Buying up lots of domain names that are vaguely similar to your primary domain is common practice and lots of online business owners will have a stash of domains that they have invested in rather than simply buying just one. There are many reasons for this with one of the most common being the desire to buy out that particular web address in each of the available formats (e.g. mywebsite.biz, mywesbite.net, mywebsite.us), thereby preventing any one else owning too similar an address. But, while buying one domain isn’t too expensive, buying dozens or even hundreds of addresses that may never be used can be a very costly exercise. The likelihood is that the majority of secondary addresses will never be used as the cost of designing and maintaining more than one main website is prohibitive. So, is it ever wise to invest in multiple domains or is it simply a waste of money?
1. Owning multiple domains can lead to more traffic
Back in the 1960s in the early days of the brand, Luciano Benetton experimented with the opening of a second shop on exactly the same street as an existing storefront. He found that rather than losing half of the custom in shop one to shop two, he drew in an entirely new clientele, therefore increasing his sales. Half a century later and the same principle can be applied to multiple domain names.
Having more than one domain all pointing to your primary web address can help capture more traffic. This works well for domains that include very general keywords, where web users may be inclined to type in keyword.com in the address bar rather than use a search engine. For example, if you sell beds your main domain could be www.woodenbeds.com but you may also want to purchase www.kingsizebeds.com or www.childrensbeds.com in order to cast your traffic seeking net further afield.
2. Owning multiple domains can be a strategic decision
If you own the .com version of your domain, you may want to buy up other variations such as .net, .biz or .us even though you may never use them. The reason for doing this is purely strategic – you’re buying them to prevent your competitors from getting their hands on them and using them to misrepresent your brand. This is a smart business decision as any website appearing on a domain so similar to your own that is not controlled by you can have catastrophic consequences for your business.
3. Domain complaints or domain reviews
It’s a sad fact of business life that you can’t please everyone and while you try as hard as humanely possible to offer a decent service to each and every customer, there will always be those clients for whom your efforts fall below expectations. What that happens they may be tempted to go online and post a negative review. Bad press always seems to travel faster and have more power than a mountain of good press so buying your domain + reviews.com or complaints.com gives you a chance to limit the impact of the occasional bad review. It also gives you a forum to pro-actively engage with those who have suffered a bad experience and suggest remedies or offer compensation to protect your brand online.
4. To err is human
Everyone makes mistakes when surfing the web – how often have you typed in www.gogle.com rather than www.google.com? Buying up misspells of your domain means you can point the incorrect address at the correct one, thereby ensuring all of your intended traffic ends up at your domain. If you try the above example and type in www.gogle.com you’ll still end up at Google because they own the misspell and have it pointed at the correct domain. If you don’t buy up the misspell of your own web address, you may find that some of your traffic ends up at an error page. While some will notice their mistake and type in the correct version of the domain, others will not and you risk losing them to another website.
Only you can know for sure, but investing a little extra cash in some additional domain names to cover the above eventualities may turn out to be one of the smartest business moves you make.