Writing Tips by Gary Speer

Tips for writers, musing about writing and life

Which domain name should you buy for your writing site?

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Which “TLD” type should you buy for your writing or blogging or marketing website? What is a “TLD,” and what does it matter anyway, you ask? It could matter a lot when it comes to getting site visitors and/or customers.

Perhaps you have no idea what “TLD” stands for, or what a domain name is, and really aren’t interested. Well, let me try to explain all this in simple terms. The “TLD” is Internet/Geek Speak for “top-level domain,” and the simplest thing to understand about it is that it is the three-letter extension after the “dot” in a web domain: It’s the “com” at the end of “mywebsite.com,” or the “net” at the end of “mywebsite.net,” the “org” at the end of “mywebsite.org” — well, I’m sure you get the idea.

Originally those TLDs had meanings: “com” was generally a name used by businesses, referring to a “company.” The “org” was generally used by an “organization,” and the “net” was generally used by a “network.” In fact, when domain names first were used, I think you had to demonstrate a reason for the appropriate name in order to get one. (The “edu” names were intended, for example, for schools, universities, etc., as in “education.”)

All that pretty much has gone away. Now you can buy just about any domain name which isn’t currently being used, assuming you can afford it. (Most domain names now are extremely affordable, running around $8-$15 per year to register.) If you can dream up the words you want in your domain, and it hasn’t already been bought (registered), it’s probably yours for the getting, whether that’s mypersonalname.com or mypersonalname.net. For example, I was doing some research on a particular type of nutritional supplement earlier today and ran onto the domain jointsupplementreviews.net — which was a useful website with nothing to do with a “network,” as the original TLD “net” was supposed to be.

Besides the basic “com,” “org,” “net,” and “edu” domains, there have been lots of interesting new TLDs created. One of the more common in recent years has been “info,” originally intended for “informational” websites.

So what does all this mean for you if you’re a writer or blogger or marketer and you’re hoping to set up your website with a domain that people will be likely to visit? Mostly it boils down to perception. You may find differing opinions on all this, but here’s what I’ve generally found to be true as well as what I’ve read others saying in a lot of forums I go to devoted to this stuff.

1. A .com domain will always be seen as the most credible for your website.
2. A .org or .net domain probably would be the next best choice.
3. A .info name is somewhat suspect when most people notice it as the domain for your website. This is because .info domain names often sell very cheaply. As a result, they’ve been extremely abused as “throw away” names for websites by a lot of shady marketers and sp*mmers.

Take all that with a couple of grains of salt, and I hope some of it is useful if you’re working to set up a website.

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