By Natasa Djukanovic
When thinking about businesses with multiple domain names, what comes to mind first are big international corporations with equally big budgets. However, there are many ways having multiple domains can help your small business and its marketing strategy — without breaking the bank.
Better segmenting product & service offerings
Introducing a new product with great potential requires adjusting your marketing strategy, no matter how successful your existing products are. If your small business starts offering goods and services that are completely different from one another, you might consider building separate online homes for them, on different domains.
Think long-term. By having multiple websites, you ensure that each product and/or service is building up its own brand and association with the targeted customers. Of course, while doing this, you need to make sure to communicate the parent or umbrella company for all of those services. Let’s say you have a digital marketing agency, but at one point your team decides to create an app that helps people make sense of their website performance, without having to rely on Google Analytics. While you are certainly going to be promoting the app on your ‘main’ website, it makes sense to get a new domain for the app.
Setting up multiple domains is part of a long-term strategy which can help with future expansion and segmentation of your business offer. In fact, some people are known to register great-sounding domain names and ‘keep’ them for their future services and ideas. Just ask our CEO.
Improving accuracy in targeting different demographics
People are turning to the Internet in search of products and services more than ever before, so having a domain name with a great call-to-action TLD (top-level domain) can help you target different customer groups. In other words, having an extension such as .shop can appeal to anyone interested in your online store; .food could be perfect reaching foodies; and .ME for people who are looking for a personalized experience, product, or service. For example, PayPal started a personalized service for all of their customers – PayPal.ME, that allows you to easily share your PayPal account with others in a way that makes them confident they are sending funds to the right address.
As they say, the customer is a king, and you want him to be able to quickly and easily find your business. Sometimes, especially if it’s about a catchy call to action, your domain names can help your branding purposes. Then, you can include a server-level permanent 301 redirect from your catchy domain to where you want people to go. For example, if anyone is looking for yourcompany.shop they will be automatically redirected to your main website’s online shop page or your Etsy page.
Reaching new markets
As a small business, your initial efforts might be pointed to creating a strong presence online locally first. With that in mind, imagine how a location-specific TLD could work in your favor.
For instance, if a small business owner registers a domain with a .nyc extension, it gives a clear signal to the customer that the business is related to the New Your City area.
Geo domains are a fantastic way of making your products and services easily searchable by local customers, or the ones visiting the area.
The local, country, niche-specific tailored domains we mentioned are already a part of your local, international, or niche SEO. In combination with great content, the multiple domain strategy can improve search engine rankings.
In case you don’t want to create different content for your multiple domains, the 301 permanent redirect is the right thing to do.
However, if you do want to have content on all your domains and appeal to a specific audience even more, you need to provide unique content for each domain. It might seem like a time and assets-consuming endeavor but if we weigh it out with the benefits it brings in the long-run, the decision to do so is rather straightforward and simple. After all, if the content on those websites does not need to be that different, you probably would not be having two domains in the first place.
Be sure to avoid copy and pasting the content from your main website to your other ones. Why? This type of generic look gives negative signals to Google crawlers that can result in heavy penalties from demoting your domain authority and rankings to complete overnight wipeout of your website(s).
Safeguarding your brand
One of your most important assets to your small business is the brand you’re building and/or reinforcing. By having multiple domains, you protect that brand by disabling your “competition” to exploit a similar concept through a similar domain with a different TLD.
Next, be on the lookout for copycats and cybersquatters. The first lot can exploit the fact of having a similar domain name as yours and direct traffic away from you by causing simple confusion among users. This can result in potential customers relating your business with disreputable websites and causing damage to your brand.
Finally, the cybersquatters are businesses or individuals who buy domains with the hope of selling them back at higher prices. They can hijack the domain of your brand only to cause damage to your company. Registering multiple domain names should also be a part of your brand protection strategy.
Nowadays, a huge portion of the overall success of a business depends on its online presence, presentation, and searchability. All of which can significantly be improved by applying a multiple domain names strategy. What are you waiting for?
Natasa Djukanovic is the CMO of Domain.ME, the company that operates the “.ME” internet domain. An economist by education, Natasa has spent her entire career at the intersection of international relations, technology and leadership. She is the co-founder of NGO digitalizuj.me, a personal branding expert and a startup mentor. Keep up with Natasa on Twitter at @natasad.