13 Sep, 2010

Do you need to buy all the options of a domain name?

.com, .ca, .org, .net, .biz... To some people the choice of domain name extension is bewildering, to others it's a veritable smörgåsbord of dot whatevers.

So how do you steer yourself through the minefield of domain name extensions without spending large amounts of $'s registering lots of unnecessary domain names?

First you need to sit down and think about the domain name you've chosen, then you need to check that it's available in the various domain name extensions e.g. .com, .ca etc that you're interested in.

How do you decide whether you need a .com, .ca, .org, .net or something else?

To confirm one thing before we go any further, all domain extensions are visible on the internet. If you have something.ca it's just as visible as something.com or something.org on the internet. It really depends on whether you want to show that you're a Canadian company, in which case why not shoot for .ca, or if you want to have a more global look then .com may be your choice if it's available, or if you're an organisation then .org might be perfect for you.

It's worth remembering that .coms are usually the first version of a domain name to be registered. Also if people are trying to guess a domain name they usually stick .com on the end as their first attempt, but that's not a good enough reason to go for .com by itself.

Another consideration for registering domain names with various extensions is do you want to make sure that no competitor can register the same domain name with a different extension? For example, if you register supercoolwidget.com and you make fantastic one of a kind widgets do you want someone else to register supercoolwidget.ca and then sell nasty mass produced junk? This aspect does need some consideration because there may be some crossover or confusion about the two entirely different companies.

If you are registering multiple domain names with different extensions to stop competitors registering them, then you also need to be prepared to shell out quite a few dollars for registration and renewals to ensure they stay registered to you, not your competitor.

And of course, your website developer will always be able to advise you if you need help in deciding what extension to choose, it's what we're here for.