One of the most important factors of any website is its domain name. With the increasing popularity and excitement behind customized TLDs, you might wonder, is there any point in even using a generic .COM domain?
.COM is the most common domain name suffix. In a study Statista conducted regarding TLD distribution worldwide, they found that 46.7% of all global websites use a .COM domain.
But are .COM domains too old and outdated? That’s merely a matter of personal opinion.
There are reasons why using a .COM domain name is still a good practice. I’m here to tell you the facts.
You asked for the truth. Now hold on tight!
The Meaning Behind .COM
Way back in 1985, .COM was introduced. By now, you probably know its name is derived from the word “commercial.” (And if not, I hope that was as cool for you to find out as it was for me!)
Initially, it was intended to be used only by commercial organizations, but later it was introduced for general purposes. Fast forward to today, over three decades later, and it’s now widely used as the TLD standard. This being the case, people go crazy for premium and highly-desired .COM domains, and prices range from tens of thousands of dollars well into the millions.
Now that that’s been said, let’s move on.
Why Use .COM? It’s Established.
Because .COM is by far the most used, and perhaps most valuable, domain name—Google absolutely adores it. If you don’t understand what that means, Google favors websites with .COM TLDs. How’s that for being bluntly honest?
Ultimately, the reason for Google’s bias is simple: the TLD is easy and familiar. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. And people love that.
The popularity of .COM domains have established its reputation as the most valuable and most known TLD in use.
Previously, I mentioned how people go crazy for premium .COM domain names, paying almost unbelievable sums to obtain them. For example, Yaht.com sells for a whopping $50,000 (you can check the availability and price of .com domains on 101domain.com). If you can't already tell, .COMs are worth some substantial pocket change.
From a marketing perspective, perceived value is more important than actual value. If a business is willing to bear the cost of a .COM domain name, it’s assumed that the business in question has achieved some sort of financial success in order to do so. Moreover, because good .COMs are harder to come by, if a business has stuck with their domain name for some time, it shows longevity. Both cases, in one way or another, show that your business is established.
Due to .COM being the most used and valuable domain name by an overwhelming degree, most people will assume your business’s website will use .COM. People are simply accustomed to this.
ZYXWARE was kind enough to lend a list of the top Fortune 500 companies and their websites. With it, we’ve discovered that, in 2016, 495 of those 500 companies use a .COM domain name. (In case you were wondering, 4 use .NET and only one use .ORG).
Periodically, Verisign analyzes the status of the domain name industry through a series of statistical and analytical research, highlighting key trends, and relaying this important information to the public for us to understand.
Even if you’re not good at numbers, let me articulate something for you: as the second quarter of 2019 came to a close, Verisign reported that it closed with 156.1 million .COM (and .NET) domain name registrations in the domain name base. This is an increase of 6.4 million, or 4.3%, from 2018’s second quarter.
How’s that for popular?
With the rising popularity of customized TLD domains, you would think there’d be a movement against .COM domains...
People just aren’t familiar with newer TLDs. Actually, there’s a positive social stigma surrounding .COM websites. When a person sees .COM attached to a business’s website, it carries a sense of credibility. It’s a common perception that .COM domains are more legitimate than any other TLD.
Simply put, people trust .COM domains.
It’s Highly Favored
Like I said, Google has a bias for .COM domains. But what about the other search engines? What about Bing or Yahoo?
Well, it’s them, too.
All major search engines to favor .COM domains. Why? Because it’s generic. .COM is universal and non-country specific. This fares better in universal search results than any country-specific code domains could.
So, because of this, .COMs have the most clout with search engines and keyword rankings.
It’s Easy to Remember
Your website should highlight your business. It should promote its branding. It should be easy to find, easy to remember, and hard to forget.
A website’s brandability is largely focused on its domain name. When TLDs and keywords are generic, businesses are able to maintain a higher position within search engine results. That’s what you want and need in order to build your online presence.
Not only that, people are wired to think .COM when attached to a web address. There’s an affinity to it, and it’s a huge mistake to think your brand isn’t affected by its domain name.
It’s all about memorability and brandability. You don’t want to confuse anybody.
.COM—easy to remember, hard to forget. Optimize it.
There’s always a flip side to everything.
Shiny, new TLD domains are on the rise and becoming all-the-more trendy as some people argue the outdatedness of .COM domains.
.COM domains are more costly, too. (All for good reason, of course.)
And because they’re so popular, and with the mass of already-used .COM TLDs, you may be required to get a bit more creative when it comes to naming your website. You can’t always get what you want (cue the Rolling Stones.)
Yet these disadvantages are small in the grand scheme of things. What matters most is getting yourself out there. You have to do it the right way.
Who cares about tradition? Isn’t it more fun to follow trends anyway?
Even with .COM domain names being as old as they are, they’ve stood the test of time and proven their superiority against all other TLD domains. .COM domains are safe, they’re reliable, and they’re the more trusted option.
If that wasn’t enough, let me (yet again) remind you that even Google has a bias towards .COM domains. If that doesn’t motivate you, I don’t know what will!
At the end of it all, it’s merely a matter of personal opinion, but I hope I’ve been able to relay the importance of why using .COM domain names is still a good practice for any business.