The number of domains on the Internet is greater than you may think. There are all kinds of domains such as traditional domains (.com, .net, .org), new generic domains (.bank, .law, and .sucks), international domains, and also country code top-level domains (ccTLDs) that are assigned to every country and overseas territories. ccTLDs are among the most frequently registered domain extensions in the world, but they don’t get hardly enough credit.
What are Country Code Top-Level Domains?
ccTLDs or country-specific domain endings are always made up of a two-letter code and managed by their respective countries. There are currently 254 ccTLDs, and 101domain carries the largest selection found anywhere. ccTLDs make up 7 out of the top ten largest TLDs by the number of domains reported by Verisign.
Although we are primarily used to seeing .com domains here in America, country code domains are used more prevalently throughout the rest of the world.
Source: ZookNIC, Q1 2021; Verisign, Q1 2021; Centralized Zone Data Service, Q1 2021
Many countries take pride in their ccTLD and use it as their main website domain. However, it is always good practice to register .com and other worthwhile domains as brand protection. The same goes for registering ccTLDs. If your company only owns the .com domain, you are leaving a major gap in your domain portfolio that cybersquatters, counterfeiters, and competitors can take advantage of.
How do you Register Country Code Domains?
The fact that country code domains are not managed by a centralized organization like ICANN, means that every country has the right to determine its own rules and regulations. This creates considerable variation in pricing, registration, enforcement, and more.
In Singapore, for example, anyone wishing to register their domain under .sg domain needs to appoint an administrative contact with a valid Singapore postal address.
Now you might be saying this all sounds great – but I don’t live in Singapore.
5 Reasons why you should Register a Country Code TLD
#1 Local SEO Benefits
Registering a ccTLD for your website allows you to target traffic from specific areas of the world. Let’s say you own a bakery in France or are expanding your business there, you may want to register a .fr domain name to ensure that your company is showing up in the search results of those living in France.
#2 Instill Buyer Confidence
ccTLDs are preferred to .com domains in many countries because many people prefer to complete transactions and visit sites in their own native language, currency, and region. ccTLDs allow customers to easily identify websites local to their region when shopping online so that they can click local and buy local.
#3 Greater Availability
Traditional and public domains like .com domain make up more than half of all domain extensions on the Internet combined. This means you’ll have a greater chance of securing your name in a ccTLD.
#4 Shorter Names
ccTLDs are always made up of a two-letter code that is assigned to every country. Because every country has the right to determine its own guidelines for assigning domain names, some ccTLDs do not require higher prices for short, high-value domain names.
#5 Get Creative
Some companies have been creating domain hacks to build a strong brand around their domain name. There are two types of domain hacks. The first is when you use a ccTLD domain ending to form words and phrases. The second is using domains for a purpose other than what they were intended. Country code domains make perfect domain hacks. The most common are .ai for artificial intelligence and .io for input/output. Other ways brands are using ccTLDs for domain hacks is bit.ly using Libya’s .ly domain to complete their name and Mailchimp uses Belgium’s .be domain for their domain name subscri.be which redirects to mailchimp.com.