One question many Canadian entrepreneurs have when setting up their website is, “Should I register a .CA or a .COM domain name?”. Choosing the right domain name extension for your website says a lot about your business and sends important signals to both potential customers and search engines about your website.
Here's a quick breakdown of some key differences between .CA and .COM:
Why register a .CA domain name?
You run a Canadian business selling to Canadian customers
A .CA domain name will immediately brand your website and business as 100% Canadian. Since the .CA domain has Canadian presence requirements, only Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and businesses can register a .CA. Moreover, Canadian customers have a strong affinity towards .CA websites – 79% of Canadians say they prefer supporting Canadian businesses and 68% agree that Canadian businesses should have a .CA.
- You're selling online to Canadians
Not only are websites using a .CA domain viewed as safe, secure, and trusted by Canadian internet users, but research shows that Canadians are more likely to perform online transactions on .CA websites since they trust Canadian companies, know that they will be charged in Canadian dollars, and that they won't have to deal with additional taxes and duties for shipping across the border.
- SEO benefits in Canada
Your .CA domain name will tell search engines, like Google, that your site is Canadian, meaning that it's likely more relevant to customers searching in Canada. Furthermore, since Canadians prefer .CA websites, they are more likely to click through on a .CA listing in a search result. Bottom line is that your .CA website is likely to perform better on search engines in Canada.
- The .COM is already taken
There are currently over 125 million .COMs registered worldwide. With only 2.6 million .CA domain names registered, it is far more likely that the domain name you want will be available in a .CA than in a .COM. This may give you a better chance at locking in a domain name that matches your exact business name, or one that is simple, short, or memorable.
- .CA gives back
A portion of the proceeds of .CA registrations goes toward the Community Investment Program, which funds innovative projects that give back to Canadian communities. Just by registering a .CA, you're helping build a better online Canada.
Why register a .COM domain name?
- You're doing business outside of Canada
If your business sells products or services to customers outside of Canada, you’re likely going to want to register a .COM domain name (or whichever domain name extension is relevant to that market). With that said, if you are a Canadian business, it is always a good idea to secure your .CA domain name as well.
- You want to protect your brand
Many organizations register their domain name across multiple top-level domains or TLDs in an effort to protect and control their brand. Domain names aren't expensive, and by registering both the .CA and the .COM, you are preventing it from being registered by somebody else (like a competitor, for example). You are easily able to forward your domain names to your main website.
By building a portfolio of domain names, you can effectively protect your brand, products, and ideas.
The bottom line
If your business is based in Canada and markets to Canadian consumers, the .CA domain is the obvious choice. Also register the .COM version of your domain if you are planning to target an international audience or if you're interested in protecting your brand.