Let’s assume you have decided to get your own domain name for your blog. We won’t go into all the reasons why you should make that very small investment – there are plenty such blog posts all over the Internet. Let’s just assume you have already made that decision.
What is rarely discussed is what top level domain (TLD) is best. What is a TLD? Let’s dissect a URL to see:
Top level domain: http://www.famousbloggers.NET/
The idea for this post comes from a post I wrote on my own blog, geared more toward the concerns of a global e-commerce website, on whether to set up a website on a .com TLD or on a series of country-specific TLDs (such as .ca, .fr or .com.mx). But let’s first look at the more global options.
This is the biggie. It’s really the default that everyone goes for. Technically, “com” stands for “commercial”, so your blog really should be .com only if it’s also a store or a business in its own right. Technically. The main value of .com is if you plan to promote your blog offline (print ads and articles, radio interviews, etc.) People often tend to type .com even when they see .CA or .HU or .NET.
This is the techie TLD. Famous Bloggers is a .net website. This TLD is ideal for any blog that is about the Internet or about information technology. Or it makes a good back-up if the .COM version of your domain is already taken.
This really should not be used unless you are blogging on behalf of a non-commercial organization. Unlike .COM and .NET, many people do take the meaning of .ORG seriously.
This is my favourite for blogs, but I really would not recommend it. It’s my favourite for blogs because most blogs are exactly that – information. Even my own commercial blogs are focused on informing, not on selling. So why would I not recommend a .info TLD? There are many forms on the Web that won’t accept a four-letter TLD. You will have fewer places to submit your blog…and often waste time trying. It’s not a huge problem, but enough that I would stay away from it…unless part of your branding is to emphasise that you are not commercial. If that is a critical central part of your blog’s identity, .INFO is a great way to communicate it.
What about a country-specific domain? If your audience is global, this most likely won’t make sense. Most likely, but not always.
• If the subject of your blog is specific to a location (trade with China, for example), a country-specific TLD could be useful.
• If your blog is really trying to reach out to just 2 or 3 countries, it might be worth running it across three country-specific domains (.CA, .US, .COM.MX) so that each audience feels like you are speaking directly to them. This is a little more work, but it might be a more effective communication strategy.
• If a country-specific domain could help your branding. For instance, a blog on French cuisine might appear more authentic with a .FR domain.
• Of course, if your blog is totally local – such as a Liverpool night-life blog, there is a value in a country-specific domain.
From a search engine perspective, remember that the TLD is the biggest factor that gives your blog an advantage in the country-specific searches. For example, a .CA blog has a natural advantage with Google.ca. So if you are blogging for both Americans and Canadians, a .CA domain can give you a big search engine advantage in 10% of your market, without costing you in the other 90%.
David Leonhardt is an Ottawa based SEO consultant. When not guest blogging he occasionally finds the time to update his own SEO marketing blog Or you can follow him (@Amabaie) on Twitter and most social bookmarking websites.