This guest post is provided by the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA), the organization that manages the .CA domain name registry in Canada. CIRA helps small businesses, entrepreneurs and startups get their businesses online.

One question many Canadian entrepreneurs have when setting up their website is “Should I register a .CA or a .COM domain name?” Choosing the right domain name extension for your website says a lot about your business and sends important signals to both potential customers and search engines about your website.

Here's a quick breakdown:

Why register a .CA domain name

  1. You're a Canadian business selling to Canadian customers
    A .CA domain name will immediately brand your website and business as 100% Canadian. Since the .CA has Canadian presence requirements, only Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and businesses can register a .CA. Moreover, Canadian consumers have a strong affinity towards .CA websites — 77% of Canadians say they prefer supporting Canadian businesses and 64% agree that Canadian businesses should have a .CA.
  2. You're selling online to Canadians
    Not only is the .CA domain viewed as safe, secure and trusted by Canadian Internet users, but research shows that Canadians are more likely to perform online transactions on .CA websites since they trust Canadian companies, know that they will be charged in Canadian dollars and that they won't have to deal with additional taxes and duties for shipping across the border.
  3. SEO benefits in Canada
    Your .CA domain name will tell search engines that your site is Canadian, meaning that it's likely more relevant to searchers in Canada. Furthermore, since Canadians prefer .CA websites, they are more likely to click through on a .CA listing in a search result.
  4. The .COM is already taken
    There are currently over 125 million .COMs registered worldwide. With only 2.5 million .CA domain names registered, it is far more likely that the domain name you want will be available in a .CA than in a .COM.
  5. .CA gives back
    A portion of the proceeds of .CA registrations goes toward the Community Investment Program, which funds innovative projects that give back to Canadian communities. Just by registering a .CA, you're helping build a better online Canada.

Why register a .COM domain name

  1. You're doing business outside of Canada
    If your business sells products or markets to customers outside of Canada, it is a good idea to also secure a .COM domain name (or whichever domain name extension is relevant to that market).
  2. You want to protect your brand
    Many organizations register their domain name across multiple top-level domains or TLDs in an effort to protect and control their brand. Domain names aren't expensive, and by registering both the .CA and the .COM, you are preventing it from being registered by somebody else (like a competitor, for example).

The bottom line

If your business is based in Canada and markets to Canadian consumers, the .CA domain is the obvious choice. Also register the .COM version of your domain if you are planning to target an international audience or if you're interested in protecting your brand.

Find your .CA domain name today.