Choosing a Top Level Domain

Posted: Monday May 9th

Choosing the domain name for your website should be done with care. It should be easy to remember and SEO-friendly. The top level domain (TLD for short) is the final part of a web address such as .com, .org or .net etc. Taking care to choose the right TLD for your website is important and while, in many cases, a .com address is ideal, it is not always suitable. The following provides some tips on choosing the best TLD for your website.

When to Use a .com TLD

The .com TLD is by far the most popular in use today. This is for good reason too. By default, most browsers allow you to automatically complete a web address by pressing control and enter when you type the name of the website. Doing this will automatically add the www. and the .com parts of the address and then open up the website. This can be customized though few people ever bother to do it.

Many people are more likely to remember a .com address as well. For this reason, a .com address is ideal for any site targeted towards an international audience. If in doubt, a .com address is still the best option.

When to Use a Country Code TLD

Country code TLDs also have their place, though they are often not as useful as a .com address. If your website is targeted towards a more local audience, a country code TLD immediately tells visitors that they are looking at a local website. If you run an online shop selling products in the UK to UK citizens, a address would be much more suitable. For advertising purposes, it lets visitors know that the site is specifically relevant to them. This may be exactly what you want to achieve.

Other TLDs

Other fairly popular TLDs include .info, .net and .org. These are best suited to informational resources, portal websites and non-profit organizations respectively. Registering one of these TLDs is generally not advisable unless it is registered in addition to a .com or other domain. An exception to this is the .net TLD. This can be more suitable for Internet-related services. A .com version of the address should still be registered as well.

There are other TLDs which are suitable for specific types of content. This includes some Country Code TLDs which are open for registration to almost anyone. Some examples of these include .me for Montenegro, .fm for Micronesia, .tv for Tuvalu and .cd for Congo. While it might seem catchier for an online radio website to use the .fm extension, it is still usually a good idea to have a .com version as well.

There are many other TLDs which are restricted and can only be used be specific types of organizations such as .mobi for mobile websites, .aero for airlines and .gov for government organizations etc.

Internationalized Country Code TLDs

An internationalized country code TLD is a TLD for a specific country which uses a script other than the standard Latin-based ASCII text. Although internationalized domains are still in their infancy, some of them are now available in certain locations. As it becomes harder to find the perfect address with so many other websites to contend with, internationalized TLDs may become very popular in the coming years. It is still a long way off before international TLDs become standard. For this reason, it is currently not advisable to rely on them. Internationalized TLDs are currently available for the Cyrillic, Arabic and Chinese scripts.

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