A common question asked when attempting to find a domain name for a new website is whether getting a dot-com domain name is necessary. Probably the hardest part with starting any online business is attempting to find a domain name that is not already registered with the dot-com suffix—as most of them are taken. The dot-com suffix is by far the most recognized domain suffix of them all, which is probably why many ask this question in the first place.
Dot Com Rules the Market
My first word of advice is this: If you can find a dot-com domain name that matches a good business name for you, then you should get it. Anyone thinking about the internet thinks “Dot-com,” and because of this, they recognize it as being a more reputable website over the alternative suffixes.
Let’s say you’re searching for razor blades on the internet and you ran upon two websites. One is highqualityrazorblades.com, and the other is highqualityrazorblades.biz. Which website would you conclude by only seeing the domain names as being more reputable? This will probably answer your question of which domain suffix is best to have—dot com rules the market.
Whether you plan to start a new blog, market a non-for-profit business, or provide an informational website, a dot-com suffix can often be an appropriate suffix because of its popularity. Sure, many non-for-profit organizations use the .org suffix. However, I’d still always consider getting the dot-com suffix if it is available. Simply put, dot-coms rule the market because they have a higher perceived reputation and they are also easier to remember.
Some Exceptions to the rule
Unless you’re trying to prove a scientific law that can never be broken—like the law of gravity, there are always exceptions to every rule (including this one). There are many successful businesses online today that do not use the dot-com suffix, so it’s not to say that not having a dot-com suffix means you will not be successful online. In fact, there are even times when the dot-com suffix may be inappropriate, or using an alternative domain suffix is better. Because of this, there are two important areas you should consider when choosing your domain suffix—your branding, as well as how you plan to advertise your domain name.
Think About Your Branding
Branding is defined as how you want others to perceive your business, as well as its products and services. Always think of your domain name in terms of how you want to brand your website’s purpose. When thinking with this mindset, you may discover that a dot-com domain name may not be appropriate.
A perfect example I can give for this is regarding a popular television evangelist by the name of Benny Hinn. Benny Hinn has been scrutinized for living an extremely lavish lifestyle from the millions of donated dollars given to his organization. Because of this, he advertises his website as bennyhinn.org and not bennyhinn.com.
Think About how you will Advertise Your Website
Another consideration is how you are advertising your website. If you are advertising through Google or other popular search engines where they may decide to come to your website later and need to memorize it, or through the radio or other similar advertising mediums where the person needs to memorize the your domain name—I would recommend a dot-com domain. This is because it is always easier for individuals to remember dot-com suffixes over all the other hundreds of domain suffixes available on the market.
However, I have seen instances where other suffixes have been used because they were deemed more appropriate. For instance, I have watched infomercials on television (such as the famous “as-seen-on-TV” infomercials) that consistently keep their website domain name appearing with a dot-TV suffix. Televised infomercials’ goal usually isn’t attempting you to memorize the website so you go to it later. They are wanting you to go online right away and purchase whatever they are advertising. Because of this, a dot-TV suffix can probably help with this approach.