What is a TLD, and Which One’s Best for a Blog or Online Business?
The TLD, or Top-Level Domain, sounds like an ‘uber-nerdy-technical-expression’. That’s because it is. Wait a minute, you didn’t forget this was the internet for a second, did you?
When you’re choosing a domain name for a blog or online business, the TLD is an important part of the decision, and one that people often just get wrong. It’s important to use the correct TLD.
The TLD is the domain extension, or ‘the last part of the web site address’.
On this site, the TLD, is a ‘.com’.
Way back in the dark ages (A.K.A. ‘the 90’s) when the internet first started, there were just 7 original TLD’s.
The 7 Original TLD, or Top Level Domains
The original 7 top level domains were created in the early development stages of the internet. These are the OG’s of all domain names.
Not all of them are useful to anyone, or even allowed to be used by everyone, but it’s interesting to know what they’re for. Especially if you like knowing weird facts, like I do.
- .com – commercial – originally intended for use by for-profit business entities. It’s an open TLD, which means any person or entity is permitted to register a .com
- .net – network – originally intended for use by domains pointing to a distributed network of computers. Email services for cable networks, etc., use this TLD. This is also an open TLD, but makes no sense unless you’re a network
- .org – organization – originally intended for use by non-profit organizations. Also, an open TLD.
- .int – international organizations – the .in TLD is a closed TLD, strictly limited to international organizations
- .edu – education – this TLD is limited to specific higher educational institutions such as colleges, universities, etc.
- .gov – national and state government agencies – self-explanatory this one, really.
- .mil – military – U.S. military only.
Country Code TLD
There are currently 255 different country TLD’s.
For example, if you had a company in the U.K. that was a local business, and only did business within the U.K., you could consider a .co.uk TLD.
When I had businesses in the U.K., I only ever used these, and they did well for me. I chose that TLD because people in the U.K. know immediately this is a U.K. business. Anyone finding this site would immediately know it was a U.K. site.
Google ranks local TLD websites first for local searches.
Other TLD Now Available
There are now over 1,000 TLDs to choose from. I don’t recommend using them at all for any business website.
‘Second level’ TLD’s do not rank as high in search engines as a .com would.
If you had a personal blog, or a website that was for your own use, and not to make money, one of these TLD’s might be good for that. Other than that, stick with a .com domain name.
So, What TLD is Best for Your Blog?
To me, this is a simple decision, and it goes like this…
U.S.A. based sites, or any sites for an international audience – ‘.com’ only.
Sites based outside the U.S.A. that are only targeting a local audience (i.e. a German eCommerce site, only selling in Germany) – maybe consider use the country TLD, if your chosen domain name isn’t available as a .com domain.
Some international companies buy up the .com and all the country TLD’s they work within, and use them all. A great example of this would be Coca Cola, who on the .com have a directory of all the countries, a sub-domain on that .com for the U.S.A. marketing, and a completely different site for each country.
Each country has different websites, but also very different promotions. In the example below, Coke focus on promotions featuring Premiere League Football, which is something unique to the country.
Big International Companies Use Many TLDs
Bigger companies often have different websites in every country, for many reasons, such as different product lines, different currencies and distribution channels.
Big companies may also have different events in different countries.
For almost ANY blog or online business, I would ONLY EVER want a .com domain name.
If the .com isn’t available, it just doesn’t matter to me.
I would NEVER consider ANY other TLD, if the .com or the country TLD was not available.
You need an original domain name, period.
If the .com is gone and there’s a site there already, you will now be competing with them. Nobody wants to work their asses off marketing a product, just to send your audience somewhere else.
Most people will automatically presume a site is a .com, so you will be giving them your business and sending them free traffic.
If there’s no site on the domain you want, you could try to buy the domain, but it’s almost always cheaper and easier just to be a little more creative, and buy a different brand-new domain.
You also won’t need to wait for any old site’s keywords to clear out of Google. This can slow down your SEO efforts, if the old site ranked for completely different things.
If you don’t have a ‘.com’, but opt for a ‘.net’, every time you give someone your email address, you will need to clearly explain it.
If you need to explain something, it’s wrong. Fix that. Any POSSIBLE miscommunication MUST be avoided at all costs.
Imagine even a friend of yours, sitting in their room at night, trying to find your blog after they’ve had a beer or two (and your friends are all SMART, too , right)… …yeah, my point entirely. Only .com.
Those same people will still type the email address as a ‘.com’ anyway. You’ll miss emails. If you’re lucky, people will call you and tell you that your email address isn’t working. They probably won’t, but that’s how communication works.
Nobody types a letter, and presumes it DIDN’T GET THERE. They just presume you don’t reply, or don’t care about their email. It’s just bad for communication.
I’ve made this mistake with people’s email addresses myself. Even after they’ve explained it clearly to me. I’ve done it MANY times.
I even do it with .com’s, too! Don’t judge me on this one, you ever sent an email to a gmail.com email address, when the right one is yahoo.com? I bet you have!
I also kick myself every time it happens. MY point is, why make someone do THAT? Why create an issue that isn’t there yet.
It just makes our poor little heads hurt.
.COM Domain Names are Worth More
When searching domains, you’ll notice that the lower level TLD’s cost less.
They’re worth less money because they’re less desirable.
This is because they’re ALWAYS a second, or third choice over a .com.
Is This Blog For Business?
This site is mainly aimed at people that want to start a blog and make money online.
Therefore, a commercial URL, speaks that message.
If your blog is to be used as an online journal with no business or money-making intent, then use any TLD.
Don’t Buy Additional TLDs
When you register a domain name, domain registrars will suggest buying other TLD’s to match your domain.
Such as buying a ‘.net’, and a ‘.org’, to match your .com.
Don’t buy them. There’s absolutely no point at all. It’s just a waste of money.
Let’s find a Domain Name, RIGHT NOW!!!
So, we’re just looking for .com’s… …let’s move on to finding a domain name for you.
I’m 100% serious when I say that I LOVE THIS PART. I just absolutely love finding domain names. It’s the first part of being creative, and of the branding experience.
I get goosebumps when I find a REALLY GREAT domain name. I’m also guilty of buying domain names just because they’re really cool to me, even though I had no intention of using them.