When creating a website, you have to make a lot of decisions, but the top-level domain you select can be critical to your success. As a Canadian business owner, you should consider using .ca. Find out about some of the most compelling reasons why – and understand when you should choose a .com website domain instead.
The .ca top-level domain is exclusively for Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and businesses. When you use this domain name, your clients are instantly assured that you are a Canadian company. The organization responsible for managing the .ca domain, the Canadian Internet Registration Authority, reports that 77% of Canadian consumers prefer to use websites with .ca.
Canadians also tend to trust this domain for e-commerce more than other domains. Essentially, they know the site is Canadian and feel confident that they are paying Canadian dollars rather than another currency. This kind of consumer confidence can be key for sales.
Search Engine Optimization
There are over 125 million websites with a .com domain – if you choose that suffix, you often end up competing with all of these sites in an internet search. In contrast, there are only 2.5 million .ca websites. That is only 2% of the number of .com websites, which means you’re competing with a much smaller pool of websites in online searches.
Google and other search engines use a range of factors – including prominence, relevance, and keywords – to organize search engine results. However, they also take location into account. When you have a .ca website, that can be an organic way to improve your rankings in search results and draw more Canadian web users.
If you do business internationally, however, you may want to opt to use a .com domain. Ideally, in these situations, you may want to register both the .ca and .com domains. If you eventually plan to do business internationally, consider registering the .com that correlates with your .ca website so that nobody claims it in the meantime.
If you decide to register both a .com and a .ca website, you face the challenges of finding an unused name in both of those top-level domains. However, if you plan to target Canadian clients, many more names are available on the .ca domain registry. Because fewer than 3 million names are claimed, there are lots of available names. Even if you think up a clever, unique name, it may not be available as a .com address.
Claiming a .ca website is simple. To see if the name you want is available, visit the Canadian Internet Registration Authority and type the website name you want in the search box in the middle of the screen. If the name is already registered, the website lets you know. If it isn’t registered, the site directs you to a list of certified providers. These companies, such as GoDaddy and Registerca, sell you the domain name as well as hosting services, emails linked to the website, online listings, and related web services.