How To: Strategically Buy Domain Names
In response to a question about the new .co TLD (Top Level Domain), Jeff said that it is best to purchase as many top-level domains as possible for your website. This practice, not to be confused with the purchasing of multiple domains within the same TLD, helps you to secure and build your brand name or image for your organization. This got me thinking as to other domain purchase strategies that have the potential to bring more traffic to your site.
When you first register a domain, your domain registrar will usually offer to sell you a bundle of domain names usually consisting of the .com, .net, and .org domains. I highly recommend that you start out using this bundle (usually offered for a substantially discounted rate), as it will help to ensure that your competitors or rivals are not able to redirect your potential visitors, users, or customers away from your site. The reason that I suggest having these three particular TLD’s as a very minimum is simply because they are the most well known and have been around the longest. This ultimately allows you to build a more established persona, even if your website hasn’t been around for a significant amount of time.
In this same regard, and getting back to the original question posed to Jeff, buying a .co domain isn’t a bad idea. However if you choose to do so, I would strongly advise that you not make it your primary domain, but rather make it a secondary domain that forwards to your primary; be it a .com, .net, or .org. Having said this, a relatively new TLD is going to draw attention to the fact that your website is not well established and has not been around that long.
Additionally, having multiple domains within the same TLD is definitely not a bad idea either. However at a cost starting around ten dollars per domain name (annually), you will definitely want to choose your domain aliases strategically. To get the best return on investment, I recommend that you wait until your site begins getting traffic before you choose your alias domains. This being, collecting and viewing trends using statistics software such as Google Analytics will allow you to see what keywords are ultimately bringing traffic to your site. With these keywords in mind, you should be better set to buy alias domains that have a higher potential of generating traffic.
One of the sad things about the current state of our economy is the number of businesses that have been forced to close. However a wise business owner can take advantage of this otherwise unfortunate event, and backorder their competitor’s old domain names. While this is a bit more expensive than a typical domain name purchase (starting around twenty dollars) and often means waiting a while for the domain to expire, it can ultimately pay off in the sense that it allows the business’s former client-base to find your business.
Some people may recommend that you scour the Internet for domain auctions. While you can sometimes find good deals on domains through auctions, I generally recommend steering away from this practice, as the domains sold in these auctions are being sold for a reason; they are not generating any substantial amounts of traffic.
Lastly, one should consider that buying domains is something you can do as you new ideas strike you and as new domains become available. One thing I do recommend is configuring your new domain purchases to forward to your primary domain. Not only is this beneficial for search-engine optimization, but most web statistics software will be able to track referring domains; ultimately telling you what domain purchases paid off. With this information in mind, you can learn from your successes (and mistakes) in order to make better, more strategic domain purchases as time progresses.
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