To .COM or .COM.AU?

One of the first decisions you’ll need to make when deciding to get a website is what your domain name will be. There’s lots of good advice on ensuring your domain is easy to spell, quick to type, memorable and brandable. But what about the domain extension? If you are outside of the US do you go with the ubiquitous .COM extension or do you add your country code – which in Australia is .AU?

In this instance I strongly recommend you go for a domain with the country code you are in. You should only go for a .COM domain if your website is focusing on an international market.

Why? There’s a number of reasons:

  • You will appeal to the community you are marketing too. If I’m looking for a local business I am far more likely to gravitate towards websites that are obviously within my locale. A .COM.AU in the domain name tells me they are Australian and therefore relevant to me.
  • People will often assume that your website address ends in a .COM.AU or equivalent country code. In these instances they will automatically type that in and wonder why your site isn’t where it should be. They also may not think to try the .COM version.
  • If you want traffic from the search engines, and who doesn’t, a domain within your country code will help you rank for search terms in local versions of the search engines, such as google.com.au. It can also be a lot less competitive than trying to rank against multitudes of .COM websites.
  • There is also a much better chance you’ll be able to snap up a great domain. There aint a lot of choice left in the .COM space.

If you’re able to pick up the .COM version of your domain I’d recommend it (I have thinkprospect.com) to make sure no one else gets it. But when it comes to marketing and promotion I’d use the one with the country code. Every time.

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Domain Names – Don’t Get Caught Short

I went to a new yoga class today (which is why I’m ever so relaxed dear reader ;)). It’s a new school and their identity, marketing materials and even the studio itself are beautiful. Being new, and a Thursday morning, I was also lucky enough to be the only student so effectively had a private lesson. The way they are set-up and marketing themselves I don’t expect that to last long.

They even have a website (this is Australia – it’s not that common yet) and whilst it’s not search friendly it’s beautiful and provides enough information about them and their classes. They also advertise their website address everywhere. The only problem, it contains a dash: yoga-path.com.au and they don’t seem to own the alternative, yogapath.com.au.

This is problematic for a number of reasons:

  1. They’ll loose a lot of traffic to people who type in the domain with no dash.
  2. There’s a chance a competitor (or domaineer) may snap up the alternative domain.
  3. The dash makes it harder for it to pass the billboard test. What’s the billboard test? Is it easy for someone to remember if they saw it on a billboard? I know I kept forgetting it and finally stopped and picked up a brochure to remind me.

When choosing your domain name make sure it’s as close to your business name as possible. If there are variations or common misspellings it’s worth registering them to.

If it’s a business you plan to market overseas make sure you have the .com version as well as the one for your own county code (.com.au in Australia).

This may seem like a minor deal right now but believe me you’ll appreciate your foresight down the track.

Me being me, I did make this suggestion to my teacher at the end of the class and she was really appreciative. Unfortunately it turns out yogapath.com.au has already gone.

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