What you should Know before Choosing Country Code Top-Level Domains

Which are the country code top-level domains?

Country code top-level domains or ccTLDs are domain extensions that are specific to a particular country or region unlike generic extensions (gTLDs) such as .com or .net. ccTLDs include .uk for the United Kingdom, .nl for the Netherlands, .ca for Canada, .br for Brazil, etc. They’ve got many benefits, but,
a lot of considerations need to be factored in when choosing your domain name. You can find a good overview and easy-to follow tips at <How to choose your ideal domain name>.

When are country code domains right for you?

This would be when you fall under one of the categories below:

1) Many businesses are attracted to the notion of expanding across borders, especially when estimated growth is promising. It is definitely worth considering buying ccTLD domains for your target countries.
2) If you are just launching online and your business is local, it’s better to target your local market in your local language.

What are the benefits of registering country code domains?

  • Local Targeting
    If you are running a local business like house cleaning, flower delivery, local news agency, etc., when you choose a country domain extension, you’re more likely to attract organic traffic to your website. This is because search results are customized according to your IP address, ie they are localized. When customers in your country are searching with your keywords, your country code domain will appear earlier in the search results (depending on other factors as well).
  • Customer Trust
    Customers are more likely to purchase goods and services from a local business because it is easier for them in terms of language, currency, delivery costs, etc.
  • Better Variety and Quality of Domains
    It is not often taken into account but it is a fact that the gTLD market is saturated and there are better quality premium domains within the ccTLD pool. Best-ranking .com domains claim huge prices and are immediately auctioned off while most of the rest are either spammed or over-optimized. You can consider registering a few ccTLDs instead of .com to cover the markets you target.
  • Creativity with Domain Hacks
    You can play around with keywords plus any ccTLD to create your own unique and meaningful brand name. Combinations like trust.us and help.me are the result of such domain hacks. However, it can be mispronounced or misspelled, so it’s best not to overdo it.
    There are domain hack websites where you can search for such domains.

How to register country code extensions?

Registering national domains is different from registering a .com as each country sets its own domain prices, renewal and transfer fees and terms of use. Pricing varies greatly, but ccTLDs are generally more expensive than gTLDs.
Registration restrictions may apply. For example:

– To buy a .ca domain, it is required to have a Canadian citizenship, residency, or be a Canadian corporation, association, trademark owner or educational institution.
– To buy an .au domain, it is required to have evidence such as Australian Business or Company Number (ABN or ACN) or Trademark Number ie of organizations registered to do business in Australia. Australian domains cannot be preregistered or reserved.
– To buy a .de domain it is required to have the domain administrative contact located within Germany.

Country domains are registered with the respective national registry or through domain registrars with global capabilities. For more information on choosing where to register, you can check out <How to Choose the Right Domain Name Registrar for you>.

What’s the Verdict?

Buying country code extensions is definitely something to consider – even a bagful of them if you plan to expand your markets in the near future. To sum it up:

– They can be good quality for money compared to their respective .coms.
– They can ensure you just the geographic specific targeting you need
– You look more trustworthy to local audiences.

As always, the best choice is the one that serves your business needs.

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