your country specifically, choose a country code TLD for the maximum effect. But don't try to change your mind, stick to the country!

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Discounted TLD's

There are many TLD extensions that are 'not taken seriously' because of the prices offered by domain registration services. They can be purchased for $3 a year, or some even less than 50 cents a year.

If you decide a domain name for your website seriously, you should really avoid these extensions. When I say 'seriously'...there are many websites that are built on a disposable basis. For example web developers, designers and advertisers build many test sites temporarily. Spammers and abusers build low quality sites knowing that they can be shut down any time. They would go for the cheapest price, the domain name is unimportant.

As a result, some TLDs are recognised as spammy. Spamhaus has listed the 10 most abused TLD's, which include .info, .biz, .link, click etc.

I can tell you this from my own experience too - I've had a website with .online extension in the past. The site was meant to be temporary but somehow it took off. I decided to carry on and started email marketing. The email open rates were unusually low and it was obvious that my newsletters were being delivered to my subscribers' junk mail folder. It turned out it was caused by my email extension ".online". I changed my email address attached to another site with .com extension and the open rate dramatically improved afterwards.

.com .net and .org

These TLD's were originally intended to be used for different purposes and registered by relevant organisations accordingly;

  • .com (commercial) - registered by commercial organisations
  • .net (network) - registered by techie companies
  • .org (organisation) - registered by non-profit organisations

Now these domains are opened for general purposes. So anyone can use any of them freely, except most probably that non-profit organisations tend to stick to .org for transparency. You don't see a website run by a charitable group with .com for "commercial", do you? That wouldn't quite make sense.

Decide A Domain Name - .com .net .org or...

Here's a summary of suggestions - they're only suggestions and there's no rule!

  • Your primary choice should always be .com...
  • ...unless you are a non-profit organisation. Then choose .org.
  • Forget .net!
  • dot-circle-o
    If your audience is always going to be in one country (outside US), go for the country code.
  • dot-circle-o
    Other extensions can be seen as spammy, so use them only on a temporary basis, e.g. quickly build a website and test something with it. 

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Ray Alexander

Hi! I’m Ray. Over the past 15+ years I have been involved with web designing, programming and online marketing. I work from home and have a passion for exploring new tools, services and programs in order to make money online. I’m here to help you succeed in building a profitable business by sharing my experiences. Any question, don’t hesitate to ask!

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