Is It Worth Investing In Multiple Domains?

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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.

About the Author

Rebecca is the managing director of search engine optimization agency Dakota Digital a full-service agency offering SEO, online PR, web copywriting, media relationship management, and social media strategy. Rebecca works directly with each client to increase online visibility, brand profile, and search engine rankings. She has headed a number of international campaigns for large brands.

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5 Comments

  1. When I read the title of this article, my first thought was, ok, this is going to confirm that nagging feeling that I’m wasting money regstering domain names that I don’t use. Reading this article makes me feel much more comfortable with my decision. I certainly don’t fall in the category where I own hundreds but even with what I do have, the cost adds up. They are all pointed to active websites. So, at least they’re not parked and making monejy for the registrar.

  2. We always recommend to our clients that they register as many domains as they need to in order to protect their intellectual property. In practice this generally means registering their preferred prefiix based on their company name/brand/whatever) as country level domains in the territories they operate in (or are likely to operate in) and if possible the best available gTLD version of the web name. In practice this means the will have the registrations of at least the .com.au and .com/.net secured. Total cost about $40 per annum or less if they can be bothered to do it themselves. If they don;t they run the risk of what happened to one of our clients fairly large outfit. They wouldn't register the .com version of their company name which was made up of two English names which were both first names and second names eg. like "James". It so happened that the .com was grabbed by an err... adult film industry actor who published a site full of explicit action shots. Our client was amazed how many people forgot to type the .au when looking for the site and complained about what they were confronted with. Eventually they had to rename the company and completely rebrand. An expensive exercise.

  3. Shawn Hakimian

    Sorry Rebecca but I have to disagree with much of what you said in this article. 1. Owning more domains will NOT lead to more traffic. The examples you give in the 2nd paragraph are foolish. Nobody searches for websites by typing keywords into the address bar. There's this tiny thing today called Search Engines, notably Google. 2. There's nothing strategic about registering a .net or .biz if you're a .com site. If you're not a .com site it would be smart to register a .com domain and redirect it to your .biz or.net site. 3. Registering a whole domain for complaints and bad reviews is outrageous. If you're getting that much bad feedback you wouldn't be in business in the first place. 4. If you see people are making common mistakes with spelling your website name, this would make sense. But most of the time if someone is having trouble getting to your website they will simply search google and find the correct site address. Sorry for all the bashing but understand that I feel different about the topic.

  4. "The examples you give in the 2nd paragraph are foolish. Nobody searches for websites by typing keywords into the address bar." You'd be amazed how often that happens.

  5. Actually, Shawn, as Chris points out, people do type in keywords in the address bar. I know I do sometimes when it's the fastest way to enter the search query because of where my cursor has wound up.