domain suffixes

It can be challenging to find the right domain suffix for your business. On top of a great domain name, you have to make sure that no one else has that domain name with suffix (e.g., .com or .org). is probably already taken.

Suppose you decide on

Oops. is taken. Should you try .net or .org? .Com, .net, and .org are known as domain suffixes. So are .uk (United Kingdom), .ca (Canada), and .gf (French Guiana), which refer to countries and regions. You can use .travel, .store, .edu, and many others (see ComputerHope for a pretty thorough list of Internet domain suffixes).

Between January and April 2012, you could even buy your own top level domain (TLD) for $185,000 (plus an annual $25K fee). You could choose .cupcake, .whatever, or .homedecor. Even something related to the name of your business, such as .coke.

For a full list of applied-for TLDs, go to ICANN.

But here’s the thing about any domain suffix other than .com.

As of this writing, most people assume your company will end in .com (and sometimes .gov and .org). If they remember your domain name and add the suffix .com, they expect to arrive at your home page.

So if you choose this other-than-dot-com route, you’ll need to promote your web address heavily in order for it to succeed. And when all’s said and done, you’ll probably still need to buy .com (at the very least), so you can redirect traffic from the expected suffix to your vanity suffix.

It matters not which of the three popular domain suffixes (.com, .net. or .org) you choose. Each is equal in the eyes of Google and other search engines.

Unless you’re a nonprofit, you don’t need .org.

So your real choice is between .com and .net.

A friend of mine, years ago, chose .net because her shop’s name was already taken. As a result, some of her customers go to the .com version and mistakenly order flowers there. Fortunately both shops use the same online system, so the other shop sends the orders on to my friend, as it would do in any case.

But what about the people who get to “the other site” and realize it’s not my friend’s? They have a choice: do a search (at least two more clicks) to find my friend’s web site, or move on. My friend reports that “the other site” receives “a handful” of orders that it sends on to her. You do the math.

SO … “Should I choose .com, .net, .org, or another suffix?”

For now, choose .com or come up with a domain name that allows you to use .com.

Remember, .com is the very best way to go if you want to make sure your customers find you.

.com, .net, .org, or another domain suffix?

by susan time to read: 2 min

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