Are Multiple Domains Really Necessary?
Is it necessary to have multiple domain names to help people find your website? The answer is, mostly, no. You may find companies trying to sell them to you, promising to improve your search engine optimisation (SEO). My advice: don’t do it. If in doubt, speak to an expert before wasting you money on something that could damage your SEO, create a lot more work for yourself, and even risks damaging your brand image.
One website keeps things simple. All of your content is in one place and you can invest your time and money into optimising it so it reaches the most customers. Even if you offer a variety of different services there are often ways to integrate them into one site without things getting confusing.
There seems to be a rash of duplicate sites cropping up at the moment, where it appears businesses who don’t fully understand the subject are being encouraged to waste their money.
Who Owns Your Domain Name?
If you have multiple domains, do you know who actually owns them? Is it you or the company that purchased them for you? Do you understand why you’ve been advised to buy them?
As a business owner, you need to satisfy yourself that your domain is registered to you. This is an important asset and you need to ensure that you have control. Not your designer. Not your web host. You!
Some people may buy up domains to prevent their competitor from taking them. This can be a costly and it’s not possible to think up every variation that your competitors might use. Buying up a domain won’t squash the competition; it’s much wiser to invest more into your own website to make it better than your competitor’s site.
Multiple Domains: Confusing Customers
Having more than one website can confuse customers, especially if you operate from one business premises.
Practically, how would you manage two sites promoting exactly the same service? If your second site promoted a different service, do you realistically have the time and money to invest in two lots of SEO? If both sites look the same but have a different brand name, how would you answer your telephone to customers as you wouldn’t know which brand name to use?
We have also seen instances where companies using Pay per Click (PPC) have been advised to use a new domain. The service provider then buy (own) this domain using content from the original. Whilst it may be sound advice to use dedicated landing pages for PPC, using a cloned domain, especially one that is indexable by the search engines, most certainly isn't good advice.
Multiple Domains Have a Place
When is it ok to have multiple domains? If you operate in overseas markets it can be important to have a local domain. Spellings and words can be altered in the website content as necessary, also having a local domain gives you a better ranking as search engines search out information based on geographical location and language.
You may wish to purchase multiple domains with different prefixes e.g. .co.uk .com .org .org.uk etc., all of which you’d point to your primary site. This is fine and is advisable so that your customers can easily find you no matter how they enter your address.
If you have the budget, then buying the major domain extensions of your core domain to protect your brand can be sensible, but the additional domains should then be set-up as redirects to the original, not duplicated.
In most cases, having multiples domains is a waste of time and money.