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Your domain name is your online home address, but why stop at purchasing only one property? Quite often you’ll notice international brands holding two, three, or even ten and twenty domains under their belt. Why? Because they use them to segment their product/services offer, target different demographics, reach remote markets, and for various other growth-related reasons.
Now, with the majority of global brands taking this approach, small businesses are starting to wonder whether there are any benefits for them as well.
And yes, there are.
Multiple domains are both for those who are only in the planning phase, as well as big brands that already have an established website with a solid domain name and wish to expand their service offering. For instance, tesco.com reserved this specific domain for grocery shopping solely, and then established a new one, tescobank.com, where the company offers personal finance services.
Even multinational conglomerate Virgin holds virgin.com as its main website, virginmedia.com for communications services, and virginatlantic.com for aerial transportation.
Dominating the search results
Current Google’s algorithm doesn’t allow more than one URL from one and the same domain to rank on the first page of search results (at least not organically). To see your brand twice, you’ll have to invest in both SEO and PPC so as to have your URL listed among paid and organic listings.
But this would not suffice for big brands that offer a rich array of services – which is why the majority decide to buy multiple domains. For example, if you are working in the hospitality industry and offer both accommodation and transportation services, you are likely to benefit from purchasing two domains (eg. myhotels.com and mytransporartion.com).
Exploring alternative options
The Not-com era has already begun. A number of internationally-renowned brands already decided to establish their online presence on new, alternative domains. Aside from greater availability, they cite memorability and performance as some of the top reasons why they chose to allocate a part of their resources into funding and managing additional websites with different domain names and extensions. Many will still, without even thinking twice about it, go for the .com just because it is familiar and thus considered more reliable. But as the online world is densely populated, it is quite likely that someone already owns your ideal domain name (as well as all possible variations!).
Is this the reason to panic? Certainly not. There is a multitude of alternatives at disposal, the majority offering amazing creative branding opportunities that might just make you more memorable than a generic .com.
Big brands that have established their website years ago still decide to go for a new website with an alternative extension, and the two top reasons for this include:
1. Creativity and memorability
Today it is possible to get almost any extension you’d like. From .shop, .design, .club, and .build, to .business, .agency, .company, and many more. Depending on the type of your business, products, and services, you can select a domain that best describes your operations and as such makes it easy for your customers to understand what your brand is about just by looking at your URL.
Furthermore, unique domains allow you to be as creative as you wish. .ME, for instance, is quite commonly selected because it adds a personal touch and can be used to create witty and memorable domain names (eg. hide.me, deliver.me, cash.me). Some of our clients’ greatest business success stories happened precisely due to their clever choice of a domain name.
And don’t worry – there are many more that are still available. 🙂
2. Expansion into new markets
When a business decides to take its operations internationally, one of the best steps it can take to get close to the foreign customers is to build a website with a local domain. Every country comes with a domain of its own, mostly utilized by government agencies, local businesses, as well as international ones looking to offer their products and services to the local market.
Once again, we can take Virgin company as an example – they are proud owners of virginaustralia.com.au, virgintrain.com.uk, and virginmobile.ca, all which allowed Mr. Branson to get close to consumers around the globe.
When you decide it’s time for a strategic business change (for whatever reason) you have to make sure all your loyal clients are informed. But you’ll agree it’s literally impossible to reach out to every single person out there, won’t you?
To avoid old customers and referrals landing on 404 pages, consider keeping the old domain for just a little while. Its purpose may be solely to act as an information board where they’ll learn about your rebranding and in just one click reach your new online property.
Typos and spelling mistakes
The fact is – everyone’s spelling sucks. But instead of looking at it from a critical standpoint, a company should carefully consider how exactly can a person misspell your brand name.
We advise conducting brief online keyword research to establish which are the most common variations (you can even find a few ideas when looking for organic keywords that already brought some people to your website). These misspelled phrases might just be the opportunity for an additional domain name you were looking for.
Even Google ensured that both those who type gooogle.com and googel.com reach the search engine from the first try.
You should also beware of your competitors who might want to join in on your 5 minutes of fame by building a website with a similar domain name and steal a few bad spellers. Unless you beat them to the punch and become the proud owner of several possible brand name variations, they might just succeed in their endeavors.
A number of upcoming businesses look into their domain name options and after discovering several viable ones decide to make an investment, without even considering their resources or the real reasons behind their actions. Here’s what tends to happen in such situations:
Brands go for an exact match domain name
After the 2012 Google update, using exact match keywords in a domain name could no longer guarantee high rankings. The search engine realized that brands were prepared to even pay a little more for a perfect domain name and then completely neglect the website content.
Still, this doesn’t mean that domain names are completely irrelevant – on the contrary, they play a crucial role in your general SEO strategy, but only if combined with quality content.
Multiple websites feature same or similar content
Many freshly-minted brands decide to purchase multiple domains for digital marketing purposes – to organically dominate the search results from the very start. While this may be the benefit, the issue occurs with those who don’t have the resources to maintain several websites.
In such instances, many decide to use the same website design and content that features little or no changes. As a result, they get penalized for duplicate content and do more damage to their business than good.
Although you may branch out to dominate the industry (or several industries for that matter), your visitors and clients still have to remember that all the bits and pieces dispersed across the web are still a part of one entity. With that in mind, the best practice would be to establish one parent website which will act as a hub for all your other domains.
Ready to try one more domain name? Maybe .ME is precisely what you are looking for!