For online businesses originating in the United Kingdom, it is an interesting conundrum to decide whether to choose .com or .co.uk as the domain extension.
For many, it is an issue which is probably far less complex that is might appear. This is because choosing the right one will depend on which domain extension best suits your target audience.
For government agencies or charities, the choices have been made for you since they must use specific domain extensions, such as .gov or .org.
Plus, for personal websites, many are choosing the .me extension because it works quite well and signifies the personality of the site. However, for businesses choosing between .com and .co.uk means having to factor in other considerations.
There is little doubt that .com is the most popular domain extension on the web, well above the nearest competitor.
The success of .com is mostly due to familiarity as it expanded across the US, then around the world. For many, the .com is the only domain extension that they will consider for their online business.
Plus, the .com is a universal domain extension recognized in all parts of the world. if your plans are to sell around the globe, then the .com offers an easier way to break into those markets compared to extensions that are less familiar or more localized.
The big strength of the .co.uk domain extension is its localization.
With more search engines accounting for local domain extensions, it means for businesses that want to primarily appeal to customers in their communities, a .co.uk extension will have a better opportunity at being ranked higher compared to a .com.
Now, keep in mind that there are other factors that go into the rankings of a website. But, between otherwise equal online businesses, the .co.uk will be ranked higher than a .com for those making local searches.
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.com or co.uk – Comparative Table
To help you better understand the pros and cons of .com and co.uk in a comparison with each other we’ve put together a comparative table:
|International focus||UK focus|
|Non-localized top-level domain||Localized top-level domain|
|Popular worldwide||Popular in the UK|
|Likely to rank better internationally||Likely to rank better locally (UK)|
|Global image||Local image|
.com or co.uk – Which One to Choose?
The answer is pretty straightforward.
If you run a local business, such as a retail shop, restaurant or coffee shop whose primary customer base walks in through the front door, then a .co.uk is perfect for your establishment in the United Kingdom.
When properly augmented with Search Engine Optimization (SEO), your search rankings will be higher for local customers looking for the goods or services you provide.
If you are an online only company whose primary customer base is anyone in the world who wants to purchase your goods, then a .com is the better choice.
Because of its universal nature, a .com is the best domain extension when reaching out to worldwide markets.
Also, it is quite familiar which makes more consumers willing to give your site a chance.
Keep in mind that you can secure both .com and .co.uk domains for your online businesses and expand your reach even further.
Plus, you can use the additional domains to simply forward them to one site which makes them easier to maintain.
The key will be deciding which top level domain name and extension to choose to match your audience and maximize the potential of your business.