This is the second in a series of guest articles authored by Isaac Maposa, the co-founder of Web Enchanter, a Zimbabwean startup in the domain registration space. This feature is on domain names.
Choosing The Right Domain Extension
A number of people and organisations make mistakes when it comes to choosing the right domain extension. It is of paramount importance to choose a domain extension that is consummate to the business or industry you operate in.
However it is important to note that the .com domain extension is the most popular domain extension worldwide. I therefore advise to secure the .com domain whenever possible if you intend to operate your business internationally.
If your business is purely local then taking the local domains is the best option to go. For example if your business solely trade in Zimbabwe, it is the best option to take up the .co.zw domain name. This will also help in being found in the localised search engine results.
Here are some of the most used domain extensions and their area of application;
.com – It is meant for commercial companies but has been widely used even in other fields due to its popularity on the Internet. If you are a commercial entity operating in your home country for example Zimbabwe it would be best to take up the .co.zw which is meant for commercial entities with operations in the country.
.org – Meant for non-profit making organisations e.g. churches, political organisations and charities. If you are a localised non profit making organisation you can take up the .org.zw domain extension.
.net – Meant to be used by technology and networking companies, though most people use it as an alternative if the .com domain is taken.
.info – Meant for informative websites.
.biz – Was meant for businesses but it’s not widely used. It’s also said to be mostly used by spammers hence its not a good pick.
There are also New gTLDs like .menu, .bike, .hotel .e.t.c. These domains can also be used for industry specific websites for example if you are setting up a hotel website then you can as well opt for yourhotelname.hotel domain. These domains are good for branding purposes and also customers will actually know which industry is denoted by your website.
I would advise that if you plan to trade internationally and the .com domain is taken it is better to come up with another domain name rather than registering the domain with the alternative domain extension. Taking alternative domain extensions may have a big negative impact as you may loose a large proportion of your traffic as they go to the .com site which may be your competitor as well.
Using the alternative domain extension is best used when you want to protect your brand online. All the alternative domain extensions can then be forwarded to the primary domain extension which can be your .com domain. This will help protect your brand online against cyber criminals and cyber squatters.
Properties of a good domain name
Your domain name becomes your brand online and a gateway to your company’s products/services storefront. This therefore calls for proper considerations when registering. Here are some of the things to consider when choosing a domain name,
- Keep it short and simple – this makes customers easily remember your web address and eliminates the possibility of misspellings.
- Make it easy to convey – Avoid the use of hyphens, the domain name should be easy to say in a phone conversation.
- Meaningful and Descriptive – your domain name should be descriptive of your industry or business.
- Avoid copyright issues
- Make it brandable – your domain should be easy to brand for example Google and Yahoo
- Avoid the use of numbers – by all means avoid domains like mycompany67.co.zw unless it’s part of the branding
- Avoid the use of slang like urcompany.co.zw instead of yourcompany.co.zw
- Not easily misspelled – avoid using domains which can easily be misspelled such as carz.co.zw instead of cars.co.zw
- Choose an extension related to your industry for example if you are an NGO operating in Zimbabwe choose .org.zw, an academic institution .ac.zw.