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Are .com and .net domains best?

Today I got a reader question that I thought might make an interesting discussion topic.

I am starting a new blog, and the hardest part so far has been naming it. The domain I like is only available in the .ca format. What is your opinion on using anything other than a .com or a .net? and do you think it will affect blog brand-ability?

I know there are different schools of thought on this question so it should make for an interesting discussion. I won’t sidetrack the discussion with my own opinion at this point but would like to open the floor for some reader comment. What do you think?

  • Are .com and .net best?
  • When is it OK to not go with them?
  • What factors do you consider when picking a domain name?
  • What’s more important – SEO or branding – for you?

update: With permission I can now say that this question came from Michael.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Holch says:

    Well, that is all from a very anglosaxon point of view. ;-)

    For Germany the .de Domains are working very, very well and are respected. If the blog is for example in German, I would always go with the .de domain. Of course, that makes little sense if your target audience are americans, australians, or worldwide.

    However, not taking other domains because a lot of spam comes from thos tld-areas is non-sense. I think most of the spam still comes from .com.

    By the way, .de is the tld with the second most registered domains, just to show that there is something beyond .com and .net.

    Just because in some countries .com and .net are considered to be the “national” domains, that does not mean it is right. By the way, organization with .de is less complicated than with .com, .net and .org. Surprise, surprise, very little bureaucracy with the German tld, who would have thought that? (I was just moving with 3 domains because the provider was bankrupt: 2 .de-domains and 1 .org)

  2. Arc says:

    I LAWAYS PREFER .COM ON .NET, I NEVER BAUGHT .NET DOMAIN
    http://www.futurebells.com/blog IS ALSO .COM WEBSITE

  3. Ralph Dagza says:

    If you have enough $$$ get them all from .com to .xxx

  4. mohdismail says:

    i have both of it…
    and I think both .com & .net has nothing to do with seo…
    just a matter of branding maybe..
    :)

  5. Han says:

    I’ve always found .tv, .biz, .info to be rather tacky domain names (and .tk!)

    I’ve found that I immediatly dislike a site thats not .com .net .org or .co.uk without even visiting it!

    .com I associate with companies wanting money so personally I’ve always gone for .net for my main site and .org for my portfolio.

  6. I think it all depends on the nature of the blog. If your blog’s content is local, then I think a local domain is better. I think that’s true of blogs and businesses. As a U.K. resident, it actually frustrates me the number of British companies that are using .com rather than .co.uk even though they are serving a UK only customer base. To me, .com implies either an American or a Global business or reach.

    Thus, if you are writing about something Canadian, use a .ca, if something Irish, .ie etc. is better, otherwise .com or .net are equally valid in my opinion.

    Ian

  7. Unless you are Problogger (which can bear with a .net due the popularity) I would say always go for the .com no matter what.

  8. It seems universal that a .com is the best and I would tend to agree. But, if not I am partial to the .tv domain. Why? It is memorable. Everyone has a TV but not everyone as a .us or a .org.

  9. Blaine Moore says:

    I don’t mind other websites that are not .coms when I go to visit, but for myself I only look for .com domain names. I had a country specific one as my first domain because it was cheap and I had no money (this was years ago) and I have since dropped it because nobody could get it right anyway.

  10. Burner says:

    I generally tend to rank domains in my mind. It’s like .com, .net, .org and then the rest. Country domains like .ca, .us, .uk, .ro or whatever suggest a site is dedicated to visitors from that certain country, though that’s not always the case.

    I’d say stick to a country specific domain if you’ll blog just for readers from that country or mainly for them. Otherwise a .com or .net is the way to go.

    Just my 2 cents.

  11. Bloogzy says:

    I’ve read a lot of times that search engines love dot coms.
    I’m not sure whether this is correct but every time i search something in google, i notice that dot com websites usually rank better, even if the content is less relevant than that of websites with TLDs other than dot com. Dot coms rule!

  12. Bob says:

    Probably .com is really the best in general, but I would say there are cases when other tld-s are better. The example with del.icio.us given above was good. There are many other examples of successful word games with using other tld-s. Surprisingly, my 3 most successful sites use .info and i think it suits them perfectly because they contain information

  13. .com’s are great, but as was noted it can be diffiecult to fine good names for the average person. Consulting with someone in the business may help you to find a good .com.

    Someonw else mentioned that .com’s get type-in traffic, which is true, but not for all domain names, and mostly just short, popular ones, and many of those domains already have sites or those stupid parking pages on them(don’t click on the ads, it only encourages their use.).

    So what happens when housing is short in a certain area? That’s right, prices and demand goes up, but also expansion into other areas. This is why I feel that getting a domain with another extension is not only much easier, it’s a smart investment. After .com, I think the .US domain will become the most popular as people realize it’s there. But almost any of the others including the “low rent” .info will provide you with the address you need.

    Just try to get a good, short domain for your site and don’t worry so much about branding and SEO. Having a good site and good marketing will take care of the “branding”.

  14. Jason says:

    @Andreas:

    You don’t need to be living IN Canada to register .ca, and there are many options for non Canadian citizen .ca registration. Here’s the list of those who can register .ca:

    Canadian citizen
    Permanent resident
    Legal representative
    Corporation
    Trust
    Partnership
    Association
    Trade union
    Political party
    Educational institution
    Library, Archive or Museum
    Hospital
    Her Majesty the Queen
    Indian band
    Aboriginal Peoples
    Government
    Trade-mark registered in Canada
    Official marks

    The details can be found here: http://www.cira.ca/en/cat_Registrar.html

    Oh CIRA! What’s with the PDFs?

  15. MJ Ray says:

    Now for some heresy:

    Go for a national domain if you are writing for or about that nation, can get one and aren’t in the US. If you are writing for France from France, for example, I’m pretty sure you’ll get the ‘hairy eyeball’ if you are not using .fr.
    Otherwise, go for a restricted domain (like .coop) if you are entitled to it.
    Otherwise, go for a .com.

    .com – the TLD of last resort.

    I’m disgusted by the reports above of .org being classed as spam and an online bank not allowing .be – what broken broken software!

  16. Dave says:

    The best reason to go .com over any others is usability for your users. People always default to .com first, so if someone types in your URL manually, they are going to try the .com, and if you don’t own it, that is lost potential revenue.

  17. Daniel Lucraft says:

    Changing the subject slightly, what do people think about hyphens?

    I have a project with absolutely the best name, let’s say, Hanky Panky.
    I own hankypanky.co.uk, but hankypanky.com is owned by a store specialising in large women’s clothing and .net, .org etc. are all taken.

    Do people think it would be a good idea for me to use http://www.hanky-panky.com? Or is that no good?

    I’ve been putting this off for a while, but it’s getting to the point where I need to make a decision. Please help.

  18. Matt says:

    I would say that if your content is going to be more Canadian or country specific then the countries domain is probably in your best interest. When ti comes to a general and commercial site then the .com extension is what you’re looking for in my opinion.

  19. Greg O'Byrne says:

    I spent a month or more working on my domain name until I had one that I really liked and that I could find in .com. With the express purpose of getting .com.

    My advice, spend the time gather all the words you like mix match, mashup, until you find a URL that works in .com. My perfect domain name was http://www.rivet.com, but it’s taken. (oddly enough by a rivet manufacturer, where does he get off).

    http://www.techrivet.com was a close second.

  20. infonote says:

    A .com is best. The first thing that comes in people’s mind when mentioning a website address is .com

    Another advantage is that it is more brandable.

  21. ClubEddy says:

    dot-com is the best. Others are not as good as dot-com, but those (other than dot-com) are the same.

    (1) Objective of a good domain name: Easy to remember the brand/product. So, how come you would like your readers/customers need to remember the .net or something? Just let them focus on “brand-name”.com…..

    (2) People without tech knowledge will not remember .net/.org/.us/.ca/etc. as well. Even they don’t know what is “http://”, online bookmarking, web2.0, etc…. We, as a technician, need to consider for them (We are serving them:). Domain as simple as possible.

    (3) Just typing “domain-name” in browser and press [ctrl]+[enter], it will go to http://www.domain-name.com. Good for lazy people (e.g. ClubEddy). Remember that lots of people are using old browser which does not provide .net shortcut.

    However, there is an exception:

    In Hong Kong, there is an actor called Ho Kwok Wing. He is an Australian working in Hong Kong for many years. To let HK people identify him as a popular Hong Kong actor. http://www.hokwokwing.hk is the best domain for him. At least, people will know that this guy with western face comes from HK!! Same as point (1): Branding is everything for a domain.

    Another exception is that, non-profit organization should avoid .com. Because .com seems present a profit digging “company”. Using .ca or .net are okay.

    Therefore, only use domain other then .com, EXCEPT only very specific purpose.

    ~Sorry for bad English~

  22. Amber says:

    I’ve gone with .co.uk for my personal site, and a blog focusing on UK TV, but would always pick a .com or .net for commercial blogs. Anything else just says “I was too late to grab the .com” as far as I’m concerned.

  23. Cos says:

    I usually got with .com or .org, but my recent domain is .org, cause the other 2 TLDs were taken. I have had other .orgs and they still go found my Search Engien traffic so in reality it’s not a huge difference. I guess it depends what your goal is for your site. But like I said for search engine traffic it really doesn’t matter at all. As long as you get listed in the search engines for whatever keywords you are targeting, and people find it, then they will click the link and visit your site. I have over 20 domains, some long ass names and they get lots of search engine traffic. For branding your site it’s not as good,r but for search engine traffic it doesn’t matter one bit.

  24. Christian says:

    I say .com because it’s the only thing the masses remember.

  25. Rangga says:

    LOL! remind me long time ago when I was first surfing the web… I thought .com was for commercial website, .net for non-commercial and .org for official non-profit organization.

    back to the topic, .com and second .net are better remembered

  26. Max says:

    You definitely want to have a .com. I would settle for nothing less. Also, if you can, keep all the words together like http://www.carboncopyprofits.com rather than a website with dashes ie. http://www.carbon-copy-profits.com

    I have experimented with this on many sites and the first example always comes up first.

    The same is true for http://www.dataentryreviews.com vs. http://www.data-entry-reviews.com. The 2nd website used to have a PR of 5 but the first one has beat it already.

    So keep that in mind. I would spend at least an hour if not more brainstorming on your domain names. This is critical.

    I would also check out Wordtracker.com

    Good Luck,

    Max

  27. Nick says:

    I m certainly go with the .Com and the .NET….

  28. markowe says:

    That’s interesting, about NOT using hyphens – I would have assumed they were better for SEO as search engines maybe could not distinguish between the words dataentryreviews, or whatever.

    Hyphenated domains would be better human-readable too. What’s the thinking behind the non-hyphenated domain name?

  29. elton says:

    I have 39 domains. If I could i would make them all .com, I cant just say go to sanews i have to say go to sanews.net every time which is not the same. Just doesnt have the same impact.

  30. color says:

    .com is the king. I’ve registered .com tld for my main website

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Darren got my neurons flowing earlier with his latest post on how important .com and .net domains are. Rather than just saying “.com is best” he posed some really thought-provoking questions, and I thought I’d give my personal responses to them here for everyone to read. I’d also like to hear what some of my readers think about them. [...]

  2. [...] Uh oh – I’d better change the name of this blog to a .com rather than a .ca. Someone wrote in to ProBlogger asking Are .com and .net domains best? and the vast majority of commenters all default to .com when they’re typing in a web address. They also associate .ca and other country specific domains to contain country specific information. [...]