.COM vs .COACH – Is using an alternative domain ending a bad idea?

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Hey there

It’s Jennie Lakenan, certified life coach & consultant for your web design strategy needs. Over the last handful of years I’ve designed dozens of websites for coaches. My mission is to get more coaching into the world and help elevate the quality of life of humans at large by delivering expert custom website design and strategy to coaches.

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Should I get a Coach Domain .COM vs .COACH – Is using an alternative domain ending a bad idea
The Life Coach's Tech Roadmap

The only 5 pieces of tech a coach needs to set up an online business without overwhelm.

5 simple website fixes to get more coaching clients

Five sure-fire ways to increase the number of clients you sign from your coaching website.

Setting up your online coaching business brings you face-to-face with an important decision early on: choosing the perfect domain name for your website.

Picking a domain name is important because it’s essentially the digital address that will house your brand, your services, and your unique value proposition to the world for years to come.

But what happens when the traditional .com domain you had in mind is already taken?

Screenshot of a claimed domain name

This is a pretty common predicament with how many websites exist on the internet today. Which is why you might be considering an alternative domain ending, such as .coach.

But is using an alternative domain name ending like .coach instead of .com a bad idea? Will people trust it less? Will Google still pull it up in search results?

In this article, I’ll answer those questions by providing some pros and cons to alternative domain name endings. That way, you can be informed as you pick a domain that feels personal and still helps you reach your audience.

What is a domain name?

At its core, a domain name is your online address that lets people to find your coaching website on the vast expanse of the internet. Think of it like the digital equivalent of your business’s street address, guiding potential clients to where you live online.

Choosing your domain name is important because it’s the first hint to website visitors about who you are and what you might offer. It’s important that it’s short and easy to remember.

While domains ending in .com have been the gold standard for a long time, the digital landscape is evolving. New, industry-specific domain name endings like .coach offer a potential way to stand out and immediately communicate your niche and expertise.

But…are alternative domain name endings like .coach a good idea for a coaching business?

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Pros to a coach domain ending

Search engines don’t penalize you for using alternative endings

You might be wondering if using something like .coach instead of .com effects whether or not people can find you on search engine results pages (SERPs). It’s a valid concern, especially if you’re relying on people finding your coaching business organically from search results.

The good news is that using a .coach domain—or any other alternative top-level domain (TLD)—doesn’t inherently disadvantage your website in the eyes of search engines like Google. This means that from an SEO perspective, choosing a .coach domain won’t directly lower your site’s ranking in search results.

An alternative ending can help make your brand more memorable

If it’s industry-specific, an alternative domain ending can make your site more memorable. For example, in the coding industry sector, there are a few sites that use .io as their domain ending.

Codepen.io, for instance, is a social development tool for website developers and designers like me.  Its domain ending is memorable, short, and fits the industry it’s targeting.

So, using .coach could make your website more memorable since it directly relates to the service you offer. Depending on your coaching specialty or brand image, here are a few other alternative domain name endings you might consider besides .coach:

  • .life for general life coaches focused on personal growth and well-being
  • .fitness for fitness and wellness coaches who want to highlight physical health or training services
  • .consulting for business and executive coaches focusing on consulting services
  • .expert to underscore deep knowledge and expertise in a specific coaching niche

Each of these domain endings could potentially serve to to make your website more memorable to your audience, especially if they allow you to opt for a shorter domain name. That said, there are a few caveats to keep in mind…

Cons to a coach domain ending

Alternative domain endings can be associated with spam

There are a few alternative endings (like .link and .biz) that are strongly associated with spam or malware websites.

Top 10 TLDs for shady sites
Source: bluecoat.com

Depending on what alternative domain name you use, you do run a risk of associating yourself with these types of sites. That means lost trust and credibility with your website visitors. And if your web address comes across as less trustworthy to visitors, then they won’t click.

It doesn’t matter how beautiful your website is if you lose out on the opportunity to show people what you offer because your domain doesn’t feel trustworthy.

It’s the simple truth that .com is easier to remember

According to statistics, nearly half of all websites use .com domain endings. That means .com is what most people default to when they’re typing in a web address — it’s just what they’re used to.

This con might not matter as much for you if most of your website traffic is clicking through via digital advertising or social media. It’s when a visitor is actually typing in your web address (like if they are recalling it from a business card) that this matters more.

Either way, don’t make these mistakes!

Beware of domain name front-running

There’s something called domain name front-running that, unfortunately, many domain registrars practice.

Domain name front-running is when domain registrars keep track of what domains are searched for on their site, buy up the domain names shortly after they get searched (but not yet bought), and then put the domains on the market for several thousand dollars.

It’s perfectly legal, but it’s crummy for you, the consumer. For this reason, I suggest searching and buying domains using Namecheap or Namesilo. These are platforms that, as far as I’m aware, don’t practice the buy-up-searched-domains thing. Or simply use ICANN Lookup.

This helps protect your domain as you deliberate on which one to buy.

Be mindful of alternative spellings

No matter what domain name ending you pick, make sure that you are mindful of alternative spellings of your root domain. Try to purchase those spellings if you can, and have them redirect to your main domain.

For example, my name is one that’s often misspelled as jennielakeman.com. It would probably be a good idea for me to consider purchasing that domain and redirecting it to my main website!

This strategy not only prevents you from losing traffic due to misspellings, but also protects your coaching business from being exploited by others who might register these variations in the future, hoping that you’ll want to buy them.

Get more tips on choosing a domain name here.

Check name availability across social platforms

Buying a domain name is just the first step in setting up your online presence. Before you commit to a domain, check on the availability of that name across all social platforms.

If your website is coachwithjane.com, you might want to check that @coachwithjane is available on Instagram, Facebook, and other social platforms. A handy tool like NameChk makes it easy to do this! Just type in your desired domain and have a look.

Using the same handle across these channels simplifies your marketing and helps your potential clients be less confused. If your business name is taken on a major platform, you might consider tweaking your domain name slightly so you can have uniformity across your web and social presence.

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Final thoughts on coach domain endings

Whatever domain name ending you pick, it doesn’t have to be a life-long commitment. Don’t wait weeks spinning about the “perfect” domain name. You’re better off making a choice and getting your web presence launched.

That’s massive action, my friends! Make a choice. Commit to it. Take the next steps.

Read more: How to choose a domain name for your coaching website

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