Are .COM Domain Names The Best Choice in 2021?

Published: 1 month ago

One thing I realized during my time in web and blog development is that the name of your site goes beyond the brand name. Bloggers, developers, and marketers often ask themselves “What is the best extension for a domain name?”. With all the choices available, it can take some time to pick the right one.

close up of web browser, shallow dof on the address bar

Of course, the most popular domain is .com. Unfortunately, the supply no longer meets demand. You may have a better chance of seeing Hailey’s Comet twice in your lifetime than getting a .com domain for your site. However, don’t completely give up. Some things are worth fighting for - and a .com domain is one of them. You may have to pay extra for it, but it will be money well spent.

Extension availability is another reason why you should think about your current brand name when starting any business venture. You should consider if your related .com is also available. If you name your brand “ I Love Chocolate”, the related .com is most likely gone.

This technical series will focus on the different domains at your disposal when you build a site. Let’s take a look at what makes .com so coveted in the web world.

What Are The Most Popular Domains?

Upon further research, I realized that there are way way way more domain names than I thought. For the longest time, I thought a domain came in about three flavors - .com .net and org. On the contrary, domains may be considered a smorgasbord. The top ten domain extensions are :

  1. .com
  2. .de
  3. .net
  4. .uk
  5. .org
  6. .cn
  7. .ga
  8. .tk
  9. .nl
  10. .ru

Some domains like .uk and .cn will give away the country where the website is set up. A domain like .io is almost a country domain, since it is usually assigned to sites in the Chagos Archipelago of south India and the British Indian Ocean Territory. However, the domain is mostly used by tech startups right in the USA. Read more about .io (here - internal link placeholder)

While I love the aesthetic of having a site name ending in .fun or .world (yes those are real domains but far down the list), the reality is that a .com is the best. One reason, among many, involves search.

Domain Relevance in SEO

When you have a brand, your name is important. Not only the official company name, but a domain name that fits. Can you imagine our nation’s highest office using the www.Whitehouse.fun domain? How about a city like Baltimore using www.baltimorecity.world domain? Hum, it does not look right, does it? That is because your domain says a lot about your brand's seriousness or authority.

With a .com domain, it simply fits any brand. While both sites for the Whitehouse and Baltimore end in a .gov, a .com would not take away from their brand or credibility. However, a site name like, www.Baltimore City.world makes me think of an amusement park.

It makes sense to want a .org if you are a non-profit organization,.edu for educational institutions like universities, .gov for government sites like the Whitehouse. However, .com is the standard for everything else. The .com domain extension is used on 75% of websites in the United States.

SEO engines are built for relevance and quality. An unusual domain may look suspicious in a search algorithm. 

In terms of popularity. Com websites account for 52.3% of the world’s most popular websites. The second most popular domain .ru, only accounts for 5.9 % of the most popular websites in the world. That is a pretty huge gap between the most popular and the 2nd most popular extensions.

People Make Assumptions

Whether you are an international enterprise or a start-up blog, you want a name that people can remember. Let’s be honest, we tend to default to a .com when typing in a webname or searching for one. People are 3.8 times more likely to type a.com when looking for a website. If you are a blogger, you certainly don’t want to miss out on backlink traffic, if the person linking to your site defaults to a .com.

If the extension is too weird or unknown, it can be hard to remember. We may erroneously think a site is broken or down if we type (name.com) for a site that is actually (name.space). Some developers may think ahead and create a redirect, but everyone won’t.

Build Trust

As mentioned with SEO, your extension plays a role in how search engines trust your website. I must be honest, I refuse to open emails or click internal email links that have different extensions because I assume it is spam or a virus. There are simply too many cases of hacking to take a chance online. If you are a business with a funky-looking extension and you rely on email marketing, imagine how much business you may be losing.

A trust ranking study by Growbadger gives the .com extension a ranking of 3.5 out of 5. 

Final Thoughts on .COM Extensions

As previously stated, the .com extension’s popularity has made it the diamond of the web world. Unless you are a government site, university, or non-profit, you will most likely want or be identified with a .com. Serious businesses may have to pay more money for one or even reconsider their brand name to fit an available one. Other extensions are available for your business needs and may be just as secure as a .com. It does not change the fact that a .com has more benefits at the moment. 

With that said, this series will cover more extensions that you may consider if no .com is available for your business. Before you launch or relaunch a site, review this series before making a final decision.

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