What’s in a (domain) name? Well if you’re about to buy your domain name you may be wondering what all these ‘dot-options’ are at the end – is there a difference and does it matter? In all fairness, your website will work with whatever domain extension you choose, however over the years each of the extensions have come with slight ‘expectations’ attached to them as to what your site visitor would assume from your website name.
There are numerous amounts of extensions out there however in this blog I’m just going to look into each of the key types of domain extensions explain what each one is designed for and what the general use for that extension would be, so without anymore time wasting – here we go:
Everyone will immediately know the ‘.com’ extension. It’s the most commonly used extension on the internet and is great because it is recognised by all demographics across the globe.
The ‘.com’ was originally used by the United states Department of Defence but has now become the extension ideally used for a commercial-style company or individual who wants a global presence.
So if you’re an importer/exporter of products and have an international clientele, then this is the perfect option for your website extension.
However if you’re a company based in the UK and really just want to show fellow UK-based companies your products/services, then you’re better off looking at the next ones.
‘.co.uk’ or ‘.uk’
Firstly, these both mean the same thing, it’s just that ‘.uk’ has now become available for people to buy as a domain extension since it’s shorter than ‘.co.uk’.
These extensions are ideal for any business or individual who is solely UK-based and really wants to let people know that they operate within the UK.
It’s very much a ‘Ronseal’ type of extension in that it does exactly what it says on the tin. Anyone seeing your website for the first time will automatically know you are based in the UK and for industries that rely on local commerce, this is a great tool for showing site visitors.
Generally if you’re selling to consumers within the UK directly through your website then these domains are perfect since they add a slight element of ‘trust’ for people buying on your site. It tells them that they are purchasing from a UK-based company and not buying something from across the globe.
As the abbreviation suggests, this extension is designed for ‘organisations’ – which can be a slight grey area when trying to figure out what exactly defines an
‘organisation’ – but for the purpose of domain extensions it simply means ‘non-profit organisations.’
So this one is pretty easy to explain, if you are a charity or not-for-profit organisation then this is the perfect extension for your website to let people know that’s what your company does.
To go even deeper, if you are also based in the UK then you should really have ‘.org.uk’ as your extension to reconfirm you are a UK-based charity or not-for-profit organisation.
This extensions stands for ‘network’ and was originally the extension used for websites which had multiple sites attached to them – just to reinforce the fact that they were part of a network of websites. However this has now changed and the ‘.net’ extension can be used by anyone.
The common use is quite hard to define, but in my experience the ‘.net’ extension is used by computer or technology-based websites which offer a technical service.
For example if you were a software company then ‘.net’ has a much better technical ring to it than just another ‘.com’ or ‘.co.uk’ as it automatically conjures up the network imagery that comes with computer-based technology.
So if your website is related to technology or computing then ‘.net’ could be the perfect extension for you to reinforce that technical brand.
And that’s pretty much it to be honest! As I said before there is almost an endless list of different domain name extensions, but these are the top ones and I would always personally stick with since these carry a lot of weight in regards to people already knowing what to expect when visiting your website.