Domain Extensions — What They Are & How To Choose One
A domain extension is not just an extension of your domain name — it’s an extension of your brand. So how do you choose the right one?
Every great domain name has the right domain extension. It’s true! Believe it or not, those 3 or more characters can have a huge impact on how a brand and website are perceived. In fact, they’re equally if not more important than the domain name itself — as khula.studio goes to show! Here’s what you need to know.
What is a domain extension?
A domain extension is the last part of a website’s URL — the dot and letters that come after the domain name, such as .com, .org, and .net. Appearing at the end of the protocol (usually HTTP), the subdomain (commonly www), and the domain name, those additional letters become an integral part of the website’s URL.
Also known as the top-level domain (TLD) in the early days of the Internet, domain extensions helped to classify websites. As we cover in this blog, whilst that’s still true for some domain extensions, it’s less so for others.
This uncertainty can make it difficult to choose the right domain extension for a business’s website. Choosing the right extension can help establish online presence and connections with target audiences.
Common types of domain extension
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) manages domain extensions. These are divided into two categories: generic top-level domains (gTLDs) and country-code top-level domains (ccTLDs):
- Generic top-level domains (gTLDs) are the most common domain extensions that are not country-specific. Examples include .com, .org, and .net.
- Country code top-level domains (ccTLDs) are specific to a particular country or territory. Examples include .ca for Canada, .uk for the United Kingdom, and .au for Australia.
- Sponsored top-level domains (sTLDs) are managed by a particular organization or community. Examples include .edu for educational institutions and .gov for government organizations.
- Infrastructure top-level domains (iTLDs) are used for technical infrastructure purposes. Examples include .arpa, which is used for reverse domain name resolution in the internet’s DNS system.
- Internationalized domain names (IDNs) support accented letters and characters from non-Latin scripts.
20 popular domain extensions
Every domain extension has its own inherent meaning and purpose, whether that’s general or specific. Here’s a list of 20 popular domain extensions, with a short description of each one:
.com — The most widely used and recognized, it represents”commercial” and is historically used for commercial businesses and organizations.
.org — This stands for “organization” and is generally used by non-profit organizations, educational institutions, and other non-commercial entities.
.net — Short for “network”, this is commonly used by Internet Service Providers (ISPs), tech companies, and other networking services.
.co — This extension is increasingly seen to represent “company” and is often used as an alternative to .com for commercial businesses.
.edu: Educational institutions such as colleges and universities use this extension.
.info — Representing “information”, this is typically used for informational websites and resources.
.me — Originally a ccTLD for Montenegro, this extension is commonly used for personal websites or blogs.
.io — This extension once stood for the “British Indian Ocean Territory” but has been commandeered by tech startups and other tech companies. Input/Output can be written IO.
.biz — Referring to “businesses”, this extension is used for commercial businesses and e-commerce websites.
.tech — Commonly used by technology-related websites, businesses, and organizations.
.shop — Primarily for e-commerce websites and online stores.
.studio — Ideal for businesses and individuals who offer creative services such as photography, music, art, and design.
.agency — Popular with businesses that provide professional services such as marketing, advertising, PR, and consulting.
.photography — Photographers and photography-related businesses used this extension to showcase their work and services.
.art — For artists and art-related businesses to demonstrate their work and services.
.design — Designers and design-related businesses used this extension to showcase their work and services.
.digital — This extension is often used by businesses that operate in the digital space, such as digital marketing, web design, and software development.
.hair — The .hair extension can be used by hair-related businesses such as shampoo companies and hair salons
.xyz — This extension is a generic top-level domain that can be used for any type of website or business. It has been used to create memorable and unique domain names.
.wtf — The .wtf extension is a top-level domain that stands for “what the f***”. It’s popular for websites that feature humorous or irreverent content.
How domain extensions help your business
Any chosen domain name has to be paired with a domain extension. Making the right choice is important for two reasons: credibility and SEO. That’s because the domain extension influences how people perceive a website.
A domain extension helps to signpost traffic to your site. It’s an all-important touchpoint and piece of a brand that is sometimes overlooked. For that reason, it’s important to choose a domain name that complements the brand identity. Most importantly, it needs to convey trustworthiness, and relevance.
Many Internet users will feel safe and familiar with .com, .org, and .net. For example, the .com domain extension is used by nearly half of all websites. This adds instant credibility to a website, making it feel more trustworthy than one with a comparable extension, such as .biz.
However, when choosing a domain extension, the most important thing to consider is the audience of the website. Whilst having a less common extension won’t necessarily impact search engine rankings, it could indirectly impact SEO by making the website less appealing. Location may also come into play here — especially if the target market is in a particular geographical area.
4 tips for choosing the right domain extension
Here are 4 tips to help you choose the right domain extension for your website:
- Where is your target audience? If your website is targeted at a specific country or region, consider using a country-specific domain extension. This will help your website rank in that country’s search results.
- What’s the purpose of your website? The domain extension can help signpost your purpose. If your website is commercial, consider using a .com domain extension. If your website is for a non-profit organization, consider using a .org domain extension.
- Does it help to define your brand? Your domain name and extension can help build your brand identity. Consider using a domain extension that fits with your brand image, such as .io for a tech company.
- Will your audience trust the domain extension? Trust is important. Many businesses choose to stick to recognizable domain extensions such as .com, .org, or .net, and avoid using obscure ones that may confuse or alienate their audience.
How domain extensions impact cost
Domain registrars, such as GoDaddy, price extensions differently based on factors like the extension’s popularity, typical buyers of the domain, and its age.
While older domains like .com and .net are generally more affordable, you may find your preferred domain name is already taken. At the same time, newer and more specific extensions like .io, .tech, and .earth can be costlier. Ultimately, choosing the right domain extension is an important part of building a strong online presence that reflects your brand and appeals to your audience.
The cost of a domain extension can vary depending on a variety of factors, such as the extension itself, the registrar you choose, and any additional services you may require. Here are some general price ranges for domain extensions:
- Common gTLDs such as .com, .org, and .net typically cost between $10-$15 per year, though some registrars may offer promotional pricing.
- Country-specific ccTLDs can vary widely in price, with some extensions costing as little as $5 per year, and others costing upwards of $50 per year or more.
- Newer or less common gTLDs, such as .club, .tech, or .shop, may have varying prices depending on their availability and demand. Prices can range from $10-$50 per year or more.
Premium domain names, which may have highly sought-after keywords or are shorter and easier to remember, can cost significantly more than standard domain names. These prices can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars or more.
It’s important to note that pricing also depends on the registrar you choose, so it’s a good idea to compare prices and services before making a decision. Additionally, some registrars may offer discounts or promotional pricing for first-time customers or for bulk purchases of domain names.
How to register a domain extension at GoDaddy.com
Now that you know the basics of domain extensions, and how to choose the right one for your website, you’re ready to register your domain at GoDaddy.com. Here’s how:
- First, head to the GoDaddy website and search for the domain name you’d like to register. You can do this using the search bar on the homepage.
- Once you’ve found the domain name you want, select the extension you’d like to use from the list of available options.
- Next, click the “Add to Cart” button to proceed with your purchase.
- You’ll be taken to the checkout page, where you’ll need to enter your payment information and billing details.
- After you’ve completed your payment, GoDaddy will email you with instructions on how to set up your domain.
It’s really that simple! Whether you’re setting up a domain for the first time or switching to a new domain, Khula Design Studio can help bring your brand and website to life with boutique brand identity and web design services.
Originally posted on www.khula.studio