What Is in a Name? Registering Your Small Business Domain Name: .ca Versus .com

by J.B. Maverick

2 min read

Registering your domain name can be one of the most important decisions your small business makes, just behind choosing the name of your company. There are several aspects that come into play during this process, with the domain portion of the domain “name,” commonly referred to as the extension, being of particular importance. If you are not well-versed in the universe of domains and domain names, this task may be somewhat challenging. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you snag a successful domain name for your small business.

Do’s and Don’ts in Choosing a Domain Name

Include search engine optimization keywords in your domain name, ones that describe either your business/industry or the specific goods or services you offer. Doing this enables potential customers to search for and find your company based on their wants and needs. Using SEO keywords also boosts your ranking on search engines.

Consider including location-specific terminology in your name. For example, a pediatric dentist in Gallup, New Mexico, could consider GallupDrToothFairy.com. It is important, however, that the name is easy to understand and type. To this end, avoid extraneous spaces, hyphens, letters, numbers, and special characters, unless the name of your business actually contains one of these things. Keeping your domain name simple and straightforward makes searching for, and finding, your company easier for customers, and also makes it easier for them to pass along your URL to friends.

Once you settle on a choice for your domain name, it is important to fully research it. If it is available, there is a 50% chance it, or something very similar, has been used before. Make sure any previous but currently defunct uses won’t link your company to any irrelevant, unsuitable, or vulgar companies or messages. Getting the best domain name often means acting quickly, but be certain to spend the time necessary to check it out.

Selecting the Right Extension

Many small businesses fall into a common domain extension trap. Sometimes the perfect domain name is only available with extensions other than .com. Generally speaking, business owners are advised against picking a domain name with one of these lesser-known extensions, simply because it is more likely that people may forget the correct extension and pass it along to others incorrectly. There is one primary exception to this, and it applies directly to Canadian businesses. If your business is based in or primarily operating in Canada, and you market primarily or exclusively to Canadian consumers, choosing a .ca extension just makes sense.

Consider also buying the .com version of your domain name, even if it costs a bit more and you don’t actively use it. This is more important if your small business expects to eventually market to a global consumer base. Buying and registering multiple extension versions of your domain also helps to ensure the protection of your brand. If your chosen domain extension to use is .ca, you can set up the .com domain name to redirect to your .ca site.

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