.COM or .SG? How Your Domain Affects Your Online Presence

If you’re a startup or a new business, you’re probably on your way to build your online presence — and a good one at that. And the crucial first step would be buying a domain name for your website.

You’ve made up your mind on a memorable brand name. Now, it’s time to decide on the right domain for your business.

Should you go with the generic .com? Or would ccTLDs like a .sg do your business good?

.COM vs. .SG: How to Choose the Right Domain for Your Business

You may have thought that domain names are just website addresses. They don’t affect your online presence, right?

Truth is — your domain name impacts your online presence by a lot.

This goes out not only to your branded domain name but also to the type of domain extension you choose.

Generic top-level domain (gTLD)

A gTLD, such as .com, is an international extension associated with a domain class.

In the early days of the internet, .com was only used for US companies. This also applied to .net (tech-related websites), .org ( non-profits), and .gov (government agencies). 

Today, the lines have blurred. Anyone can use a .com domain, whether they’re an individual or a business.

Country code top-level domain (ccTLD)

There are also available domain names that are country-specific. For Singapore, there’s the .sg domain. Other popular ccTLDs include: .us for USA, .hk for Hong Kong, .ph for the Philippines, .jp for Japan, and so on.

Today, people use ccTLDs beyond their intended purpose. Businesses use them for creative branding, like instagr.am and youtu.be.

So what’s the deal between choosing a .com or a .sg for your business? 

Read these determining factors before choosing a domain extension.

.COM vs. .SG: Which Domain Boosts Your Online Presence  

Search engine optimisation

Search engine optimisation

There are two ways your domain affects search engine rankings: branding and keywords.

  • A branded domain is likely more favoured in search engine results. Why? Google loves brands. They’re trusted and credible, meaning you’re more likely to earn backlinks and clicks.
  • A domain name can also contain relevant keywords. If you’re a web design consultancy, you can opt for web-design-consultancy.com. This is a common SEO practice that gets you better ranking on search engines — but only to a degree.

But what about web extensions? Do they directly affect SEO?

The answer is yes… and no.

.Com domains may be the most popular extension, but Google treats it equally as other gTLDs.

Now for .sg domains. 

Notice how when you type a search for “pizza shops”, the results are local businesses with a .sg domain?

That’s because Google puts the most relevant results first. And the most relevant results are those closest to the user. Here’s how Google Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller puts it:

By default, most ccTLDs (with exceptions) result in Google using these to geotarget the website; it tells us that the website is probably more relevant in the appropriate country.

So if you’re planning to plant and grow your seeds right at home, a .sg domain will be your best bet.

Branding

Branding

A .com continues to be the gold standard when it comes to domain extensions. After all, it’s one of the first domain names that graced the internet.

Users are most familiar with a .com — it’s brandable, trusted, and accessible.

The thing is — it’s difficult to stand out in a sea of .coms, especially when you’re a new business. And standing out is what your business needs to thrive in the competitive market.

If you’re a startup and trying your hand in the local market, the most viable domain option is a .sg extension.

A .sg domain not only tops local search results but also leaves a good impression to your target audience. It’s short, memorable, and unique, which are foolproof signs of a great domain.

Customer Trust

Customer trust

A .sg domain benefits your business for the following reasons:

  • It means your products and services are 100% targeted to Singaporeans.
  • It ties you with Singaporean values and expertise, especially in the finance and tech industries. 
  • It helps build and sustain lasting customer relations in the long-term.

Registering a .sg domain name

Another reason for locals to trust a .sg domain is that registration follows a strict, thorough process.

Unlike a .com domain where anyone can register, you need to be a Singaporean local or business to get a .sg domain.

After choosing a reputable registrar that’s accredited by Singapore Network Information Centre (SGNIC), you need to submit several requirements before acquiring your domain.

This adds to your business’ trustworthy reputation and builds confidence among your customers.

.COM vs. SG: The Verdict

The key takeaway is that choosing between .com and .sg depends on your business’ needs. 

Local businesses will benefit more from a .sg domain, as it’s country-centric and caters to their very audience.

But you may consider getting a .com if you have a global audience or you plan to expand your reach soon. The challenge here is how you can optimise your website to make it stand out amid the vast competition. 

Planning to buy your first domain soon? Check if your domain name is available and register it before someone else does.