When you first start building an online business, picking a domain name can be tricky. One of the big questions is which top-level domain is best. In this article, we’ll look at the debate about .com vs .co domains. Let’s get started…
What is a .com Domain?
A .com domain is any website address ending with the letters .com. This last part of the domain name is the top-level domain. .com is the most popular top-level domain, but there are many other choices.
What Does .com Mean?
How about the letters themselves – what does .com actually mean? Some people believe it’s short for ‘company’. But in fact, it’s an abbreviation of ‘commercial’.
Originally, the .com domain intended purpose was for commercial use (i.e. for businesses). Other top-level domains have different purposes. .org was for organisations or charities. .edu was for academic institutions in the US. .net was originally created for network infrastructure, but it’s often used by businesses nowadays.
What is a .co Domain?
Some top-level domains represent countries. These are country code top-level domains (or ccTLDs). The .co top-level domain is short for Columbia. Other examples of ccTLDs include .ae – the UAE’s ccTLD, and .uk – the UK’s ccTLD.
The .co Domain Populrity Explained
.co stands for Columbia. So why has the .co domain popularity spread to the rest of the world? Co is a common abbreviation for ‘Company’, so .co domain names look perfect for businesses. Of course, there are also some other .co domain benefits – which we’ll look at shortly.
.co isn’t the only ccTLD to be popular outside its own country. .me is actually the ccTLD for Montenegro, but it’s very popular in the Middle East too. We looked at this in more detail in our recent article What is a .me Domain?
Benefits of .com
A .com domain name is the most popular top-level domain. Therefore, a .com domain name can be a status symbol. Some business owners feel that other domains look second-rate. Add to this, some customers prefer the familiar feel of .com domains, and trust websites that use them.
Better branding is normally considered the strongest of the benefits of .com domains. But better SEO is another advantage…
.co vs .com SEO
Google have said that they don’t automatically favour .com domain names in their search rankings any more. But .com domains often still outrank .co domains. One reason is because customers sometimes trust familiar .com domains more. This results in higher click-through rates, leading to more traffic.
So, is a .com domain name best for SEO? All things being equal, a .com domain can perform slightly better in search. But SEO is just one of many factors to consider. Let’s balance things up a little and look at the other side of the argument…
Benefits of .co
One of the main benefits of .co domains is choice. .com domain names are so popular that it can be difficult to get the best domain name. If YourBusinessName.com is already taken, then YourBusinessName.co could be the next-best option.
Tip: Another option would be to buy a premium domain name. These can have great advantages for both branding and SEO.
Is a .co Domain Good?
.co domains aren’t as prestigious as .com domains, and they don’t always perform quite as well in search. That said, the benefits of owning a domain name related to your business name can be massive.
Ultimately, if you’re struggling for choice, a ‘good’ .co domain could certainly be better than a ‘bad’ .com domain.
Conclusion of .com vs .co
As you can see, there’s no right or wrong answer in the big .com vs .co domains debate! This HubSpot article – Do I Still Need a .com TLD for My Business – will offer you even more insights. But ultimately, you’ll need to decide which works best for you.
Of course, one option is to register both a .com and a .co domain name. This might sound extravagant, but it could prevent another website appearing with a similar name to yours.