How to Choose a Domain Name: .com vs .net vs .org

When you choose a domain name for your website, you'll find an overwhelming number of options. In addition to the second-level domain (for example, "hostforweb" or "amazon"), you'll also have to choose a top-level domain (TLD) name. The top-level domain name is the opposite of a subdomain as it falls at the end of the URL. The most popular top-level domain name is ".com," though you're also probably familiar with ".net" and ".org" TLDs. 

In fact, there are well over 1,000 different TLDs, and each one has a different meaning. 

Here is an overview of three of the most popular TLDs and how to choose one.

What is a .com TLD

A .com TLD stands for "commerce" and was originally used for ecommerce websites. However, it is now the default TLD for most websites, and today over 50 percent of all websites have a .com TLD. 

As .com is a common TLD, most users feel comfortable browsing these sites. This familiarity can be beneficial from an SEO perspective as websites that use obscure TLDs may experience lower click through rates. While Google and other popular search engines do not claim to prefer one TLD over another, the click-through rate can impact search engine rankings.

For branding purposes, a .com TLD is also much more memorable than any other domain name.

The only drawback with a .com TLD is that its popularity can make it difficult to find an available domain. Most single word domain names are only available privately, and some can cost hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars.

What is a .net TLD

If you can't find your dream domain name with a .com TLD, you may consider using a .net TLD instead. The .net TLD stands for "networking," and is one of the original TLDs created in 1985. At its inception, the .net TLD was intended to be used by network websites, though it's now used by a variety of websites.

Overall, it's a quality TLD, though it doesn't have the prestige of a .com TLD. Additionally, if your competitor has the .com TLD, remember that your prospects may be searching for you and accidentally type in your competitor's domain instead. Therefore, only use a .net in place of a .com if the taken .com is not a direct competitor.

What is a .org TLD

A .org TLD stands for "organization" and is largely used by non-profit and educational organizations. As it's associated with charities and non-profit organizations, the .org TLD holds more trust than most other TLDs. Nonetheless, it is available to anyone to use, and you are not required to submit any documentation proving that you are an organization to purchase a .org TLD.  Therefore, businesses, entrepreneurs, and other for-profit organizations are allowed to use the .org domain.

The Bottom Line

In an ideal scenario, a new business or blogger would find a .com domain. However, it isn't necessary to spend an excessive amount of money on a domain name when starting a new venture. Follow standard domain name best practices and focus on gaining momentum on your website before investing more.

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