If you want to start up a website must you have the .com?

When deciding on what extensions suit you it’s important to decide on your commercial strategy for both the short and longer terms. If possible, it’s sensible to secure more than one, so if you are a commercial entity that is setting up in the UK, then the .co.uk and .com should be the two extensions that you should look to acquire as a bare minimum.

If someone has heard of you and wants to visit your website, then these are the extensions people are most familiar with and are most likely to try. Whilst the co.uk is the most familiar extension in the UK, it is closely followed by the .com. The .com can also open up doors internationally for you further down the line if you have aspirations to expand overseas.

Due to their popularity and profile .com domain names are becoming harder to get. However, there are other extensions that are rising in popularity such as the new global extension .co (Columbia) which allows geo-targeting in Google. However, do consider your website’s focus and audience and ask if you really need a .com? For example, if your business is an SMB with a local client-base and you have no desire to move into an international market, then your country code top-level domain (cctld) such as co.uk can be cost effective.

There are also specialist options that can be considered, for example if you are a charity or organisation then the .org.uk and .org should be considered and if it is a personal venture .me.uk and .me extensions are valid options. That, said it’s always advisable to acquire the .com if at all possible.

The number of domain extension purchases you may wish to make is also dependent on the level of brand protection you think you’ll need. This will come down to your enterprise and the likelihood that an unscrupulous third party may want to replicate your business model and piggyback off your success. The ‘Generics’ such as .com .org .net .biz and the new .co are all recognised internationally and there are no restrictions on their registration, so if you are serious about looking after your brand then it’s wise to take them off the market. If you do business internationally think about securing country extensions in ‘commercial areas of interest’ and secure these in order to protect yourself as far as possible.

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