One of the keys to success for Canadian small businesses is establishing a link with their target audience, and they do that in the first instance by using a Canadian domain name (.ca) for their website.
Canadian entrepreneurs who have a website with a Canadian domain name are an optimistic group, as reflected in GoDaddy’s global entrepreneurship survey.
83% of Canadian Internet users prefer to support companies that have .ca at the end of their web addresses.
Like any other country, Canada has its own two-letter domain extension. Shorter than .com
Why does Canada have its own domain?
In the early days of the Internet, most countries were assigned a two-letter domain called the country code top-level domain (ccTLD for short).
This is something you might have noticed if you have traveled to a different country; If you’ve ever been to Mexico, for example, you may have noticed that they use the .mx domain for companies based in Mexico.
Canada’s dedicated ccTLD from .ca is pretty straightforward.
Currently, there are over 2.8 million Canadian domain names (.ca).
Who can register a .ca domain?
Some ccTLDs have restrictions on who is eligible to register a Canadian domain name.
One of the most common restrictions is a residency requirement.
In many countries, a person or business wishing to register the ccTLD from that country must have a physical location in that country.
Whether or not a ccTLD imposes a presence requirement depends on the registry (the organization that manages the domain). In the case of .ca, the registry is the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA).
“Canada .ca domain names can only be registered by Canadian citizens and companies, organizations and community groups that have a presence in Canada.”
This requirement works for two things:
- Maintain 100% Canadian .ca
When Canadians see a .ca domain, they automatically know that the site is Canadian.
Having this association can help you with your business goals if you are targeting a Canadian audience.
This is not true for all ccTLDs. The .co domain, for example, was originally assigned to Colombia.
However, in 2010 the presence requirements were lifted and now anyone in the world can register a .co domain.
While this has led to many more .co registrations, there is no longer a strong association between the domain and Colombia.
- You could have better luck getting the web address you want
Many people make up cool trade names only to find that .com is already registered for someone else.
If the web address you are looking for is not available in .com, try .ca.
When you do a domain search for .ca, it’s easier to find an available domain than:
- Exactly matches your company name
- It is short and memorable.
- It contains a relevant keyword for your business.
- If you don’t know which domain name to register, read CIRA’s guide on how to choose a great .ca domain name for your business.
Three more good reasons to choose a Canada .ca domain name:
Coast to coast trust
As mentioned above, Canadians like to do business with other Canadians.
In fact, 83% of Canadian internet users prefer to support companies that use .ca for their websites.
A Search Advantage
Search engines like Google give country code TLDs as .ca preferred ranking when Canadians search online.
Using this domain name makes it easier for Canadian companies to find themselves on search engines.
Support a good cause
For each .ca domain that is registered, CIRA.ca contributes a portion of the registration fee to grants that fund projects designed to help improve the Internet in Canada.
What types of companies should choose a .ca domain?
While many business owners think quickly of .com first, there are some good reasons why you may want to consider going with a Canada .ca domain name for your website.
Choosing a domain name that is a recognized symbol of Canada online is ideal if you are creating a website to:
- A service-based business that only has Canadian customers
Sectors like finance or health are very specific to Canadians, while local services like a barber shop or dry cleaner just want people living in Canada to visit their website. Example: ViaRail.ca
- Any business that sells Canadian products.
If your products are proudly Canadian, the most appropriate thing is that the online sales channel or catalog has a Canadian domain name.
- A Canadian version of a multinational company or organization
Many companies have configured a geo-targeted version of their site, which includes text in both official languages, prices listed in Canadian dollars, and a local domain. Example: Care.ca
If you are looking to build a website with a domain name that Canadians will remember, keep in mind:
- Only individuals, corporations and organizations with a Canadian presence can register a .ca domain name
- Canadian internet users trust .ca
- .ca is the only domain that instantly shows visitors that your website is Canadian
So go ahead, see if your Canada .ca domain name is available now!