If you’re looking to start a website, the right domain name can make all the difference. A huge part of that is choosing an extension, such as .com vs. .ca.
Both extensions can be useful for different things. Read on to learn about the pros and cons and when to use each to decide on a better extension for your website.
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What Does .com Mean?
The domain extension .com means “dot commercial.” It’s one of the most common top-level domains (TLDs), and you don’t have to have a commercial site to use it.
Everything from business websites to blogs to news sites uses .com. That makes it an excellent TLD if you can’t think of anything else to use. Other extensions have more restrictions, such as .edu only being available to schools and universities.
What Does .ca Mean?
The .ca domain extension is the country code for Canada. That means almost every website you see with this TLD will be from that country.
You don’t even need to be in Canada when registering the domain. However, using the extension for websites based in other countries can be confusing.
.com Pricing and Availability
The .com extension is the most popular, accounting for over 50% of all website domain extensions. You can search for available .com domains using many popular domain registrars, including GoDaddy, Namecheap, and Google Domains.
Now, its popularity means that a lot of domains ending in .com are no longer available. However, if you find an available name, it will usually be pretty cheap to register. If you register it through GoDaddy, the regular price is $20 for two years.
Google Domains charges $12 per year for most .com domains. Namecheap charges between $7 and $14 per year for a domain, depending on whether there’s a sale going on.
.ca Pricing and Availability
While it’s not as popular, you can register a .ca domain from many of the same registrars. Since it’s less common, you’ll have access to more second-level domains (SLDs), which is the part of the domain just before .ca.
If you go through GoDaddy, you can expect to pay $17 after a promotional period. That will get you two years of registration.
Google Domains charges $12 for .ca domains, just like .com domains. If you prefer to use Namecheap, you’ll owe about $12 for the first year and $14 per year after that.
.com Pros & Cons
Before you choose a .com domain, you should consider some pros and cons. While it’s the most popular extension, that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. After all, plenty of websites use other TLDs and do just fine.
Here are the advantages and disadvantages you should know before you register a domain ending in .com.
If you’re looking at registering a .com domain, you can enjoy a lot of benefits. Here are the most significant pros of using .com:
- Easy to remember
- Can help you rank higher in search results
- Affordable to register
Unfortunately, .com domains aren’t for everyone. Consider the following cons before you register a domain with this extension:
- Very common, so many names are taken
- Somewhat generic
- Commercial, so not ideal for websites for other purposes
.ca Pros & Cons
If you think that a .com domain isn’t for you, consider the .ca extension. It’s not a perfect alternative, but it can be a good option for some people and organizations.
However, you should consider the pros and cons of using .ca. Then, you can make sure the extension will meet your needs.
For some people and organizations, the .ca extension is an excellent choice. Keep the following advantages in mind when choosing a domain:
- Local to Canada
- Less saturated than .com
- Pretty affordable
Of course, .ca domains also have some drawbacks. Here are a few cons to using the extension that you should know ahead of time:
- Hard to expand outside of Canada
- Less recognizable, so visitors may navigate to the wrong site
- Can be harder to rank in general search results
When Should You Use a .com Extension?
Maybe you still can’t decide between the .com and .ca extensions. It helps to think about some use cases for the domain.
If you’re starting a business or want to develop a digital presence for an existing business, you should use .com as the extension. The ending refers to commercial websites, so you can do a lot with the domain and website.
It works whether you want to offer services or sell products. Of course, you’ll need to choose a good name that people can remember. However, you can use this extension whether you have a business in Canada or any other country.
The .com extension is also one that you can use no matter where you live or where your business operates. When you specifically compare this to the .ca extension, .com has a clear advantage.
If you currently or eventually want to attract a worldwide audience, you can limit yourself to a country code domain. However, when you use .com you can market yourself or your business to anyone around the world.
Easy To Remember
Since .com is the most common domain extension, it’s relatively easy to remember. That makes it easier for you and your customers or audience to find the website. When you use another extension, people may not remember that it doesn’t end in .com.
If there’s a similar website with the .com extension, your visitors could accidentally end up there. So, when you use the .com extension, you won’t have to worry about that. Instead, you can make sure you receive all of the traffic that wants to visit your site.
When it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), you can do many things to increase your rankings in search results. One of those things is selecting the right domain name and extension, such as .com.
The extension is so popular that it can be easy to rank relatively high. This is especially important if you want to attract visitors from all over the world. You may be able to attract Canadian visitors with a .ca domain, but you can limit yourself from getting other visitors.
When Should You Use a .ca Extension?
The .ca extension can be suitable in many cases. If the .com extension seems too general, consider if any of the following situations apply to you.
Local to Canada
Since it’s a country code TLD, .ca is an excellent option if you live in or operate a business in Canada. You may notice a lot of Canadian government websites use this extension, but so do people and businesses.
While .com is great, it can be a bit too general. People may not know that you’re in Canada and can help them. They would have to search your website to find your contact information to learn about your location.
Attract the Right Audience
The country code also has the benefit of attracting Canadians. People will know right away if your website is for them or not. Attracting an audience applies whether you have a business website, blog, or some other type of website.
Maybe you operate a local business, and you only want to work with Canadians. You can easily filter out visitors from other countries, even if you start to show up in search results or get traction on social media.
Being able to do that can help you increase your conversion rate for people who visit the site.
The .com Is Taken
The .com extension is popular, so a lot of domain names that use it are taken. If that’s the case, you may find the .ca extension available to register. However, this can be tricky because you don’t want to copy someone or send your visitors to a competitor.
As mentioned earlier, people may default to ending a domain in .com. If it exists but you don’t own it, you could lose out on traffic. But as long as you’re careful when it comes to marketing your website, you might not have to worry about this issue.
Better Local SEO
A .com domain may rank better in general searches. However, the .ca domain can rank better in local searches. That can help you get in front of your ideal customers even more, and you don’t have to pay for ads or rely on other methods.
Canadians may prefer to click on results ending in .ca. So if you’re struggling to get local views, you may want to change your domain. It can take a while for search engines to process, but once they do, you might start to get more local and domestic traffic.
The .com and .ca extensions are both fantastic options. If you want to attract visitors from all over the world or start a business website, .com is the better extension.
However, Canadian businesses and organizations should use .ca. That way, you can attract more local visitors and customers.
Be sure to consider the pros and cons of both extensions to help decide which is right for you.