When it comes to registering a domain name at a domain name registrar, you’ll notice you have a lot of choices for the domain name extension. Everything from .org to .net to less popular extensions like .io and the similar sounding “.co.” So .co vs .com, which one is best for your website?
Your domain name and subsequent domain extension are important, they define the brand your building. With literally thousands of choices for your domain extension which one is best? Is registering a .co going to hurt your SEO compared to a .com? Is .com the best and the only extension you should even consider?
In this comprehensive guide I’m going to answer all these questions as well as compare and contrast .com vs .co as well as their individual pros and cons. In addition, I’ve included a popular video on the topic as well:
.co vs .com overview
The .co extension used to be the country code for the nation of Columbia. It was changed from a country code into a generic top level domain extension (GTDL) by GoDaddy as a way to create a viable alternative to the .com domain extension.
As the .com is the legacy extension of the internet, it is still the go-to domain extension people want for commercial purposes. As such, it’s very difficult to get the domain name you want with a .com. Which is why the .co was started as it has a similar sound and spelling.
In general, the .co extension is meant to be for a “company” (hence the .co) but this extension is fine for any blog or website. It won’t hurt your SEO, but of course if you can get the .com then get the .com. Most who register the .co could not get the .com they wanted due to it being taken by a domainer.
What are domain extensions and why are they important?
TLD is short for “top level domain” and they are made up of many parts, one part being the domain extension. The role of the extension is to help identify the purpose of the website. A website with a .edu extension is an accredited educational institute, .gov is for the American government, .com is for commercial oriented websites, blogs and online stores.
Websites can have the same domain name if they have different extensions. As such, the domain extension helps form a hierarchy for the end user. With regards to this, domain extensions can be original, generic or a country codes.
Original top level domains
These are the extensions most average internet users are familiar with and were created during the early development of ICANN back in 1998. The .com, .net, .org, .gov, .mil are all original top level domain extensions.
Generic top level domain names
Next we have our generic top level domain name names. These generic domain extensions exist for a specific purpose and use and typically have some sort of restriction associated with them. For example, the .gay domain extension is only for organizations that promote and support LGBTQ rights.
Something like .art is only for artistic related websites and organizations like a museum and .amazon is reserved for Amazon.com.
Country code top level comains (ccTLDs)
Countries can have their own domain name, .co was for Columbia. Country codes are a great choice for any website that is country specific or is in the countries native language.
Why would someone register a.co over a .com?
The main reason why someone would get a .co over a .com is because of availability. As the .com is the legacy extension of the internet it is the most popular option. As there are a finite amount of word combinations with a .com extension, it simply gets more and more difficult to get the domain name you want.
Also, with the scare nature of quality .com domain names, this creates a very lucrative after market for buying and reselling domain names. The domain, blue.com for example was sold for half a million dollars in 2006.
Most .com domain names cost $10-20 a year depending on the domain registrar. Domain registrars like Namecheap., Dynadot or Google Domains typically offer the best prices. Web hosts and website builders usually charge a bit more for domain names.
However some .com domain names are marked as “premium” which causes the price of these domains to be quite high and totally unaffordable to someone looking to start a website which is what makes the appeal of getting a .co more attractive.
Is a .co any good for SEO?
Yes, a .co is a solid, reliable domain extension for SEO. It is considered a “top level domain extension” right along with .net and .org and will be treated the same as a .com by Google and other search engines. While not as ideal as a.com, you can build a quality website that gets search traffic that is using a .co domain name because of it’s top level domain status.
More important to consider is the purpose of your website. If you’re building a company focused website for your agency or service or then .co is a a great fit. If you’re building out a blog, then a .co is adequate but I would strongly suggest getting a .com. If you’re creating an online store I would stick to .com only.
Last, take into consideration is that a .com has that branding that no other extension can beat when looking to get a domain name. When people think of visiting your website, they assume it’s a .com.
Why are .co domain names expensive to register?
The price point of a .co is high to deter bulk buying. With domain name registrars like Dynadot, buyers can get a discount if they bulk buy domain names. It’s also more expensive to prevent individuals from registering a domain names they have no intention of using but think they can sell for a higher price point.
Again, the main reason why .co exists is to be a new, modern alternative to a .com. In order to achieve that goal it has to have a slightly higher price point so you can actually get the domain name you want.
However depending on the .com it may be unreasonably priced as well which would make the
How to register a .co or .com domain name
You are able to register a .co domain extension or a .com domain extension through any ICANN certified domain name registrar. While GoDaddy launched the .co extension, I don’t suggest registering through them as their price point is high for both a .co and a .com.
Instead, I use and recommend Namecheap for all domain name purchases including .co extensions for a few reasons.
They have low registration prices for both extensions, low renewal rates, they offer deals each month on .com domain name, provide phone and chat support, have an easy to use interface and offer additional services like web hosting an email in addition to domains.
Popular .co website examples
The .co domain extension is quite popular and their are numerous websites that perform very well. We know that bloggers and content creators worry is getting a .co is not as good as having a .com but here are some popular .co website that demonstrate a .co is a good choice:
- Angel.co – Find jobs at start ups.
- Mockup World – The best free website mock ups.
- Electrek – A blog all about Tesla, green energy and more.
- Animal Channel – A blog all about animal news stories.
- Cube Brush – Curated digital assets.
- T.co – URL used by Twitter
- Grade Up – India’s largest exam prep website.
- Convertio – A file converter service.
From blogs, business and various web services, the .co extension is used in much the same way as a .com.
.co vs com conclusion
So, .com vs .co, which one is best? The .com is the best choice for your website as it is the most popular, in demand extension for any website, blog or online store.
A .co is a great alternative to a .com though for any company focused website. It’s a more fun and modern extension when compared to getting a .net or a .org. While it does not have the familiarity of a .com, you can still build a trustworthy brand on a .co
Last, just remember your end visitor is simply not going to care that much if your personal finance blog is using a .co or .com, neither does Google. What matters is building out a helpful, authoritative website.
My domain name registrar of choice. Low prices for top level domain names, low renewal rates, good support and free WHOIS protection.
David UtkeDavid Utke is a professional blogger, YouTuber and a highly rated user experience consultant. He and his team create helpful tutorials, software reviews, videos and more based on real-world experience. Join over 30,000 monthly readers and 20k+ YouTube subscribers!
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