Naomi writes a question for us over on our Facebook Fan Page:
“Should your campaign website URL be a .com or a .org or does it even matter?”
Good question Naomi, and not just for local political campaign candidates, either. Political campaigning is a hobby of mine, but my full-time career is in web design, Internet marketing and search engine optimization. I frequently hear from clients who wonder whether their new website startups should be launched as “dot com,” “dot org” or “dot net” sites.
First, let’s look at it strictly from an Internet marketing standpoint and ignore political campaigns and elections for a moment. The truth is that choosing .com over .net or .org doesn’t give you any kind of inherent advantage when it comes to search engine authority and organic traffic. There are plenty of examples of successful, highly-trafficked websites out there that use .com, .org and .net extensions.
The real value of having a dot com domain name in business and Internet marketing is the fact that web surfers simply trust and remember .com more than they do .org or .net. There are probably several reasons for this, but it mainly stems from familiarity: people have been hearing “dot com” for so long that they naturally associate it with domain names.
Now back to the question of political campaign websites and what extension they should use. If at all possible, it’s best to get a .com domain for your political candidate website for the same reason that I mentioned in the paragraph above: it’s simply easier for voters and supporters to remember.
Having said that, though, there might be reasons why you aren’t able to secure a .com domain for your election campaign. Perhaps you have a common name that has already been used in a .com domain, or perhaps your personal blog is already using that domain name and you want a different extension for your campaign site.
In this case, there’s nothing wrong with launching a .net or .org for your campaign website instead. Here’s some important info that you might be curious about: while .org domains were originally intended to be used only by non-commercial entities, there is no law that prevents you from using a dot-org or dot-net for any purpose that you want. Political campaigns, for-profit companies and many other organizations use .net and .org domains all across the Internet.
I hope that helps, Naomi! Good luck in kicking off your political campaign website, whether it’s a dot com, dot net or dot org!