There’s a universal agreement among experts that the dot com domain is the most desirable TLD (top-level domain) to have for a website. But why is this and is this rule carved into stone? When is it possible to bend or disregard this rule, if that is possible at all?
Why a Dot Com Domain Is the Best Choice
- The dot com domain is one of the oldest TLD’s around.
- The .com is the TLD that the general public associate with websites. If they hear a domain name, they assume the extension is .com. This can confuse your visitors who may end up going to the .com version (which may be an active or parked site) instead.
- The dot com domain implies a commercial, or business, site which is what many (if not most) of us want to make.
- Most of the leading websites today have .com extensions.
Problems with Getting a Dot Com Domain
These are all very good reasons to stick with dot com domains. But of course there are difficulties to go with these.
Good dot com domains are very hard to find. You would be lucky indeed to find a two-word (that is dictionary words) domain that’s still free. And still even luckier if you can find a single-word domain that’s appealing and recognizable in your language. Most excellent, “premium” domains are either taken up or for sale– at very high prices. Unless you have the money or want a particular domain very badly, you don’t want to go that route.
Often to get a dot com domain close to what you originally wanted, you’d have to add an extra word or two or a hyphen to the name. For example, if you first wanted “word.com” but it’s already taken, you might try “my-word.com” or “myeasywordlookup.com.” Yet this results in a long and/or awkward name which can offset the benefits having a .com domain brings.
Sometimes a dot com domain may not fit what your website is about. If you’re making a website about for a non-profit organization or a government body, then .org or .gov would be more appropriate. If you are targeting a specific part of the world, it makes sense to get a country-specific TLD instead such as .co.uk or .com.ph.
When Can You Use a Non-Dot Com Domain?
Some people have a “dot com at any cost” philosophy. That is, they argue you should try and get a domain with .com TLD no matter how different it may be from your original choice, or how expensive it is to buy the domain if it is for sale. This argument is quite valid, but I don’t think it applies to everyone.
My view is this:
If you have a website that you think may become very popular one day, then get the dot com version right away, or as soon as you can afford it. This will protect you from a domain shark who may try to take advantage of your site’s popularity years down the road. (Like with ProBlogger.net whose owner had to buy the .com version of his site for several thousands of dollars.)
But if you are making a minor website such as a mini “made for AdSense” site, or a satellite of your main site, or if you simply don’t expect to be a “big dog” in the game, then it is okay to not have dot com domain. You may just end up getting the domain name you prefer– perhaps with a .net or .org TLD.
Also if you do not have a brand, product or company to promote with your website, again I think you can get away with a non-dot com name. It’d be a different story if say, you own a toy store. You’d really want to get the domain name that matches your store’s name then.
My blog does not have .com extension. It doesn’t bother me a bit, and to be honest, it works as it is. Never forget that there are other factors that can influence your site’s performance such as SEO, SEM and good old-fashioned killer content.