As a small business owner, you may think that having one domain name suits you just fine. But, there are benefits to buying multiple domains. This article explains how purchasing various domains will protect your brand and help your business.
The nitty-gritty of domain name registration is probably not why you got into the business. Not unless you are a domainer looking to make a profit from buying and selling domain names. However, any small business should seriously consider owning multiple domains.
There are several benefits to domain name ownership. Here we’ll cover:
- How Multiple Domains Protect Your Brand
- How Multiple Domains Help Attract Business
- How Multiple Domains Support Trademark Protections
How Multiple Domains Protect Your Brand
Let’s say you set up shop online selling bedazzled phone cases like no one has ever seen before. They are a huge hit. Your business website, DialBedazzled.com, is drawing more traffic daily, and sales are increasing. All of this is great news.
But wait, when you were setting up your small business website, you were more concerned with a memorable URL, a sleek web design, and a business email from your domain name. It didn’t even cross your mind to buy related domain names. Now, a brand poacher is selling cheap knock-offs of your hit product on dial-bedazzled.com. Not to mention the embarrassment of people who drop the “d” and go to Dialbedazzle.com, a phone sex site!
Once you’ve decided on your perfect domain name, get extra brand protection by registering the related top-level domains and extensions.
Top-level domain (TLD) refers to the last segment of the domain name. The letters immediately following the final dot in an Internet address say something about the website’s purpose, the organization that owns it, or the geographical area.
You’ve probably visited some of the original TLDs, whether its a .com (commercial), .gov (government), .edu (school) or .org (organization)—to name a few. But with millions of domain names needed for the Internet, ICANN is expanding generic Top-Level Domain offerings. Since 2014, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers has added TLDs such as .Charity, .LLC, .CPA, .Grocery, .Fun, .Cruise, and more.
To give you an idea of why all these extensions are needed, Verisign found: “The fourth quarter of 2019 closed with 362.3 million domain name registrations across all top-level domains (TLDs), an increase of 2.4 million domain name registrations, or 0.7 percent, compared to third quarter of 2019.”
The .com domain extension remains the first choice for business. Registrations for .tk, .cn, .de, and .net gTLDs rounded out the top five.
How Multiple Domains Help Attract Business
Owning multiple domains also makes it easier for potential customers to find your business online. When brainstorming a domain name, think about how people might misspell or mishear your URL. Then, register domain names that address those concerns.
After all, people make mistakes. By purchasing additional domains with alternative spellings of your business, you avoid losing those potential customers. So, Jenni of JennisHair.com would also want to buy other common variations such as JeniHair, JennyHair, and JennieHair. She could even purchase Jenni.Hair and all its related variations, thanks to ICANN adding that TLD.
Web.com’s Anna Piatyszek suggests, “Whether your company name includes words that are commonly misspelled or your branding uses trendy and creative spellings that might be hard to remember, you should seek to purchase misspellings that’ll capture most errors.”
People also may only hear your brand messaging. So, consider how the name might sound in a radio advertisement or when said from one happy customer to a new lead. Do domain registration for soundalikes, too, to be safe.
Don’t worry, though. You don’t have to build out a full business website for each of these domain names. You can set up website forwarding so that the visitor is seamlessly sent to your actual site without noticeable interruption.
On the other hand, you may want to use your multiple domain names to run separate marketing and advertising campaigns. You could send traffic to a landing page at a specific, dedicated domain. So, Jenni’s Hair, for instance, could have its main business website at JennisHair.com but run a sales promotion at Jennis.Hair.
How Multiple Domains Support Trademark Protections
Before you set up your business online, you’ll want to do a domain name search. You need to see if your desired domain name is available from a domain name registrar, of course. But you also want to check if there are competitors out there with a similar name for a product or service. Doing this step now can save you from inadvertent trademark infringement.
At the same time, when you own a domain name for your product or service, it’s easier for you to prove in court that you had the idea first. When you have a new business line idea, it’s a good policy to buy those multiple domain names (TLDs that would describe that idea). While a domain name isn’t providing a trademark, your registration of the name can be used in court to prove you originated the idea before a later competitor.
If you are just starting a small business or already have one domain, we hope this article has explained the importance of managing multiple domains. Protect your brand, build your business, and stake your online ground for trademark rights with multiple top-level domains.