Why the .com is still King of the Domains
When you’re starting a business, one of the first things you have to consider is its name - followed closely by its web address. And because securing a perfect .com address for your business name isn’t easy, you might consider using another domain suffix (otherwise known as a top-level domain, or TLD).
When you’re looking for a domain, there are three alternatives to the .com
You could use your own country- or region-specific TLD, like .co.uk, or .eu.
You could go for a quirky country code TLD, like those for Libya or the British Indian Ocean Territory - in other words .ly or .io - these might be cool and can convey a bit of attitude and personality. And if you’re really clever, you could be cute and make something of the combination of name and suffix, like Cute.ly
Being ahead of the game
There are now hundreds of generic TLDs to consider - the not-com domains - like .holiday, .guru, or .construction. It might be useful to tell people what business you’re in, and it could be good for SEO.
So with so many alternatives, why is the .com still King of the Domains?
1) Everyone recognises it as a web address
The .com address has been around for over 30 years. So everyone from an 80-year old grandmother to a 12-year old school kid knows that it signifies a web address. Would my mother see supreme.photography and recognise it as a web address?
2) It’s easy to remember
Because it’s the ‘default’, using a .com address means that your customers and potential customers don’t have anything else to remember. They remember your name, so by default, they’ll remember your web address (and your email address, too).
3) It has no limits
If your business deals with customers outside of your home country, or might do in the future, operating with a country-specific address could be confusing and limiting.
4) It establishes primacy
Because it sits at the top of the pile, and is used by household names, using a .com address tells people that you mean business. If you own the .com, you’re THE ‘InventedName’ not ‘just another InventedName’. Of course, it works the other way around, too. You’re not THE Amazon unless you have the .com after your name.
5) It doesn’t confuse your brand
Your brand name should be the name your customers use when they think or talk about you. Adding a .com to your name doesn’t alter that. But if your business is called Clever and you use a .ly domain, is your brand name Clever or Cleverly…?
6) Its availability is a good sign
When you’re naming your business, it might not be realistic to expect to find a completely original name - even if it were unique today, you can’t guarantee that it will remain that way for ever. But you don’t want a competitor to use the same name, and you don’t want wake up six months later to find that a multi-billion dollar corporation has launched a business using your name, either.
Registering a .com can put your mind at rest - it demonstrates the lack of a major-player competitor and it’s a great indication that your ideal name isn’t ubiquitous.