.io Domain Extension Ranking Results After 1 Year

Last Update: May 01, 2022

I started a new website that I've been working on since ealry 2021, and wanted to try something new. It's in a tech niche, and had seen several other domains in this niche using the .io domain extension. Of course, I know that .com is the most popular, recommended, and widely used domain extension, but I'm a YOLO kind of business owner and figured I'd give the .io domain extension a shot. Why?

  • I wanted to try something new
  • It would be cool to see something unique succeed
  • This is a long term project so I had time to fail and start over
  • I thought maybe new domain extensions had become more useful since the "old days"
  • .io is a widely used and trusted domain for tech websites
  • The .com domain I wanted was being squatted, but the .io version was available

So I started my new site in May of 2021, and went for it. I published about 50 between June and December 2021. The results? Not so great. I was getting fewer than 100 visits a month, which works out to about 3 visits a day, and even some of those were from my own IP address.

In December, I had a choice to make. Keep trying to force this thing to work, or capitulate and just move everything over to a .com domain extension. I knew that .io domain extension could work. I had seen them ranking in the wild. There were just not that many through. Was it worth the work?

Pros Of Keeping The .io

  • no extra work of redirecting entire site
  • get to stick to the project and see it through to the end
  • possibility of having a high ranking .io domain extension (unique)
  • proves the point that any domain extension can work

Pros Of Moving to .Com

  • Might must make my life easier
  • I know that .com works so I can stop second guessing myself
  • It's really not that much work
  • I can find plenty of good .com domains

As mentioned above, I'm a YOLO kind of business owner, but I'm also a "rip the band aid off" type of business owner as well. I saw the writing on the wall. The .io domain extension was fun to experiment with, but the site was struggling, and I was always thinking about whether it was the fault of the extension. I'd rather just go with the .com and remove that variable as to reasons why the site wasn't picking up any steam at all.

I was ready to put in an hour or two to get the site moved to a .com domain extension and see how things performed.

After 4 months of having the site as a .com domain, I was lucky enough to see some clear results and a conclusion to my experiment after 1 year.

As you can see, the results are clear. I changed from .io to .com in December 2021, and by January, I immediately saw a bump in traffic. As of May 2022, it looks like I'm finally getting some momentum. Of course, traffic is still quite low, but it's still nice to see a trend starting.

There is still the possibility that somehow, randomly January was the time when search engines started to give me more keyword rankings, but there will always be "what if" scenarios in these types of case studies. For me, it's good enough to close the book on this and learn from the results.

Although I do think that .io domain extension can work for ranking in search engines (I've seen it myself), I think for now, they are best for company websites using other types of traffic generation like traditional advertising and paid ads. For search engine rankings, .com is still the best bet.

Does that mean you should absolutely ditch your domain name if you are not using a .com right now? It's really up to you. As I mentioned above, I think any domain extension CAN work if you force it to. With enough blog posts, and enough social media engagement, and enough this or that, Google will rank anything. However, I think most people, most of the time, will do better with .coms. For me, it will probably be a long time until I experiment with anything other than .com. It's just not worth the headache for me.

I hope you enjoyed the resulst of this case study!

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Recent messages
deelilah Premium Plus
Hello, Nathaniell. I wondered about this. Thank you for sharing your experiment. Have you heard about blockchain domains? If you're curious, visit unstoppabledomains.com. Mainstream use is probably in the future, but I bought a few hoping to pick some names that might sell someday. Once bought, you own them, rather than pay yearly, plus, they can serve as a crypto wallet.
CassiOfTroy Premium Plus
Thank you for the share on UnstoppableDomains, Donna.

nathaniell Premium Plus
I've heard about it but I don't think censorship resistant domain names will be necessary for most people. Plus, if they aren't built on bitcoin, they are probably a centralized blockchain anyway, making them not-so-censorship-resistant.

It may be a niche product with some use case in the future, but it's unlikely to go mainstream IMO.
AbieAJ Premium Plus
I got my first VERY unique dot crypto domain just now and I am so excited lol Yet I have to learn how to use it lol
CassiOfTroy Premium Plus
A great move, Abie!

You will learn, I am certain.

AbieAJ Premium Plus
Thank you Cassi and greatly appreciated.
CassiOfTroy Premium Plus
You are welcome, Abie.

Have a good day.
congrats im happy for ya keep it up
Dhind1 Premium Plus
Very interesting to know. I am currently using a .net domain name. It is not yet months old and results are slow, but we have over 60 posts are we are gaining momentum.

We could not get the .com for the site we anted, so it is not the same, but that is my story.

BrendaMZ Premium
Interesting case study research. Thanks for sharing. Jay, our WA trainer does have an .org site but he also has other .com sites I gather from one of his recent trainings. I have seen other .io sites that are promoting high ticket software for affiliate marketing (not a tech site) along with their e-courses. I wondered how they ranked. I just happened to be on one of their email list. I think they invested heavily in paid ads to get their page ranked on the top of Google search engine.
Feochadan Premium Plus
Thank you! That was a great comparison post and one that most have probably not looked into in depth. I’ve been curious about .io as well. Those are amazing results you got for just from changing domains!

Thank you so very much for taking the time to share this valuable info with us,

ThomasPaul Premium Plus
I’ve been thinking about switching my .co website over to a .com. The renewal fees are higher and I don’t really like the domain name.

I registered it back in 2010 when exact match domains were popular, the .com was taken, and Godaddy was pushing the .co TLDs pretty heavy. I’m thinking about just switching it to a brandable name in the same niche.

I wonder if the hard time ranking is because it’s a TLD for a country other than what your primary visitors are from, not that there are really a lot of businesses in the British Indian Ocean Territories.

I’m kind of surprised they gave it a TLD. It seems like a money grab for someone, but not sure who.
nathaniell Premium Plus
Yeah I read about the Indian Ocean thing, but I saw so many tech sites using it, I thought that it was "known" it wasn't necessarily an Indian Ocean specific site. You could be right though, and that could be the reason, or part of the reason.

If you are thinking of switching to a .com but the work involved is holding you back, my advice is to just rip the bandaid off and get it done. You'll thank yourself after another 12 years has passed.
Biene14 Premium
did you use 301 redirects or the move website feature here in WA?