What is the best domain name for a website when a suitable .COM is taken?

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You are looking for a suitable domain name for your website and because  the perfect .COM domain name is already taken you are not sure what to do. Have no fear, we will discuss what your options are and what would be the best course of action.

Keep in mind that the domain name will be a big part of your online campaigns and it will influence their performance. A few factors need to be taken into account when choosing the next-best domain extension.

First, we must differentiate if the domain name will be used for a company/business or a personal website.

Company website

Company website with a global audience in mind is best made with a .COM. This makes the whole situation tricky. The relatively easy solution is to add your brand or service into your domain name, after the company name, effectively extending your URL. For example, when Tesla Motors could not get “Tesla.COM” they opted for “TeslaMotors.COM” and we can recognize the extension is relevant and works naturally.

A regional or local business website can actually benefit more from a country code domain. ccTLD is preferred by search engines and will appear in the relevant search before .COM domains. If you own a local business then, by all means, do not spend a fortune on .COM but instead get your target audience ccTLD domain. For example, if your target audience is in the United Kingdom then get .UK domain name.

Getting a perfect new generic TLD for your business may be a better choice for a specific business or industry. Some experts would note that ngTLD are bad for SEO but I would argue that with the recent sale of the domain “Online.Casino” for $510,000 in 2018 these domains are qualified as equals to original gTLD.

Some companies that operate inside a niche industry may choose a specific domain name that is relevant or popular in that particular niche. For example, tech startups have chosen .IO domain extension as their go-to choice, while machine learning and artificial intelligence companies largely choose .AI domain names.

Personal website

Personal websites are fundamentally different than commercial or company counterparts. We might say this is a very subjective topic, and there can be a number of answers that are all right.

Again, getting a suitable ccTLD that can target your audience in a local search is the next-best choice, and possibly even better than .COM domain.

A personal website is aimed at presenting yourself as a professional, presenting your work or building a brand around your personality. Domain extensions such as .ME, .NET and .ORG can be used perfectly fine.

I would note that there are no rules set in stone for personal website and choosing one of the cheaper domain extensions is not a wrong move.

Conclusion

If you ask any of the marketing agencies they will most definitely suggest .COM as the top choice, but the fact is that reasonable choice is possible. Domain extensions are not a hard SEO factor, and domain names are not treated as keywords by search engines, because they are powerful enough to “read” our website content. Their algorithms are getting better at discerning what is our audience, as well as what the average user is searching for.

This makes domain name choice that much simpler, while we have to put more focus into our website content.

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