You might have stumbled across domain extensions that end with two letters like “.in” or “.uk,” and wondered what they mean. Whether or not they have any difference compared to traditional TLDs like “.com” or “.org.”
How to Use Country-Specific Domain Names to Expand Your Global Business
These kinds of domains are called country-specific top-level domains (ccTLDs). And in this article, I’ll explain what they are and whether they are suitable for your website.
Let’s get started.
What Are Country-Specific Domain Names?
Country-specific domain name extensions (ccTLDs) are two-letter domain extensions that indicate where that website is based. For example, an “.in” TLD suggests the site is based in India, and the “.uk” is for the United Kingdom.
Although there are over 300 ccTLDs associated with most of the countries in the world, many internet users don’t often encounter these domain extensions in their daily lives. This could be because many websites are still using “.com” as their preferred domain extensions instead of ccTLDs.
ccTLDs are still uncommon in that Google has created an additional TLD term called the generic country code TLD (gccTLD). This means that whenever a ccTLD is popular enough, Google will treat them the same as gTLDs.
Some known gccTLDs are “.co,” which was initially for Colombia, and “.io,” originally for the Indian Ocean.
How to Use ccTLD for Your Business
ccTLDs have their specific uses, and we’ve compiled five simple steps that can help you decide whether they’re right for your website. Let’s take a look.
1. Develop a Plan
The very first step is knowing who you want to cater to on your website.
If you want to focus on the domestic market solely, then using a ccTLD that specifies your location.
However, if you plan on selling to a global market, then using a gTLD would be better since search engines will help rank it on various countries and not just your own.
If you currently have a gTLD website and plan to scale into new markets, you’re entering International SEO. Remember that ccTLDs focus on regions and not languages.
TFor example, the right way to use a ccTLD, in this case, would be if you’ve been successful in India and want to expand to the United Kingdom, you’ll use the “.uk.”
2. Choose Your Domain Name
The next step is to choose your domain name, which is essentially the address of your website.
You’ll want to take your time and conduct thorough research when choosing a domain name because it’s the first impression your website will make, and you can’t change it once you registered it. It’s a good practice to name your domain according to what you do as a business.
When choosing a domain name, keep in mind these tips:
- Keep it short and straightforward.
- Ensure it’s easy to spell and memorize.
- Avoid using hyphens, doubled letters, and numbers.
- Avoid slang words.
- Make it brandable.
Once you have a domain name, try running it through a domain name search tool to see if it’s available or not. In the case that it’s not available, the search tool will provide you with great alternatives.
3. Find a Domain Registrar
Once you know that the domain name is available, you should purchase it before someone else does.
In general, there are three places where you can buy a domain name, which are:
- Domain name registrars – businesses that are only focused on managing and selling domain names.
- Website builders – platforms that help beginners create professional websites easily. They usually include domain registration as a part of their service when you sign up.
- Hosting providers – companies that provide hosting services needed for websites to appear on the internet. They can sometimes include domain registration for free when you purchase one of their hosting plans.
The best place to purchase a domain name, especially if you also want to create a website, is from a provider that provides all three aspects above. That way you can set everything up in one place.
4. Register Your ccTLD
You can usually register your domain name for free in the first year when you sign up for a website builder or purchase a hosting plan.
If you decide to use a domain registrar, registering it is as simple as placing the domain name and extension you want on the cart and buying it. You’ll usually be able to adjust the registration period from one to ten years, and you also have the option to include or exclude domain privacy protection.
5. Expand Your Global Business
As mentioned before, if you’ve planned to expand your business beyond your current country and want to enter other countries’ markets, you should acquire the ccTLD of that country as soon as possible.
While there are many things to do when expanding your business to another country, getting your domain name with the country’s ccTLD is an essential first step.
Benefits of ccTLD
If you’re still unsure whether using ccTLD is the best option for your business, I’ve listed down some of the benefits:
- It helps to improve customer loyalty and trust.
- Allows you to do local targeting and SEO.
- You can target and reach your customers easier.
- In many countries, customers and search engines prefer locally based websites.
- In some markets, local ccTLDs will perform better in rankings compared to gTLDs.
Now that you know what country-specific domain names are and how to use them, all that’s left to do is for you to choose a ccTLD for your business.
Remember that you should only use ccTLD if you want to focus on a local market or you want to go to a smaller niche from your already existing global website.