com is Unavailable! Shall I Go Ahead with .net or Any Other TLD?

First of all, let me tell you that I’m not focusing any particular keyword in this article. In fact, I’ve just left that space blank and filled out only meta title and meta description. Why? That’s because this particular article is not targeted at search engines. Rather, it is completely targeted at you. Yes! you and thousands others who are wondering whether they should go ahead with any other domain name extensions such as .net and .org (if .com is unavailable).

Last night, I was chatting with one of my friend and this is how it went.

… (some previous chat)

Friend: Hey buddy, I’m looking to buy a domain name. Can you please help me in finding a perfect domain name for my blog?

Me: What kind of blog you’re starting? Tell me the topics that will be covered on your blog. 

(tells me some topics that will be covered on his blog)

Me: Ok! So, do you’ve any domain names in your mind? 

Friend: Yes I do! But, the problem is that the .com extension is not available. Do you think it will be worth going for any other extension? 

Me: Yes, definitely. Hold your nerves for a day or two and I’ll address this issue in my next blog post. 

dot com extension unavailable

So, if you’re just like my friend who is finding it difficult to choose perfect domain name extension, this post is for you.

Blog? Business Website? What is it?

OK! I know you’re looking for a domain name but it’s important for me to know whether that domain name will be used for blog or will it be used for business website? Once you know the answer to this simple question, it’s time to find out the target audience.

Identify Target Audience

Most of your pressure would be out of your mind if you can identify the target audience. Yes, it’s simple but Oh no! wait. You find it hard to identify your target audience? Well, not anymore. Let’s take some quick examples.

  • Suppose, you’re running a business website. You’re promoting your products which are limited to your locality (let’s say limited to India). Now, you’re sure that you’ll never go out of your locality to promote these products. Now, at this point in time, you’re well aware of where your customers are; so,it’s best to go ahead with .in extension provided .com is unavailable. 
  • That’s exactly the case when it comes to blogs.
  • If you’re targeting global audience, it’s best to go for .com domain extension first. However, if it’s not available you can opt for .net.
  • Let’s take our very own example. I’m targeting US as well as global audience with this blog (US to be more specific) but since I’m worldwide audience, it’s good for me to get a .com extension. And since, it was available at the time of purchase, I bought it.

Here are some quick tips to find the targeted audience.

  1. What are your products? 
  2. Where do you wanna sell them?
  3. If you’re starting a blog, what type of articles you’re planning to write?

OK! Now, I know my target audience. What do I do now? 

Great! Now, here are some quick possibilities and how to go after them.

  • If you’ve identified that your target audience is going to be US but you also wanna target the other countries then you should probably get a .com domain name provided you’re running a business website. In case of a blog, your first priority should be a .com domain name but if it is unavailable and you’re pretty sure about branding(I’ll come to this shortly) a blog with domain extension, you can look after at options such as .net and .org. There is no point in getting a .biz, .info or any other TLD. 
  • If you think that you’re targeting a local traffic such as India, you should probably get a country specific TLD such as in this case it would be .in.

Now, coming back to branding a blog, it’s certainly a different subject and I won’t go in deep. However, I’ll give you a quick overview.

If you’re thinking about going after .net then you may need to start promoting your blog name with the domain extension. That’s because, if there exist another blog with the same .com domain extension, you don’t wanna give your traffic to them? right? So, when you promote your blog with domain extension, people know that you’ve .net in the domain.

Here is what Darren Rowse had to do when he started problogger.net.

As you know, the blog name has .net extension and because of that he was loosing good amount of visitors. Why? That’s because people used to enter problogger.com and back then Darren didn’t have this domain name with him. So, after couple of years, Darren bought the .com extension of his domain name for $5000. Finally, he redirected it to the main site.

That’s why having a .com domain name is so important. However, don’t get the wrong meaning out of this story. It doesn’t mean you should always look after .com domain extension. There are plenty of .net domain names which are doing pretty nice job.

You just need to know how to promote them.

You just need to know how to make a brand out of them.

So, do we have any conclusion? 

Yes, definitely! It is clustered in the entire post.

First, identify your audience (target country).

Then, decide which TLD would work best i.e., if you’re targeting specific country, go for country specific TLD.

If you’re targeting the entire world (or you’re not targeting any specific country – that’s the other way around), look for .com extension.

If .com is unavailable and you’re pretty sure that you can make brand out of the blog so that people will remember the blog name with domain extension then go after .net or .org. However, I would still recommend you to go and stop at .com and .net. Why? That’s because .org is specifically aimed at organizations and it wouldn’t fit much. That’s my personal opinion though and there are various blogs out there which are popular with .net and other TLDs.

“You just need to create a brand out of it”

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I am a Graduated student and passionate about blogging, i do blog with all niche currently i am loving to write for EbloggingHow.
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42 Responses to “com is Unavailable! Shall I Go Ahead with .net or Any Other TLD?”
  1. Prince Molak

    This is a very big question, but from my own perspective, i prefer .com extension to all other type of extension,be it.net or .org, being that most internet users are used to it and as you have rightly said, one might start to build a brand for the dot com owner leading to a loss of traffic
    Prince Molak recently posted…How To Make More Money With AdsenseMy Profile

    • Pawan Bawdane

      Hi Prince,

      I too prefer .com but only after analyzing the target audience. Most of the time I target global audience and therefore opt for .com. However, I wouldn’t mind to go after .net if I find any good brand-able domain name.

      • Mayank

        So, basically apart from the brand building and people’s habit to end a website with .com, there is no other reason that I should not go for a .net or .org? I know this stand for network and non-pr.

        Personally, I have never faced any difficulty in ranking it for organization but with current scenario, it does not matter much .org or .net over .com for the same keyword. It all depends on how you optimize your content and approach.

        And yes, always make sure you are not offending any existing brand built on .com
        Mayank recently posted…The 5 Second Rule – Funny InfographicMy Profile

        • Pawan Bawdane

          Perhaps right! There is a lot to explain when it comes to brand building around your blog. You not only write blog posts but you write in such a way that people remember your domain name along with the extension.

          There is absolutely no difficulty (or negligible) in ranking any Top level domain extension. You can use .net or .com and your SERP’s won’t be affected by that.

          And finally, yes to it all depends on content and your approach.

          However, it makes sense to go ahead with .in or .org if I’m targeting specific audience. Doesn’t it? If I’m very sure that I won’t go beyond Indian users, I’ll stick to using .in. That’s the whole point in this discussion.

          Hope I’m clear now. :)
          Pawan Bawdane recently posted…com is Unavailable! Shall I Go Ahead with .net or Any Other TLD?My Profile

          • Mayank

            I agree that TLDs like .in and .us make you kind of loyal to one specific region but even these do not face any difficulty in ranking above .com…or do they?

            Correct me if I am wrong!

            PS: I am not talking about the brand building factors involved. Just pure SERPs.
            Mayank recently posted…Being Batman Is Costly – Funny InfographicMy Profile

          • Pawan Bawdane

            Hi Mayank,

            Absolutely not. Nowadays, ranking has little to do with TLD. There is hardly any problem in ranking any country specific tld. But, practically speaking, I wouldn’t really rank a Spanish blog to show up in Google USA (Google.com). That doesn’t make any sense..right?

  2. Victor Noah

    Wow.. These is a big question bro. Yes you can go ahead with .net. What matter most is the quality of contents and not the domain extension…
    Victor Noah recently posted…Why Some Of Your Blog Pages Should Not Be Indexed By Google?My Profile

    • Pawan Bawdane

      Hello Victor,

      Yeah certainly mate. I wouldn’t mind going ahead with .net if I’ve any specific domain name in my mind. ;)

  3. Nwosu Desmond

    .com seems to be the favorite domain extension for many people, most people seems to remember .com domain names easily than any other format, so i will advise you to keep tweaking your choice domain name with .com extension till you find one you will love.
    Nwosu Desmond recently posted…Fztvseries is Back as MobileTVshowsMy Profile

    • Pawan Bawdane

      Hey Nwosu,

      It’s my favorite too and that’s simply because it is easier to remember. However, these days you don’t really get .com extension domain names. So, you got to make a good domain name out of what is available.

      Instead of tweaking the domain name, I may go ahead with the other extension such .net if I have got a good domain name in my mind (whose .com is unavailable).
      Pawan Bawdane recently posted…com is Unavailable! Shall I Go Ahead with .net or Any Other TLD?My Profile

  4. Sriram

    I prefer to go with .com extension. But if the required domain is not available on .com one can go with other extensions. What about .in.net?
    Sriram recently posted…10 Awesome Responsive Business WordPress ThemesMy Profile

    • Pawan Bawdane

      Hey Sriram,

      I don’t really think .in.net will get any benefit. It’s not that effective. Instead, I would either go with .net or .in. What do you say?

  5. Saksham Talwar

    I prefer .com more than anything else. I have a .co too, but I don’t use it for blogging purpose.

    • Pawan Bawdane

      Yep Saksham, I also give first preference to .com provided I’m targeting global audience. I don’t really have any .co domain name but I do have .net. I’m using it for one blog which may go live in month or so.

  6. Ryan Biddulph

    I dig your take because it required you to carefully think through where you are located and who you are serving.

    Darren was a good example of someone who was smart to invest the money to get a .com extension.

    Others would be better served to go with a .net….although as noted, stay away from .org unless you are in that specific niche.

    Thanks!
    Ryan Biddulph recently posted…Online Business Tips: Willing to Go Here?My Profile

    • Pawan Bawdane

      Ryan,

      Yes! Darren invested smartly and at the right times. It’s good to go ahead with .net and stay with it till the time you get enough exposure and traffic. Then at some point, one can think of buying .com extension (if it is really necessary).

  7. Emmanuel

    I read the post from start to finish. I obviously do agree with you on those points raised. It’s all a matter of convenience and choice.
    Emmanuel recently posted…Get Paid to Chat.My Profile

    • Pawan Bawdane

      Hey Emmanuael,

      Thank you for stopping by leaving your views. Most importantly, I hope you understood the point that I’ve tried to raise. :)

  8. simon joy

    Hi,
    I agree with you. This is the exact same thing happend to me when i choose my website www.toggletime.net But hope it wont affect much. Thanks for sharing very relavent post.

  9. anis

    Dot com is the most preferred and famous extention
    your readers will always expect your blog to have a .com extension rather than any other extention

    thanks for sharing this awesome post!

    • Pawan Bawdane

      Hello Anis,

      Yep, .com is certainly the most famous and preferred however, it’s good to research a bit about the audience that will be targeted when you’re building a business and blog. ;) Now a days, .com domain isn’t easily available. That’s why it is important to know about the target country or audience.

  10. Charmie

    Well, pawan recently me and my partner were also in the same dilemma that our favourite ones were not available with .coms and were available in .nets and other extensions. But we tried for getting it in .coms only as .coms are easy with tongues and minds both. What matters is that there are always options with the domain names…the more you think the more better you find. So its good if you stick with .com and revise the domain names instaed of replacing the extension part.

    Regards
    Charmie :)
    Charmie recently posted…How to create an Android app with Phonegap using Eclipse?My Profile

    • Pawan Bawdane

      Yes Charmie. Few weeks ago, I too was little confused when I decided to start another “WordPress niche” blog. However, after studying thoroughly, I decided to get myself .net extension as I felt very much confident about creating brand out of it.

      Off course there are always better options in your mind on the each next day but it’s really tough to get the perfect domain name with .com extension. At that point in time, if time is an important factor, I would consider myself getting a .net extension provided I’m targeting respective audience.

  11. Suresh Khanal

    Hi Pawan,

    Interesting discussion. This is common curiosity in head among all the newbies. If you ask me, I’d suggest anybody to go for .com extension as far as they can find. If it is not available and a slight variation is acceptable, it is better to go for that rather than any other extensions.

    This is not because .com are better preferred for SEO or any other reasons, but because most of the web users simply think .com are websites! If you have abcd.org or net domain name, visitors will type abcd.com first and wonder why they did not see the same page as previous.
    Suresh Khanal recently posted…5 Tips to Invite Flood of Guest Posts for Your BlogMy Profile

    • Pawan Bawdane

      Hi Suresh,

      I agree but would you suggest the same for a company/business which is targeting it’s customers based in India (or any other country) only? would you go for a .com domain name if your blog is talking about the products which are solely available in India? I would certainly choose .in over here.

      Let me know your views about this Suresh bro. :)

  12. Yogesh Mandge

    Hello Pawan,
    Very Informative Article Indeed :)
    I Too Prefer .com Than Any Other tld ;)
    Thanks!
    Yogesh Mandge recently posted…COOLEST EMAIL SUBSCRIPTION WIDGET FOR BLOGGERMy Profile

    • Pawan Bawdane

      Hi Yogesh,

      I prefer doing research about the type of audience I’ll be targeting. I certainly give more preference to .com than .net when I’m targeting global audience but if I see a good brandable domain available in .net, I don’t hesitate to go for it.
      Pawan Bawdane recently posted…com is Unavailable! Shall I Go Ahead with .net or Any Other TLD?My Profile

  13. Abhishek kumar jha

    I did not found .com domain for my blog, i am using .in, i think that will not have much effect to mu blog, all though it may have something to do with visitors from other countries.
    Abhishek kumar jha recently posted…Learn how to install Ubuntu Linux , complete Ubuntu installation guide.My Profile

  14. Rishidevdas

    I have been using “.ws” since the very beginning of my blogging days. The Irony is that it gives me the highest exposure than the com, net or org that are piling up ever since.

    I had this wonderful discussion in the DP once about the global TLD and country level TLD and their impact on Google SERPs. These are some of the facts I learned that day -

    1. The thing is you have to know how to handle the Webmaster-tools and set correct targeting zones and then the TLD of your site won’t matter that much.

    2. But if you are using a regional TLD chances are it will give you more priority in your local search rankings, especially if your site deals with local data such as travel, country level news and information or anything as such.

    3. The regional priorities will always be there and with the new upcoming city TLDs such as Newyork, Vegas and as such there will be highly localized search results for them or any topic that deals with the local keywords in the global scenario.

    4. Content is the King and no matter what TLD you run, it all finally comes down to how strong is the love between the Content and the SEO which will be reflected in the SERP result.

    Hope this helps. Thank you. :)
    Rishidevdas recently posted…PageRank Vs Domain AuthorityMy Profile

    • Pawan Bawdane

      Hey Rishi,
      Good to see these recommendations. Let me put my views on each of them one by one.

      1. Yes, webmaster tools does help you in settings up the target country. That’s a good point right there.

      2. If you’re using country specific TLD, there is no way you can change the target country. So, the search results would be better optimized for local search.

      3. Yes, I agree! People love to see what’s going on around them and regional TLDs are targeted at the same.

      4. Perfectly said! Content is the king! You got to keep the highest quality content.

      All your findings are right as per me. I’ve pretty much the same views.
      Pawan Bawdane recently posted…com is Unavailable! Shall I Go Ahead with .net or Any Other TLD?My Profile

  15. yogesh pant

    I always prefer .com whenever I buy any domain.
    In case it is unavailable, I tend to make slight changes in the domain name that still satisfies what I have to serve.
    I have never yet gone for any other extension for any of my domain names.
    yogesh pant recently posted…Wireless charging technology: WitricityMy Profile

    • Pawan Bawdane

      As said in earlier comment of mine, I too prefer to go with .com provided I’m targeting global users and not country specific users.

      Now, coming to the second point, if I find out that .com extension is not available, I go back to sleep. :) #justkidding.

      But, I seriously go back and take some more time to do my research. Now, I know that I’ve two options. Either I should think of completely different domain or I should be very sure about building a brand out of it.

      Depending on the circumstances, I choose any one option out of these two.
      Pawan Bawdane recently posted…com is Unavailable! Shall I Go Ahead with .net or Any Other TLD?My Profile

  16. Tarun Jaitely

    Nice Points Pawan. Even I would also choose a .net if I find a good brandable or keyword rich domain. I am having 2 niche sites with .net domain extension and both are getting good results.
    Thanks for sharing this :)
    Tarun Jaitely recently posted…Hostgator Review: The Most Reliable Web Hosting ProviderMy Profile

    • Pawan Bawdane

      Hey Tarun,

      Good to see that you’re getting good results with 2 .net niche sites. That’s what is my point in this whole discussion. You got to research on how you can create brand around your blog. You got to know the target audience.

      Thanks for putting your views buddy.
      Pawan Bawdane recently posted…com is Unavailable! Shall I Go Ahead with .net or Any Other TLD?My Profile

  17. James McAllister

    I’ve always had the mindset that if the .com is unavailable, then it’s time to find a different domain name. That being said, if you are running a local business, and not trying to appeal globally, it is sometimes OK to use a local domain extension such as .us or .co.uk.
    James McAllister recently posted…5 Simple Techniques To Build Traffic To A New ForumMy Profile

    • Pawan Bawdane

      Hey James,

      That’s what I’m trying to convey through this entire discussion. I would also be happy to go ahead if I’m targeting any country specific audience.

      Off topic – I just visited your blog our of curiosity. How is it doing?
      Pawan Bawdane recently posted…com is Unavailable! Shall I Go Ahead with .net or Any Other TLD?My Profile

  18. Thenraja

    My personal opinion would be going for a .com domain name and if the domain name is not available then you can try out some combinations along with your domain name or just try get some nicknames and make it popular based on your niche .com domain are easy remember.

    • Pawan Bawdane

      Hi Thenraja,

      I agree that .com domain names are easy to remember. However, I really scale it down to the type of audience I’m targeting. Recently, I started an android blog with Indian traffic in mind. So, I went ahead with .in extension.

  19. marilyn cada

    i also prefer .com as my extension since i want to target all people across the world who wants to make money online.
    marilyn cada recently posted…How to Claim Google Authorship?My Profile

    • Pawan Bawdane

      Recently, I start a blog on Android keeping target country as India. Within 7 days, I’m receiving 50+ pageviews and to my surprise most of them are coming from search engines.

      So, it’s important to understand the target country. If you can scale down your audience and target specific country, you would have better results.

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