Getting a domain name is often something of a big deal to e-commerce sites. Sites that have a .COM or a .NET link convey that a company is no longer small-time, but truly “legit” in their operations. That said, many businesses uphold .COM, .NET, or similar universal domains as the standard, and by default, will opt to base their web hosting purchases on them.
But are .COM and .NET the only options for generating traffic and building links? There’s a valuable argument to be had about focusing on a local domain, and choosing to purchase a local domain name over a universal one.
Tapping into variety, overcoming the competition
First off, choosing a domain name often feels like a game of chance. Other e-commerce sites will end up competing fiercely with their rivals in the industry for the big .COM, in order to be more universally accessible and thus generate maximum traffic. That probably means, however, that the competition might be lower for a localized extension, such as one specifically for your state.
Domains such as .COM, .NET, and .ORG are probably the extensions that you know best, and therefore frontrunners among the Generic Top Level Domain Names (gTLD) on the web. But if you look up a list of viable and commonly used gTLD codes on the Global WHOIS Search, you’ll notice that there’s a variety of generic or universal domain names that exist, such as .COOP, .BIZ, .INFO, .PRO, and others. Our point here is that there are so many more extensions that are possible for your site. Nowadays, the less you veer away from the common, the better it will be for your business strategy.
More local traffic
We take this to the next level by arguing for a local domain name, such as one that reflects your country or your state. The Global WHOIS Search also links to a list of Country-Code Top Level Domain Names that you can consult for reference.
Take the case of North America: it would make perfect sense for you to look for a .US extension for your domain name if your target market was in the United States of America, or a .CA extension for Canada. But based on the codes, you can also narrow your local domain extension down to the specific state, city, or province that your business operates in, like .NYC for New York, .MELBOURNE for Melbourne in Australia, or .RIO for Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.
When that becomes part of the equation, the following things can happen: your business brand can stand out as a localized name, you can lessen confusion on the get-go about the market that you serve, and your site will improve in areas like search engine optimization (SEO)-friendliness.
Another important element to consider is local link building, or your presence to other networks such as local directories and sites maintained by local webmasters. Sites in your geographic are more likely to link to you if you establish your site’s place in the local market. And that’s a great thing to aspire for—greater accessibility, as well as greater local credibility courtesy of other sites.
In summary, it’s not just about putting your e-commerce out there to the world, but putting yourself in front of the customers you aim to serve. Universal traffic is not the only success indicator that you should base your purchasing decision on. Instead, try exploring the possibilities for getting a local domain name.
Get in touch with your target customer base, let them know that your e-commerce business exists for them, and celebrate your brand as part of a particular community.
We wish you the very best in launching your e-commerce site locally!