Are you wondering whether to use a .net or a .com domain for your online store?
When you’re building a business website and creating a domain name, you’ll see a wide range of domain name extensions, with .net and .com chief among them. Which do you choose? We’ll go through the difference between domain extensions and help you settle the .net vs. .com dispute.
What Is a Domain Extension?
Domain extensions — such as .com and .net, as well as .org and .edu — are characters that you place next to a domain name to differentiate among the different types of websites. For example:
- Commercial sites have a .com website extension.
- Sites used by those in the network infrastructure space use .net domain
- Organizations, especially nonprofits, use the .org extension.
- Official federal government-run websites use .gov and educational institutions have .edu.
- There also are specialty domain name extensions such as .club, .book and .agency.
.Net vs. .Com Domain Endings for Business: Which Is Best?
The best domain extension choice for any business is .com.
The Difference Between .Com and .Net
With .net vs. .com, a .com extension is typically used for commercial websites, and .net is for sites related to technology or networking. However, no rule limits a .net domain to either category; any website can have a .net extension.
Let’s go through when you’d use these website extensions.
When to Use a .Com Domain Extension
When it comes to different domain extensions, .com is most commonly used worldwide. As of 2019, there were 137 million .com domain names and extensions registered.
It’s also versatile and is used for several different applications, including e-commerce, blogs or even personal projects. For example, ecommerce sites Amazon and Etsy use .com extensions, as do the lifestyle blogs Apartment Therapy and A Cup of Jo.
Because .com domains are so common, many potential customers would automatically use that extension when conducting an initial search for your business’s website. A .com website domain name and extension is also easier to remember, according to SEO.com.
Difference Between .Org and .Com
Because .org is often used for non-profit organizations, website endings such as .com, .net or even .us (noting that your business is in the United States) is preferable, depending on your type of business.
There’s no legal requirement to use the .org domain extension only for non-profits, but its reputation could cause confusion if you use it for a for-profit business’s website.
One downside to using a .com extension, however, is that it might be harder to obtain your desired domain name. If your brand name is short and uses common words, there’s a good chance that the domain name you want is already taken.
For example, if you’re in the fish pond business, you’ll find the simple name fishpond.com is in use.
However, you can still get a .com address for your business and improve your SEO rankings by including specific terms in your website name. For example, including your name or town (e.g., roysfishpond.com or berkshirefishpond.com) can help snag an available .com extension.
However, if you can’t get a .com website extension, you can try for a .net domain.
When to Use a .Net Domain Extension
If you operate a tech company, a .net domain extension is your best option. Sites that use a .net extension include the following:
- SlideShare, a document-sharing site
- Behance, an Adobe-owned platform where users can upload and share creative work
- SourceForge, a site where you can manage open-source projects
You can also use .net domain for email addresses.
Note, even though it’s not recommended to use .net, many site owners still buy both .com and .net versions of the domain they’re registering. Why?
- People searching for your .com site using .net can still find it
- Prevent online scammers from using an unregistered domain name to fool potential customers
- Stop competitors from accidentally (or intentionally) registering a similar domain name
- Further establish your company’s brand
- Add all domains to their portfolio of business assets, which can add value when it’s time to sell the business.
Domain registrars such as GoDaddy encourage users to buy more than 1 extension.
Famous .net sites often are redirected to a .com site. For example, Blizzard Entertainment’s battle.net brand now redirects users to blizzard.com.
Different Domain Extensions and SEO Strategy
While your domain endings won’t affect your website’s SEO rankings, audience perceptions of different domain extensions can impact click-through rates, according to Semrush.
The only time you might worry about search engine optimization (SEO) is when you’re trying to rank locally, and you’re using country-specific domain extensions.
For example, a Los Angeles-headquartered business would have a .us website extension instead of a .ca (Canada) ending.
Instead of .net vs. .com, your actual domain name and other factors have a more significant impact on your SEO performance.
Here are some suggestions:
- Find the right keywords — Keywords play a crucial role in SEO. You want the domain to include a keyword that you’re trying to target. You can use a free keyword tool such as Google’s Keyword Planner to do this. Moz created a guide to keyword research if you need more information.
- Specify a location — There’s no guarantee that you’d rank in the number 1 position if you add a location in your domain. But it does help, especially when it comes to localized searches. For example, 1 of the results for the search term “Chicago SEO” is the website Chicago SEO Firm (chicagoseofirm.com).
- Don’t use numbers if you can — Unless you’re a widely known brand, there’s a good chance that users won’t know how to spell your domain name if it contains numbers. Let’s use 7-Eleven as an example. If you aren’t familiar with the brand, you might think their website is 711.com or seveneleven.com (it’s actually 7-eleven.com).
- Don’t add special characters — Going back to the 7-Eleven example, the dash in the domain name makes it more difficult for people to access the website.
- Make your domain easy to pronounce and read — A rule to keep in mind is to make your website easy to pronounce and read.
Best Providers of Domain Extensions
You have several options for acquiring domain name extensions. Note that some of these sites are also hosting platforms. Here are the top choices for domain endings:
Domain.com has been around since 2000. It strives to provide its customers with great service. On top of domain registration, they also offer web hosting, email, SSL certificates (adds protection for site visitors), web design and online marketing.
Bluehost is a web-hosting site that has been around since 2003. They also offer domain registration as part of their services. The brand offers 24/7 support, so you can find help anytime you run into an issue.
HostGator has a long history of serving customers and has won numerous awards and received glowing reviews. They are a web-hosting service that offers a website builder and domain registration.
GoDaddy is primarily a domain registration site that also offers web hosting and marketing services. They help entrepreneurs fulfill their goals by providing them all the tools they need to succeed online. In addition, GoDaddy has a help center where you can learn more about setting up an ecommerce website.
NameCheap, as the name suggests, offers domain name registration at an affordable price. It also provides hosting solutions and security features. This might be a good option for anyone looking to buy a domain but wants a cheaper alternative. NameCheap has a resource center you can use to set up a website on your own.