In our last post, we talked about the 3 biggest top-level domains (TLDs) – .com, .net and .org – and how to choose the right one for you. But just because they’re the biggest and most popular TLDs available, it doesn’t mean you don’t have other options!
Another Option – Country Code TLDs
Country code TLDs, or ccTLDs, are domain extensions (better known as the letters that appear after your preferred domain name) that are specific to a particular area or country. Some examples include .co.uk (United Kingdom), .ca (Canada) and .com.au (Australia). The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) – which is the governing body that maintains technical standards that help run the Internet – publishes a list of ccTLDs available.
Now let’s take a look at some of the benefits offered by ccTLDs.
Benefit #1: ccTLDs offer Local Targeting and SEO Benefits
ccTLDs allow you to target traffic from specific areas of the world. So, let’s say you want to target visitors from the United Kingdom to your UK-based bakery’s website; you may want to consider choosing .co.uk as your domain extension. This ensures that you’re showing up in the search results of those living in the UK, rather than Australia or Canada or any other region.
This ties into your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) value as well. Using a ccTLD gives you a higher SEO value for country-based search results. This is because search engines return different results, including many local ones, depending on the IP address of the person doing the search. This means that if someone in the United Kingdom does a search for birthday cakes UK, your UK-based bakery’s website might appear higher in the search rankings than if you didn’t have the .co.uk ccTLD.
Benefit #2: ccTLDs instill Buyer Confidence
ccTLDs are good for credibility and they give visitors to your website more confidence. Since they consider the website to be local, visitors may feel that it’s easier to make purchases, especially if they see that the address is somewhere that they recognize rather than a foreign address. Also, many people prefer to complete transactions and visit sites in their own native language, currency, and region.
Benefit #3: ccTLDs allow you to bring out your creativity
A neat trick that some companies have been using to build a strong brand around their domain name is using what’s known as a domain hack. This is when a word or name is formed using both the domain name and ccTLD together. For example, beach.es uses the Spanish ccTLD, food.ie uses the Ireland ccTLD, and subscri.be uses the Belgium ccTLD. It can even be a phrase or call to action like check.in or help.us. There really are no limits to the variety of combinations you can come up with! Keep in mind that HostPapa offers all of the above ccTLDs, making it easy for you to come up with your very own creative domain hack.
Rules and Regulations
Don’t forget that several ccTLDs have restrictions on things like the purchasing, renewing, and transferring of the country code domain. Here is a list of popular ccTLDs you may wish to consider. Note that some of them have restrictions:
- .CA – To purchase this ccTLD, you must meet the requirements of CIRA. These requirements include but are not limited to being one of the following: a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, Canadian corporation, association, educational institution or trademark.
- .COM.AU – This ccTLD is regulated by AUDA which states that domain names cannot be pre-registered or reserved; in other words, they’re only available on a first come, first served basis. Also, the domain name licence period is for two years and will only be renewed if you continue to meet the requirements.
- .DE – DENIC domain guidelines must be met in order to purchase this ccTLD. An important requirement is having an administrative contact within German borders.
- .IE – Purchasing the ccTLD of Ireland requires that you meet the IEDR requirements which include being located in the 32 counties of Ireland or providing proof of a connection to the country, such as trade and/or commercial activity.
Finally, it’s important to not overlook the power of using both a TLD such as .com and a ccTLD to appeal to international and local customers. Not only will you be appealing to local visitors in a specific geographic area but you also have the potential for big returns and bringing in more customers.