Brand Identity: Choosing the Right Domain Extension

Creating the perfect brand identity is a lengthy and challenging process. There are many factors that need to be considered, ranging from big decisions to the smallest of details.

After all, you want to present your brand to your audience in the best way possible, so everything must be perfect.

One of the most important factors is establishing an online presence for your brand. That requires a website and every website needs an online address, which brings us to choosing the right domain extension.

This seemingly small detail can have a huge impact on your brand identity. As you may already know by now, website addresses are also called domains or domain names.

A domain extension, on the other hand, is the part of the domain that usually ends with “.com”, “.org”, “.co” and so on. One might think that such an extension isn’t really relevant when looking at the bigger picture but it’s arguably the most important part alongside the domain name itself.

With that in mind, let’s have a look at how to choose the right domain extension for your brand identity.

What exactly are domain extensions?

Every website address is a domain that provides a specific spot on the Internet for that website.

The domain is assigned to every website by their hosting providers and/or ISP (Internet Service Providers). The domain consists of two parts: the domain name and the domain extension. Here’s an example:

  • www.mywebsite.com is a domain or a website address. The “mywebsite” part is called a domain name, while the “.com” part is called the domain extension.

When looking at the domain hierarchy, domain extensions are also referred to as Top-level domains (TLD), whereas domain names are referred to as Second-level domains (SLD). Placed together, these two parts form a unique website address.

While the SLD represents your website or brand name, the TLD specifies your website’s entity and what’s the nature of your business. Therefore, when people visit your website, they can accurately guess what your website is about just by looking at the domain extension.

What do domain extensions really mean?

As mentioned before, TLDs represent what your website is all about and specify the entity it belongs to. For instance, the most popular and most commonly used domain extension is “.com”. It actually stands for “commercial” that was intended for eCommerce websites.

Nowadays, almost every online business uses the .com extension as part of their domain name. Let’s have a look at what other common domain extensions mean.

  • .net means “network” and it was intended for websites that specialize in networks and network-based technology.
  • .org stands for “organization” and this TLD was intended for charities, foundations, open-source projects and other non-profit organizations.
  • .co means “company or corporation” and was intended for businesses and companies of all kinds.
  • .biz means “business” and was intended for businesses and their websites only.

There are also country code TLDs. These domain extensions, such as “.us”, “.uk”, “.au” and so on, represent a specific country where the brand operates.

Country code TLDs can be paired with other TLDs, such as .co for example. Therefore, a website address that looks like this: “www.mybusiness.co.uk” specifies a company that operates out of the United Kingdom.

Choosing the right domain extension for your brand

Now that you’re more familiar with TLDs and their meaning, it’s time to consider which TLD to opt for. Since your brand identity and reputation are on the line, you cannot rush the decision.

There are still many factors to consider before you’re ready to choose. Here are some of the factors you should consider before proceeding any further.

1. Domain extension availability

As you might’ve guessed by now, the .com extension is most likely the right choice for your brand. It’s also the safest option because .com is widely popular and used by more than half of global websites. That brings us to the downside of this extension.

The .com may not be available to you at all. It all depends on your domain name. For example, if you use your brand name, which happens to be unique, as your domain name, there’s a good chance that you can pair it with the .com extension.

If not, you will have to consider other TLDs that will make your brand more visible online. You can also consult with an best brand naming companies. They can help you choose the right alternative TLD that will represent your brand the best way possible

2. The cost of TLD

Another important factor to consider is the cost. TLDs cost money. How much depends on the hosting provider, licensing fees, renewal fees and availability of the domain name itself.

The expenses alone can set your business back if you’re not careful enough. The best way to approach the matter is to check in with different hosting providers and ISPs to determine which TLD and its associated pricing will suit your brand the most.

3. Exposure

It’s no secret that online businesses are competing for exposure and online visibility. Establishing strong brand awareness is vital for your brand identity. This brings us back to the .com extension. Almost everyone who browses the Internet is familiar with this extension.

Domain names with these extensions are easy to find and remember. Moreover, the .com TLD speaks of authority, professionalism and trustworthiness, which are crucial for brand exposure. Although other TLDs are popular, they can’t even come close to the .com TLD.

That being said, you should really try your best to get your hands on the .com extension for your brand. Let’s consider the fact that mobile traffic is dominating the online world.

Nowadays, every smartphone has a “.com” button that helps them find specific websites more seamlessly. This feature doesn’t exist for other TLDs, unfortunately.

Closing words

When it comes to choosing the right domain extension for your brand, you should always aim for the .com extension. However, if that TLD isn’t available, there are other alternatives that will help you create an ideal brand identity.

Therefore, aim for the best, but if the best is out of your reach, make sure you have a strategy for another approach.

Author

Sophie Douglas is a digital marketing specialist and a journalist based in Columbus, state of Ohio.
Her characters are passionate, innovative, and ambitious.

Before becoming a writer for DigitalStrategyOne, she was writing short stories, screenplays, and directing short films.

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