Updated September 12, 2019.
Your business needs to put its best foot forward to reach all of the customers in your audience.
A great domain name can help you do that, but with so many different domain extensions, or top-level domains (TLDs) available, how do you know which one to use?
The right TLD depends on the kind of business, products, or services you have, and how you’d like to differentiate yourself from the rest of your industry. This article will help you identify what TLDs work best for your business, so keep reading.
Choose your top-level domain, or TLD, based on your needs.
As with most things, the TLD for you is the one that best fits your needs. Generic top-level domains (gTLDs) are some of the most common names you’ll see, like .com or .net. Sponsored top-level domains (sTLDs) were designed for specific groups, such as colleges or government organizations, such as .gov. Country code domain extensions (ccTLDs) are reserved for area-specific organizations, like .us or .ca.
All domain names are unique — there can be no two exactly the same. The domain name you use should give a sense as to what your site or business is, and most importantly, it needs to be available. For example, .com is the most commonly used TLD, so there’s a decent chance the domain name you want is already registered. This is when more unique domain extensions, or TLDs, like .biz, .club, and .tech come in handy.
The domain extensions you’ll see most often
Many new extensions are released frequently, so you’ll find the perfect domain name no matter what your needs or goals. However, if you’d like to use a more common domain extension, like .com or .org, you still can — you may just end up paying a little more for a premium domain name. Premium domain names are easy to remember, easy to pronounce, and are usually very brandable, so they’re worth the extra cost.
Some of the most common domain extensions you’ll see are:
- .com – The most popular TLD around, this was originally designed for commercial businesses, but can now be used by any individual or organization on the Internet.
- .biz – Designed for use by businesses.
- .org – Most commonly used by nonprofit organizations, this domain extension has since grown to be nearly as ubiquitous as .com. Anyone can register a .org domain name.
- .net – Like a lot of TLDs, this one was intended for use by networks (think Cox Cable), but can now be used and registered by anyone.
- .gov – Unlike the domain extensions above, the .gov TLD continues to be restricted, meaning only government organizations are permitted to use it.
- .mobi – Oftentimes a company or organization registers their domain name using .mobi if they’re showing a mobile-only version of their website.
- .us (or other country specific domains) – You’re likely to only see ccTLDs that match your home country. These are restricted, and may only be registered by a company or organization that resides within the same country. For example, only US companies may register a .us domain name.
How to choose the right TLD for your domain name
Different domain extensions won’t affect how your website functions on the internet. Some companies prefer using the .com domain extension to show that they’re successful enough to afford a premium domain, while other companies choose niche-specific domain extensions.
For those companies representing a niche, domain extensions like .space can help reassure your customers that you’re the expert that understands them. You can also use your niche TLD in a creative way to create a domain name that truly stands out (e.g. – using the domain name BrewBetter.beer for a craft brewery instead of BrewBetter.com.)
Choose the domain extension that best represents you
No matter what domain extension you choose, you want the one that best represents your business to your customers. With so many domain extensions to choose from, there’s no reason you can’t find the perfect fit.