When you finally come up with the perfect business name your next step is to visit GoDaddy and see if the .com domain is available. Inevitably your perfect business name is already taken and you’re left wondering, “Is the .net okay or how about the .me? Are those okay for my domain name?”
To know if using something other than a .com is acceptable you need to know a bit about what each domain extension means.
Do You Know What .com Actually Stands For? I Didn’t!
Though the .com is the most sought after domain extension it doesn’t have any impact on any technical details regarding your site. Historically, the .com stands for a website meant for commercial intent or commercial enterprise.
The next most popular extension is the .org which historically means non-profit organization. After that you have .net which means net infrastructure such as Comcast, or Cox and then you have .mil which is military, .gov which is government and lastly .edu which is education.
Can I Use An Extension That Isn’t Necessarily the Proper Association
The short answer to whether or not you can use a domain extension that isn’t meant for your website type, for instance using a .net when a .com is more historically appropriate, is yes, you can. There are no regulating entities that approve or allow domain registrations. In the last 10 years, even more domain extensions have been added which further complicates the question of which to use if your .com is taken.
A simple search on GoDaddy will render a dozen or more alternative suggests if your ideal domain is taken. Some of the alternative extensions that are newer since 2012 would be .co, .me or .cc. These extensions are less popular and you’ll most likely find that while that perfect .com isn’t available, the .co, .me or .cc is available. Is there any reason why you wouldn’t use these extensions to secure that perfect business name?
The Simple Truth About Domain Names
There are two truths that you need to know as you make a decision regarding your domain name.
The first truth is .com is the most desirable. If you can secure a .com for your business with your perfect name or a variant of your perfect name, that should be your first option. This is the best practice for domain names and unless you have a good reason why a variant of your perfect .com won’t work for you, it should be your choice.
The second truth is that in nearly all scenarios, your domain name or domain extension will not make or break your business. Being awesome, providing value and having sought after products and services will make or break your business.
You have to keep those two truths in mind as you make your domain selection.
One other item to keep in mind is that your domain name will have an impact on your search results to a certain extent. If you are a New York sandwich shop and you can secure newyorksandwichshop.com that will play a factor into people searching for New York sandwich shop. However, if you like Johnny Cupcakes and your domain has nothing to do with cupcakes, you won’t find yourself ranking for cupcake searches because your site won’t talk about cupcakes.
Check out JohnnyCupcakes.com to see what I mean.
Just Tell Me, Am I Okay Buying Something Other Than a .com?
There is one more thing you need to know before the final answer. Your domain will be attached to search traffic history.
Why does this matter.
Let’s say that you want perfectceramiccoffeemugs.com but you purchase perfectcoffeemugs.co because it was available. When you launch your site you will begin building a rapport with search engines on that domain. If you change your domain name you will need to create redirects to all of the new pages because search engines will serve up old pages.
In addition, a domain name also has unofficial health grades. If you implement bad practices and try and trick search engines, they’re smart – they will figure it out. Your domain name health will be downgraded and search engines will avoid sending traffic your way. In the same way, if you build up a helpful website, over time search engines will favor your content and send people your way.
The reason to share this is to say, you can switch domains down the road, but you really want to land on a domain that you will be able to use for the long haul.
Just Tell Me What I Should Buy
Your domain should be easy to remember, indicative of your industry and should be clear over clever, meaning if you’re using the word great, you wouldn’t want to say gr8successonline.com.
Go for your .com, then look at .net and after that move to .co, .cc, .biz and others – but only those as a last resort. Work hard to land on a .com you can rest easy with.
Once you choose your domain, commit to it. Don’t switch domains. Don’t get wishy washy. Commit and begin building. Your content will be the determining factor of whether or not your business sinks or swims, not your domain name.
I realize you may still have questions. If you’d like to reach out to me or make a comment on this article, please send me a Tweet or use one of the buttons below. If I can help, I definitely will. Do not let your domain name anxiety prevent you from starting your business – let’s get you launched.