While your domain name is one of the most critical components of your web address, the extension offers just as much value. The domain extension, also known as the top-level domain, helps to categorize websites. It can give visitors a good idea of what your digital space is about before they even take a look.
The TLD can impact your overall branding and make or break the memorability of your address.
There are more than 1,500 domain extensions out there. Two popular options are .co and .com. The .com domain extension is a legacy that’s, arguably, responsible for shaping the World Wide Web as we know it today. While the .co domain isn’t as historic or well-known, its simplicity makes it a worthy contender for your website address.
This begs the question: Which domain extension is the right choice for you? .co or .com?
In this guide, we’re going to dive into the history of these domains. We’ll compare and contrast the extensions’ merits to help you decide which one will provide the most success to your website!
What is a Domain Extension, and Why is it Important?
Before we go into the head-to-head battle of .co vs. .com, let’s look into domain extensions as a whole. As mentioned earlier, the extension is a method of classification. It’s part of the more extensive hierarchal system. As the highest level of the Domain Name System of the Internet, it’s one of the first things a browser looks at when trying to navigate to a site.
There are many top-level domains available. Some are generic top-level domains and incorporate distinct words. Others are legacy domains or country-code domains with restrictions. Whatever the case may be, every website has to have one!
Like human first names, multiple websites can have the same domain name. On a website address, the domain name refers to the main keywords. It’s the part that you get to choose. In most cases, it reflects the site’s niche, a company name, or the name of a personal blog. Take, for example, www.RandomBlog.com. The words “RandomBlog” are the domain name. The “.com” tag on the end is the domain name.
Several sites can have the “RandomBlog” domain name. But, two sites cannot share the extension! It’s what sets the two apart and dictates where a browser will take visitors.
You might think that the purpose of the extension decreases its importance. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth. You see, different domain extensions hold varying levels of value in the public eye. At the end of the day, that’s the most important thing.
The Internet at large is swarming with spam sites wanting to defraud visitors. This isn’t the early 1990s anymore! Web users are more technologically savvy and Internet-conscious than ever before. Most will not even attempt to visit a website if the web address looks fishy. It’s the embodiment of “judging a book by its cover.” But, that ingrained bias helps to keep web users safe.
Inherently, more people gravitate towards familiar legacy extensions. Standard domain extensions that have been around for a long time provide a sense of security. That’s not to say that virus-laden sites don’t have old-school extensions. But, the chances of that are much lower in the eyes of web surfers.
Having a reliable and familiar domain extension can make all the difference. It gives visitors a glimpse of what you have to offer and can prevent you from getting left behind on search engine results pages!
Does a Domain Extension Affect Search Engine Optimization?
An unorthodox or traditional extension might impact your SEO efforts. But, it might not affect it in the way that you think.
SEO algorithms for search juggernauts like Google remain a mystery. But, most Internet experts can agree that hundreds of factors come into play. The domain extension is only one. Thus, it has little to no effect on the ranking process.
That said, the secondary effects of your domain can make or break your SEO efforts. As mentioned earlier, people view domain extensions with a biased eye. Even if you’re using one of the newer generic TLDs, those unfamiliar with the extension might be less inclined to take a shot on your site.
In turn, this could reduce your traffic. Search engines view high-traffic sites more favorably because it shows that you have high-quality content that appeals to those looking into your niche. If your domain extension is already working against you, the site’s rankings could suffer!
About the .co Domain Extension
If you had to guess what .co stood for, what would be your first instinct? For most people, the word “company” comes to mind. Believe it or not, the .co extension has nothing to do with companies, commerce, or anything else in between. This connection was likely due to the letters “co” being used as a second-level domain. For example, it represents companies in the UK as .co.uk.
This extension is actually a country-code top-level domain, or ccTLD. A country-code domain extension is one that’s granted to a specific country. In this case, it’s the country code for Colombia!
It first appeared in 1991 and was delegated to the University of the Andes. Back then, it was primarily used for country-focused sites run by the government.
Chances are, you’ve seen the .co domain extension used by sites that had nothing to do with the country of Colombia. For a while, it had strict usage limitations. But that all changed in 2010. After nearly two decades of being a restricted country code, .co domain extension was made available to those outside of Colombia. It’s now frequently used by sites in the United States and beyond.
Today, anyone can use it regardless of their affiliation or site purpose. When this happened, the .co domain took on a life of its own.
Approximately 20 accredited registrars sell the domain extension. Some big-name web-hosting companies like Bluehost and GoDaddy offer it, too. As of 2014, over 1.4 million websites use it!
Cost of a .co domain name extension
Both .co & .com domains cost the same as a cup of coffee and a blueberry muffin. Most people expect domain names to be expensive. In fact you can pick up a cheap domain name for as little as $1 (depending on the domain extension that is)
Use coupon code SITEHUB to get an extra 25% off.
Or get a domain name for free when you buy hosting from Bluehost ($2.95 pm)
About the .com Domain Extension
Without a doubt, .com domains are some of the most recognizable in the world. An original top-level domain, this extension came available in 1985 before the World Wide Web was even a thing!
Back then, there were only a handful of available domain extensions. It’s part of the very first internet naming system and was designed to help users distinguish commercial websites. It’s the alternative to .org, which was for non-profit companies and sites.
In the early days of the Internet, extensions like .com were derived from a word that represented the purpose of the site. For example, .com came from the word “commercial.” Other examples include .edu for “education,” .gov for “government,” and .biz for “business.”
However, those representations were merely a suggestion and weren’t enforced. As such, the .com domain extension flourished! It grew into prominence during the dot-com bubble and continues to be a staple today. It’s one of the most sought-after extensions and is used by over 145.4 million websites as of 2020!
Cost of a .COM domain name extension
You can get a .com domain from Domain.com for $12.99
Or get a domain name for free when you buy hosting from Bluehost ($2.95 pm)
Why Use the .co Domain Extension?
There are many reasons why you might want to use .co extension. It’s not nearly as popular as .com, but it still holds high value in the eyes of Internet users.
.co is still a popular domain name. Many believe that it represents companies or commercial entities. While we now know that’s not the truth, you can still capitalize on its familiarity!
As we said earlier, web users are far more inclined to visit sites that they view as reputable. This extension has some inherent credibility thanks to its adoption by big-name websites and organizations.
It’s a great choice for small startups and modern brands. The short, two-letter extension is easy to remember. It flows off the tongue and looks great on print material or digital logos. As a result, many brands make it an integral part of their marketing tactics!
Of course, you can always use the .co domain for its intended purpose. If you have a website that caters to a Colombian audience, it’s a no-brainer! Those in the country were familiar with the domain long before the rest of the world, so it makes sense.
Travel sites, Colombian-based blogs, and more have a lot to gain. You could even use it for other “Colombias,” such as the city of Columbia!
This extension is a popular choice for domain hacking. If you’re not familiar with this quirky naming scheme, domain hacking has nothing to do with anything nefarious! It involves using the domain name and the extension to create some memorable addresses.
Two-letter extensions are a favourite for this technique because they’re easy to incorporate into an advertisement-ready web address. For example, say that you have a blog dedicated to the world of art deco motifs. You could name your domain “artde.” Your full website would be www.artde.co. How cool is that?
There are plenty of ways to get creative with domain hacking, and the .co domain is ripe with possibilities!
Potential Drawbacks to the .co Extension
Positive perks aside, you may run into some issues with this country-code domain. The biggest problem is finding an available domain.
.co is pretty popular compared to some other generic top-level domains. As a result, pricing can be all over the place. .co domain names were a favorite among domain parkers. They would buy up popular keywords and sit on them, waiting for someone who really wanted to have it. They then act as resellers, demanding a high price on an otherwise affordable extension.
It’s crucial to shop around and explore your domain name options.
Why Use the .com Domain Extension?
This specific domain is highly sought after. It’s, by far, the most popular domain extension in existence and the first choice for most who are starting a new blog or website! There are countless reasons why you should invest. Here are some of the most significant.
A .com website has built-in credibility that no other domain extension can match. The extension has been around since the dawn of the Internet, so people instantly recognize it. It makes remembering your website address easier and gives people a bit more peace of mind before visiting.
The familiarity alone can do wonders for your website. Compared to lesser-known generic domains, .com outranks them all! It can help you gain traffic organically and could potentially boost your SEO efforts. This brings us to our next point.
.com domain extensions are some of the most SEO-friendly. Like we said earlier, the domain doesn’t have much direct influence to search engine ranking algorithms. Google, Bing, and other search engines treat .com the same way they treat .tech, .online, or .xyz.
But, the internal bias that web users have could ultimately make your site more popular. You may gain more organic traffic with a .com extension, which makes your site more rankable right off the bat. Search engines view high-traffic sites more favorably. With most people gravitating to .com options rather than the alternatives, it automatically works in your favor.
Of course, the content you publish is the most important thing. But this domain extension could push your potential over the edge.
Here’s something that not too many website owners think about. Take a look at your smartphone’s keyboard when you navigate the mobile browser. Notice anything different? Chances are, there’s a dedicated .com key!
Many smartphones and tablets have a separate .com key to speed up the typing process. As the most-used extension out there, it makes sense to have one. Users can finish the address with a single finger tap, which speeds up the overall browsing experience.
Capitalizing on that fact can work in your favor! Now, your site still needs to be optimized for mobile devices if you want to see any real success. But having the domain extension can prove to be very beneficial.
Potential Drawbacks to a .com Domain Extension
Like .co extension, getting a .com website is no easy task! There are nearly 150 million websites already using it! As a result, many of the popular keywords and niches are taken. Unless you have a super-unique blog or business name, you might have to pay a higher price to register it.
Many .com sites are parked. Nearly all of the most expensive domain name sales in history used this extension. For example, CarInsurance.com and Voice.com went for $49.7 million and $30 million, respectively.
This is a trade-off you have to consider. Domain names are a big investment that can stick with you for decades! It may be worth it to pay a bit more to take advantage of .com’s credibility.
.co vs .com: Which One is Best?
These two domain extensions are in high demand and have a lot to offer bloggers, online businesses, companies, and eCommerce websites. The best choice for you will depend entirely on your needs.
Domain name extensions can make or break your site’s reputation before anyone even visits it. There’s no denying that the .com extension is more well-known than .co. For this reason alone, it’s always worth trying to get if you can! But if that’s not available, the .co extension is recognizable enough to help your site see success.
Both extensions have their pros and cons. The difference between them all comes down to visibility and reputation. We suggest shopping around for your new domain. Ultimately, the contents of your site are the most important thing to consider. A reliable domain extension like .com or .co is just the icing on the cake for your web address.
More Domain Name Related Content
If you want to read more about all things domain names then check out the following guides:
- How To Sell A Domain Name
- How Many Domains Are There?
- How Get A True Valuation of Your Domain Name
- Where To Buy The Cheapest Domain Names
- .net vs .com – Comparison Guide
- io vs com – Comparison Guide
- org vs com – Comparison Guide