Which domain extensions are best for your small business?

You’ve probably guessed the answer: It depends on the use of the domain or website. Commercial businesses use .com, non-profits use .org, and colleges use .edu? But is it really that simple? Let’s discuss!

You’ve probably heard of .com, which is probably the most popular domain extension (also known as Top Level Domain, TLD) in the world. It is an open TLD, that means any person or entity is allowed to register and use the TLD. The competition to get your desired domain name with the .com extension can be fierce and there is a sort of premium to having it. Especially if the domain name is short! For example, BBQ.com is appraised to be worth more than $25,000 (appraisal by GoDaddy, September 2021). In my opinion, every business should have a .com extension if at all possible. Although it being expected and maybe a bit boring, a simple [FullBusinessName].com can serve well as a business page.

What if your desired domain name with the .com extension is already taken? That is the most common reason I’ve heard from individuals and small businesses choosing a different TLD such as .net, .co and .us. I encourage you to think more purposely before simply choosing the “second more popular” domain extension you know of. Here are 3 strategies to consider:

  1. Branding First Strategy

Works great if your ideal customers are from a younger crowd. A short, memorable, sentence-like domain works well to help catapult your business into becoming a household name. For example, if you have a BBQ business, instead of BBQ.com, you can try BBQ.ninja! It’s fresh, confident and memorable.

  • SEO First Strategy

For the small businesses that rely heavily on the search engines, you can try a domain name that focuses more on important keywords and a country code TLD. For example, if your BBQ business only sells within the USA, a .us domain extension can help bring in more of the correct local customers. Here’s an example: bestBBQindallas.us

  • Soft Sale or Give First Strategy

If your business is built upon information and recommendation (e.g. magazine, blog, club, etc.), try a .org or .news domain extension. Yes, .org is now an open and unrestricted TLD just like .com! For a BBQ enthusiast and For-Profit business, try something like allthingsBBQ.org

I hope you find these strategies helpful! As of April 2021, there are more than 1500 TLDs. Not all TLDs are open and some TLDs have specific restrictions. Please feel free to contact Witmer Group if you’re contemplating purchasing a new domain name for your business or marketing strategy and we will be happy to help you make a choice that is best for your specific needs!

Until next time,
Joo Ann Lee
Data Scientist at Witmer Group