How to Find the best Top Level Domain
There are more than 250 domain extensions to choose from. This may seem daunting but it's pretty easy most of the time. The majority of registered domains (>50%) are .com and .net with .com being the most popular extension of all. For a business domain you usually want to register a .com domain and not only because .com stands for 'commercial'.
Namesmith offers domain availability checks for the TLDs listed here and more.
As one of the oldest domain extensions .com has become the de facto standard. Every big company has a .com domain and it is the most trusted extension for visitors. The major drawback is that most useful domain names under the .com extension are already registered. It can be very hard to still find a good one. Several of the addresses are for sale and are hoarded like commodities.
If you are able to register or buy your desired .com domain you should probably do it, because you just can't go wrong with it. Otherwise you should look into alternative extensions if the coressponding .com domain is not owned by a competitor. In this case you would lose many customers and better continue to search for another name.
.net & .org
These two domain extensions are often used as a replacement for .com but you should be careful. For a private site they are perfectly fine but for a business they might seem odd to potential visitors. There are exceptions of course. For example if your business is involved with networks .net might just be the perfect extension.
Even if you have registered a .com domain you should think about at least registering the .net domain too, if available. By doing that you protect yourself from a competing business hopping on your train. It may for example be a good choice for a craft business website.
.biz & .info
A .biz domain indicates a business but still is inferior to the classical .com address. It may however be a valid choice if your business does not mainly rely on search engine traffic. It looks good on a business card and stands out from the usual .com crowd.
For online marketing, especially product testing sites, .info would be the follow-up choice after .com. It is very clear about its purpose and implies (valuable) information. It is not entirely clear if .com domains are ranked higher by search engines.
The .io domain extension is very interesting. Originally .io is a country code tld for the British Indian Ocean Territory but it has become a wanted domain extension for startups, especially with a tech background. It allows interesting domain names like rad.io and is a bit more pricey than .com or .net domains, which prevents people from hoarding domain names for resale.
Region Specific TLDs
There are countless domain extensions representing countries, states or cities. There are two reasons to use one of these.
- Your business is only operating in a specific region or targeting customers there. For example a cab service in New York City could use the .nyc domain.
- The domain extension allows a domain hack like bit.ly or help.me. Keep in mind that you can not register all country specific domains as a foreigner or they may be very expensive.