Choosing the right domain to house your business is the first essential step to establishing an online presence and personality. There are a number of questions that you need to ask yourself before committing to domain, as choosing both alternatives is not usually feasible. Leading not only to confusion, hosting multiple domains can lead to an increase in costs and maintenance work required for optimization. Buying both domains (if possible) can however be useful in preventing others from claiming the domain and only releasing it for a significant payoff.
While we strongly recommend purchasing both domains to prevent squatting, the question of which to use as your top level domain remains. So under what circumstance should you choose .ca over .com and vice versa?
What geographic location are you serving, and what is the nature of your product or service? Answering this question is essential to choosing the domain that is most suitable and will yield the most traffic.
If indeed you are only serving the Canadian market and have no intention of diversifying your business by expanding to the United States, the .ca domain seems to be superior. Providing advantages to SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and geotargeting, a .ca domain can increase relevant traffic to your website. Furthermore, it is also believed that Canadians are more likely to choose .ca vs .com domains to support the local economy and simply because they assume it is more relevant to their interests and needs.
United States Market
Unquestionably, if you are serving the United States market or the both markets combined, the .com domain is the superior option. The domain allows you to reach a wider audience and also provides incredible versatility regarding the global market. It is universally recognized, and foreign browsers are more likely to click on a .com domain than one from a different country (ie. .ca).
The .com domain is by far the most recognizable and the most popular domain name extension on the web. Are you interested in being branded as a smaller, local company serving your nearby market or do you want to be perceived as a giant with a wide target market across the globe? Larger companies are known to use .com domains because of the reputation and respectability that the extension provides; however, smaller more centralized business that are branded for serving a smaller geographical location can opt for the .ca option.
Which domain is right for you?
Depending on the nature of your product/service and the geographical market that you serve, choosing your domain can have a positive or negative on how your business is perceived. By understanding these two logical yet essential steps, you can breeze through the selection process, and rest assured you made the right decision.