I'm planning to register few domains for my own portfolio, a personal blog and another for a side business. Ideally I would like to get all domains ending in .com, but if I am unable to do so, is the next best option to go for a domain ending in .net or .org? Are there specific naming conventions I should follow and extensions I should avoid?
Depends on the subject matter. For a technical website (you didn't mention what your blog was about) or a design/development portfolio, you should go with whatever is the most memorable (or whatever is available). Tech-savvy users usually just use bookmarks, and if not, they tend to be more friendly toward non-.com domains, and will be more likely to remember that your website is a
.net or whatever it is. However, if the website is supposed to appeal to a wide audience, a
.com domain is a must. I've found that if you tell an average person the name of a website, but don't tell them the exact domain, they will just type the name of the website +
Try to stay away from
.org unless the website is for a non-profit organization of some sort (think Wikipedia). Whenever I go to a domain that ends in
.org, I tend to think "free/open source", so if your website doesn't fall under than category, better to avoid it. Also, avoid obscure ones like
.biz (as @chris mentioned).
You could also go for domain hacks (like del.icio.us and play.it), but they are usually harder to remember, and all the good ones are taken already.
Go for the most memorable one. Which is probably .com followed by .net then .org
I'd say that the conventions as initially planned are mostly ignored. Originally .cx was meant for sites in the Christmas islands! And .com for commercial entities.
Avoid any of the ones spammers seem to love. For instance I tend to be dubious of anything ending in .biz
I can't ever remember deliberately going to a .biz or a .info, so if you're looking for TLDs to avoid, they'd be right at the top of my list. And probably .cn should be avoided, too, since when I see that I immediately assume spam. That last one might be different if I actually read chinese, but assuming your site will be in english, that pretty much leaves .com or some sort of clever name/country TLD.
First, a nitpick: The
.com part of a domain name is called the "top level domain" or TLD, not "extension".
There are a limited set of TLDs defined and recognized by IANA consisting of every two-letter country code and certain names with three or more letters. Originally, the generic names were just
.mil (along with
.arpa for historical reasons, as well as defined unassigned names such as
Recently, the TLD name space was expanded with the names
.name among others, and a mechanism was created for sponsoring organization to apply for and create additional names. A complete list with notes can be found at Wikipedia, and IANA maintains the official list.
Which should you select? The one or ones that best fit your site's purpose and content. Pragmatically, if you pick anything other than
NET, you will probably want to consider also capturing the same name in
NET to prevent user confusion.
In the long run, the idea is that organizations would pick the best name and stick to it, and end users would be educated that not everything ends in