Choosing the right TLD (top-level domain) or extension for your web site can be a difficult process, especially when the .com version of the domain name is not available. Most people tend to look for a .com site before progressing on to other ideas as an alternative when they are unable to find a good .com domain. This, however, is not always the best way to choose a TLD because there are many available, and each one has its own intended purposes.
For someone that does not understand these uses or the sheer variety that is available, it can be easy to skip the TLD selection and choose the first domain that comes to mind. It is important to note that this decision cannot be reversed, so the right TLD should be chosen initially by using the following tips.
Determine the Purpose of the Site
Before selecting a TLD for your site, it is important to consider the desired purpose of your site. Will it be a commercial site that sells products (.com/.biz), or will it be a site that represents an organization or an idea that you would like to promote(.org)? Is it going to be a personal blog about yourself and your family life (.me)? Or will it be an informational site that educates people about a particular topic(.info)? Maybe you would like to create a mega network site that embodies all of these concepts and links them together(.net)?
Deciding what your site will be used for is the best way to begin the TLD selection process, however it is important to realize that you can technically choose any TLD you'd like, even if the purpose of the site does not suit your selection.
Consider Local Targeting
Do you want your site to attract local visitors that are geographically located in your area of the world? If so, you may need to consider the benefits of country code TLDs, which allow you to better target your site's audience and therefore improve your business or personal outreach.
There are currently over 200 country code TLDs, which means you should not have a problem finding one in your area. Some of the more common TLDs are .us (United States), .co.uk (United Kingdom), and .com.au (Australia).
Country code TLDs usually cost about the same as a conventional .com site, which makes them a suitable option for any aspiring webmaster.
Consider Search Engine Optimization
Before selecting your TLD, it is best to consider the SEO aspects of the prospective TLDs. Some domain name extensions are more likely to rank highly in the search engines than others, which is why most people select a .com domain. Surprisingly, even the commonly used $1 .info TLD has the potential to rank in the top position in the search engines.
In theory, every TLD can rank number one with the right search engine optimization practices, and most people don't realize that the only reason why .com is ranked at the top most frequently is because it is the most popular domain TLD.