Do I Need More Than One Domain Name?

You might be thinking that you could make a copy of your website and use an alternate domain name for that copy. Hey, two websites are better than one right? You might have a domain name like www.aceplumbing.com that goes to your main website. You could set up www.aceplumbing.net and have that go to a copy of your website. Double the website, double your website visitors, leads and customers. It seems logical.

Unfortunately it does no good to have two websites for your business. The exception would be if you have two websites that each contain unique information about two separate parts of your business. But then again, you could just have two separate categories within your main website to cover the two separate areas of your business.

Domain namesWhy doesn’t it make sense to have two websites instead of one? Think of it this way. 10 people sit down at their computers and arrive at your website. Each of them visits only one or both of your websites. There’s still only 10 people who are possible customers for your business. Each of them can be visiting and reading only one website at a time.

Oh, but you’re thinking that maybe fewer of those 10 people would have found your website if you had only one. Nope. If they found your site with a search engine it’s likely that only one of your sites would have shown up in the search results anyway. That’s how search engines work. They don’t want to offer duplicate information on the same page of results. So you really needed only one website to get found.

Sometimes a business owner just wants to cover themselves. Domain names are cheap. They might have registered several domain names. They have only one website. Many times the additional domain names don’t even point to their website. They’ve just been purchased to keep others (their competitors?) from grabbing them.

For example. Ace Plumbing might have a domain name called www.aceplumbing.com. They also register www.aceplumbing.net, www.aceplumbing.org, www.aceplumbing.biz. They really want to be thorough so they register www.aceplumbingmn.com, www.aceplumbingusa.com, www.ace-plumbing.com. They start thinking more about it. They better grab www.ace-plumbingmn.com, www.ace-plumbingusa.com, and www.ace-plumbing-business.com just to be safe.

Wow. They feel like the more domain names they have the more people will be coming to their website. Ace Plumbing has covered themselves well. Or have they?

3 reasons for not having more than one domain name

1. It’s expensive and provides very little benefit. Domain name registration companies would love Ace Plumbing. Obviously the more domain names registered the more money they make. One domain name costs about $10 a year. Multiply $10 by the extra number of domain names to get the amount of money you are wasting.

2. Your competition is very unlikely to want your domain names. Grabbing domain names so that someone else does not get them is a waste of money. It’s very rare that someone else wants a domain name with your business name in it. Even if their competition thought it was a good idea to register Ace Plumbing’s alternate domain names it wouldn’t benefit them.

3. If it’s not set up correctly it can actually hurt your search rankings. The wrong way to set this up is to simply point the names to your website by adding a host record and adding the name to your website in the server settings. The right way is to use a permanent redirect of each domain name. This is a technicality that website developers understand. If you’re not a website developer don’t worry about it. You should simply cancel your extra domain names instead.

Best Advice: Use only one domain name
If you have more than one domain name get rid of the extras. You need only one. You want only one. It’s simpler, easier, and more effective to stick with one name to promote and use in your advertising.

How to find a good domain name
So you’re having trouble finding the name you want for your business. Maybe you have a common business name and the obvious www.mybusinessname.com is taken. Here’s some tips to help you choose a good name.

1. Stick with a .com name. This is my advice. Others may disagree but many don’t. The .com suffix is certainly the most well known. That’s a big advantage. It’s a habit for many people to use it rather than one of the others.

2. If your first domain name choice is taken, consider adding a geographical phrase. For example Ace Plumbing could use www.aceplumbingatlanta.com. Or maybe www.aceplumbinggeorgia.com. Add it at the end though. Say the name out loud and make sure it sounds natural. You’ll be telling people what your website name is so make it easy to say and easy to remember.

3. If your absolute top choice is taken for the .com suffix but the .net is available, go ahead and use it. Sometimes this is as good as a .com with added letters. Or better.

Best place to buy a domain name
I buy all my domain names at GoDaddy. They are reliable and possibly the lowest priced. Other designated registrars of domain names include Network Solutions, eNom, Tucows, Melbourne IT, and Register.com. There are also hundreds of resellers who sell names for the designated registrars.

At the time of this writing many of these companies are offering domain name registration for $2 to $3. This is a temporary offer to attract new business. Domain names typically cost from $8 to $35 per year. I know that GoDaddy pricing is closer to $8 a year. There is no benefit of paying $35/year over paying $8/year.

Domain Name Basics
Domain names can be registered for a one year period or up to a 10 year period. Some domain name resellers offer longer periods.

The owner of a domain name is the person listed as the administrative contact. This is almost always the person who registers the name. The email address of the administrative contact is the one who has ultimate control over the domain name. Businesses have legal rights to the use of their own names. As a result, you can usually take a domain name away from another party that does not have a legal right to the name.

Domain names and SEO
Search engines use more than 200 indicators to determine how to rank websites. One of those indicators is the age of the domain name. If you have a domain name that was registered a long time ago it may be valuable because of it’s age. If you are letting go of a domain name consider it’s age before you do. You might even be able to sell the name to someone looking for an aged domain name. The older the domain name the more valuable it is in terms of search power.

Domain Names and Duplicate Content
Duplicate content is the same content existing in more than one place on the internet. Two different websites might have the same content on a page. That content might be illegally copied by one party, or it may be legally copied. It’s a legal matter. It’s also a concern with search rankings.

If you have two domain names that point to the same website the search engines will treat your content as duplicate content and your site will be competing with itself for search rankings. This will happen only if you don’t set it up correctly. As mentioned above, setting up redirects properly will resolve this problem.

The goal is to have the search engines see your website as one copy of original and unique content. Having only one domain name will achieve this goal. Setting up redirects properly will achieve the goal if you have more than one domain name.

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