There is a huge debate about which domain extension to use. Internet marketers usually have a different opinion than registrars who want to sell the most exotic domain extensions like .BIZ .TV .ME .NAME and so forth for a nice profit. Here is my answer to to that discussion.
The short answer:.COM is recognizable as Internet domain by the largest group of people when compared to the wide-spread of other generic top level domain extensions (gTLD) like: .NET .ORG .EDU or .GOV
When you say, MyBrand.COM, almost everybody will know instantly that you are talking about your Internet domain and they will associate it with a website as well.
.COM is definitely the strongest brand among all top level domains
As the domain name space has filled up rather quickly new gTLD were invented for use by businesses worldwide: .BIZ .INFO
And as I have read today the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, ICANN.org, which is the governing body of the Internet, plans to introduce hundreds of new top level domains.
That said I still believe that .COM will remain the strongest domain brand. At least in the Western world.
With .COM you simply cannot go wrong
Used by businesses, other organizations and individuals
For profit and non-profit, commercial, noncommercial, personal, ... basically any legal purpose.
Allows registrants from all over the world.
A very reasonable registration fee. As opposed to some country code top level domains, which cost more than 100 times the .COM fee.
A newly setup .COM domain propagates very quickly on the Internet. Meaning you can use it worldwide in less than the usual 48 hour time period.
Some SEO (search engine optimization) specialists also claim, that .COM domains are treated favorably by search engines, especially by Google. Although Google likes .ORG domains these days as well.
Besides recommending the .COM extension, what makes up a good domain name?
A Great Domain Name - Some quick rules
Is it unique and catchy?
Is it descriptive?
Does it convey the right image?
Is it memorable?
Can people type it without misspellings when they only hear it?
The shorter the better!
These rules are targeted toward the human psychology. However there are more marketing and SEO related rules that you might want to keep in mind as well.
People find websites on the Internet by typing in keywords in search engines. It is generally a good idea, if your domain name contains keywords people will actually use to find your website. Yes, that means do some keyword and market research.
Last but not least the legal part of it.
Follow the legal guidelines given by your registrar and the registry, which you will agree with during the process of your domain purchase. Just don't infringe any one's trademark and make sure your chosen domain name does not include a brand name or other trademark.
You have certainly noticed that I have chosen one of the worst possible domain names for this blog. I started it when I knew little about these issues. Anyway it's just not a priority of mine right now to move the blog to a different domain or to restart it from scratch.
One additional note.
Email marketing has its own and additional rules. For example the .BIZ top level domain is associated with spam. Email sent from a .BIZ domain is more likely to be blocked as spam. In general it's not a bad idea to send your email marketing campaigns from a separate .COM domain that you register just for that purpose. That way your regular email traffic is distinct from your large email campaigns. I see many companies and Internet marketers do this (for various reasons, but in general it diversifies risk of getting blocked.)
Generating Website Traffic - Carnival 14
Welcome to the April 1, 2009 edition of website traffic.
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I agree .com is always the best if you can get the domain name you want...but don't get hung-up on it.
If www.laptopcomputers.com wasn't available (for example) but www.laptopcomputers.org or laptopcomputers.info were available...then the .info or .org would be just fine.
Both .org and .info are growing rapidly in popularity (and both are 'accepted' by Google).
(*) It is also always desirable to have your main keyword in your domain name! This will help you get more free traffic as well as cheaper PPC traffic (e.g. Google AdWords quality score ) Yes, you MUST do keyword research !
(*) It should be easy to spell, hard to misspell. Therefore, avoid hyphens or numbers.
(*) Some say .TV will be big. If you do anything with video it makes sense to reserve an appropriate .TV domain(s).
I agree 100% that .com is the best TLD. I would disagree with Andrew about .info. Like .biz, I believe that .info is often seen as spammy (maybe by Google as well). If you can't get the .com that you want, I would either stick with .net or .org, or your country code.
I have been doing some keyword research lately, and I have noticed that the first result in Google usually has the keyword in the domain, even if that domain has less page rank than competing sites. It is only with a domain with a page rank of 5 or above, that I have seen it consistently rank at #1 even without the keyword in the domain. So I should not have used my name as my domain name, I guess
Speaking of domain names, I should be the last person you listen to. I mean look at my below average choice. Not even writing a book can help me. (But at least I know it.) I am obviously just blogging for the fun part of it, and make money elsewhere.