Is a dot com better for my website?

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First things first

If you’re buying your first domain name, you’re probably asking yourself “is a .com domain name better?” The short answer is that a .com domain name is globally recognized, which gives it certain advantages over some other domain extensions.

But that’s not the only factor in play when choosing a domain name. Let’s explore the issue of whether a dot com domain is better by looking at the factors in play.

What is a .com domain?

If you want to buy a domain name, you may have some basic questions about .com and other domain extensions.

In fact, one of the questions you have is probably “what is a domain extension anyway?” Put simply, a domain extension is the bit that comes after the dot in a domain name. The proper name for a domain extension is a top-level domain, or TLD.

The .com domain is just one of many hundreds of TLDs available today.

 

Man looking at his smartphone

If you want to learn more about the history of .com domains, you can read this guide.

But in this post, we’re going to focus on practical uses of the .com TLD.

Advantages of a .com domain

One of a handful of original domain extensions, the benefits of using .com for your website include:

  • Widely known – Most people have seen the .com extension, which means it adds trust to your website
  • Doesn’t tie a website to a particular location – If you’re looking to do business in more than one location, then .com provides you with a domain name that will work well in most markets.
  • Easy to remember – The fact it’s short and well-known means that people are more likely to remember your website’s address if it ends with .com, rather than a newer, less familiar TLD.

That may not seem like a huge list of advantages, and it’s true that in many cases an alternative domain extension will work just as well as a .com domain.

For example, there is no inherent search engine ranking advantage in going for a .com domain name (despite a persistent myth that there is).

Related: What is domain authority, why should I want it and how do I get it?

The only drawback

There is one significant disadvantage to opting for a .com domain, and that is its popularity. You may find that the domain name you want to buy (the bit that comes before the dot) has already been taken on .com.

In such as case, you might have to switch to another domain extension to get the domain name you want. Just make sure that you aren’t violating any intellectual property such as trademarks when buying your domain.

Which is better .com or .au?

Just as Colombia has .co and China has .cn, Australia has a two-letter country code of its own: .au. Australian business owners can also opt for these extensions:

  • .com.au for commercial enterprises of all kinds
  • .net.au a great alternative if your .com.au is taken
  • .org.au the place for Aussie communities

If your customers are primarily within Australia, using one or more of these domain extensions for your website will allow you to benefitGraphic showing Australian domain names from the buy-local movement that has bloomed since COVID-19. A web address such as YourBusiness.com.au tells everyone at a glance you’re located right here in ‘Straya.

If you’re planning to attract website visitors and customers from outside the country, then you may want to go for a .com domain.

To get the best of both worlds, buy both the .com and .au versions of your domain name. That way, you can make sure that no one else buys the one you didn’t and uses it to snaffle away visitors who would have otherwise made it to your website.

Use one as your primary domain name and forward the other one to your website. Here’s how it’s done.

Related: Is your business .au ready?

Summing up

Buying a .com domain does offer certain advantages, but you may need to be flexible about the web address you get if you’re set on a .com.

You may also want to buy your domain name across multiple domain extensions in order to protect your brand.

You can learn more about what makes a good domain name in this guide.

Will Stevens
Will joined the GoDaddy EMEA team in 2017, following the acquisition of HEG. He covers all aspects of digital marketing, from SEO to email, for the GoDaddy UK blog. Previously, he has worked in online journalism and also conducted online marketing campaigns for a number of well-known brands.