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You already know that choosing a domain is important. In fact, it’s one of the most important early decisions you’ll make for your business. Choosing the right domain can impact your visibility, your memorability and even your reputation. It’s going to influence your marketing and advertising strategies for years to come. And for the right domain, you might need to shell out tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars.
So why would you want to complicate things by incorporating multiple domains into your business strategy?
The benefits of multiple domains
Let’s start by looking at some of the benefits of having multiple domains managed simultaneously:
Segmentation and audience targeting
First, you’ll get the opportunity to segment your audience and target different niches. For example, you could set up a primary website with content to appeal to your primary demographics (let’s say middle-aged men). You could then set up a separate website, or leverage a different domain for marketing purposes, to appeal to a secondary demographic (let’s say teenage boys). It’s also a good way to test how your content functions for different audiences.
Using multiple domain names can improve your search engine optimization (SEO) results as well. In case you aren’t familiar, SEO is a set of strategies designed to help you rank higher and get more visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs). Your domain plays a significant role in your keyword relevance and rankings, so taking advantage of multiple domains can help you rank for a broader selection of keywords and phrases. You can also use a secondary domain to flesh out an entirely different selection of content topics.
Protecting your brand
Domain acquisition can also help you protect your brand. You can purchase domains related to your primary domain to prevent squatters from getting them and to ensure your ability to expand later. For example, you can secure your domain with different national extensions and common misspellings of your brand name.
With the right selection of domain names, you can functionally “funnel” traffic to your main website. You can set up multiple domains with variant spellings and different keywords, and have all of them redirect to your main site.
If you’re feeling ambitious, you can also use your multiple domain names to create and develop multiple, semi-independent websites. You can write content, increase your search rankings and even market and advertise these separate websites. Once established, you can use these sites for cross-promotional opportunities.
Tips for utilizing multiple domains
So how are you supposed to use multiple domains effectively for your business?
If you like the idea of establishing multiple related content empires across a number of domains, you might go crazy and start purchasing domains with reckless abandon. Instead, it’s better to start small. Focus on one or two strong purchases and begin developing them. Once you’re established, you can purchase more domains redirects and/or full websites. Otherwise, you may spread your resources too thin (and neglect your primary domain).
Focus on inexpensive acquisitions
There are many strategies you can use to pick up inexpensive domains. Powerful domains, with few characters and common words, tend to go for thousands of dollars (with some top names going for millions of dollars). You don’t need an arsenal of these to make use of a multi-domain strategy. Instead, turn your attention to variant spellings, synonyms and slightly more obscure domains (at least to start).
Establish the right kinds of redirects
Throughout your multi-domain development strategy, you’ll need to establish redirects, guiding people from one domain to another. But to be effective, you need to use the right kind of redirects. The most common choice here is the 301 redirect, a permanent redirect that won’t interfere with your search engine rankings.
Create unique content when possible
If you’re going to use your new domains to establish entirely new websites, make sure you’re creating unique content. Even though your domains may occupy the same niche or target the same demographics, duplicating or slightly altering your content is only going to work against you. Strive to create something new.
Measure and analyze your results
Make sure you consistently measure your performance across all domains. If you’ve set up multiple redirects, which domains are responsible for the greatest surge in traffic to your site? If you’re running multiple websites, which ones are doing better than the others? Study this information and interpret it so you can keep making adjustments to your domain portfolio and marketing strategies — and better serving your target audience.
Acquiring and utilizing multiple domains isn’t the right strategic move for every business. But if used correctly, in the right business environment, it can improve your visibility, expand your reach and help you advance into new competitive territory.
Originally appeared in Entrepreneur