If you’re thinking about starting a business online or just want your own blog or website, you’re likely looking at domain names. Knowing which variations of a domain name you should buy can be confusing because there are so many options. There is .com, .org, .net, .site, .shop, and the list goes on.
As you’re looking at the many options available to you, there’s a chance you might start considering purchasing multiple domains — just to make sure no one else takes the cool idea you have for a website.
The question is, how domain name variations should you own? And, is there any benefit or any downsides to owning more than one?
In this post, I’ll share why owning multiple domain variations is a good idea. On the flip side, I’ll also uncover the negatives of owning numerous domain name variations. Hopefully, this will help you to make the best decision for your unique needs.
If you believe your brand name will be a household name with a significant reach, how many variations to purchase may become a much more difficult question to answer. Of course, you cannot predict the future. But, you can at least consider the possibilities and make a better decision with more facts in hand. So let’s dive in!
What do I mean by domain name variations?
While domain name variations can mean purchasing typos of your domain name or your domain name with additional words or letters, that’s not the focus of this post. Though a case can certainly be made for purchasing typos of your domain name.
For example, I had a blogger friend who owned a pretty popular website, and a different blogger purchased an extremely similar version of her domain name (instead of herdomain.com it was herdomains.com), swiped most of her copy, and plummeted her search engine ranking.
Instead, when referring to domain name variations, I’m referring to the domain extensions you can purchase, and how many would be best to buy.
The question I’d like to help you answer is, rather than just buying www.myawesomesite.com, should you also purchase www.myawesomesite.club, www.myawesomesite.info, www.myawesomesite.blog, www.myawesomesite.net, etc?
You can read GoDaddy’s full domain extensions guide to get some tips and ideas on which extensions are best for your business or brand. Then, come back here to settle the debate for yourself on how many extensions you should purchase.
Benefits of owning multiple domain variations
There are a handful of benefits to owning multiple domain name variations, even if your brand isn’t yet (and may not ever become) a household name. These benefits include, but aren’t limited to:
Protecting your brand name/company name
Helping with brand recognition
Assisting in effective content delivery
You may be wondering how exactly purchasing more than one domain variation can help you with things like this. Let’s break it down.
Multiple variations of a domain name help protect your brand name
It’s essential to build brand awareness with a business, and owning multiple domain variations is one way that will help you. When you own the most popular top-level domains (TLDs) for your brand, it reduces the chances that someone else will want to or try to purchase a variation of it.
For example, if you own the .com, .net, and .org, you’ve pretty much cornered the market on your domain name.
It’s also worth noting that there are cybersquatters who buy domain names with the intent to sell them for a profit. They have no intention of actually creating content under those domains. Instead, they buy them and hold them until someone purchases another domain extension. Then, they send you an email offering to sell you the domain.
I own morethanphotographs.com and get a lot of emails offering to sell me morethanphotographs.net, .org, .photo, etc.
Considering I pay less than $20 per year with GoDaddy for my .com domain, I can honestly tell you I have no interest in spending thousands for the other domain name variations people have emailed me about. Still, perhaps I could have saved myself the hassle if I’d purchased a few additional extensions of my intended domain when I bought the .com in 2008.
Cybersquatters and protecting your brand may be worth the investment in multiple domain name variations. This way, if someone tries to buy a domain variation that looks like your brand, they will be less likely to be able to do so.
Multiple domain name variations aid in brand recognition
Let’s say for some reason another person does purchase a domain extension for your website and starts posting content with it. Your brand now has the potential of being diluted.
When someone sees your business name, you want them to know it’s yours.
When you own multiple domain extensions you can rest a little easier knowing that when you share your website on social media and in marketing campaigns your brand is the one that will start to be recognized. And, by pointing the .net and .org variations of your domain to the .com you can help ensure that the people looking for your website find it.
Multiple variations of a domain name help you test different content delivery channels
You can use domain variations to test landing pages, different blogging platforms, etc. This can also be a great way to determine which combinations of keywords are most effective and if different sales copy works better with your audience.
Once you know this information, you can redirect all your domain name variations to one website and focus all of your energy on the highest-performing combinations.
Drawbacks of owning multiple variations of a domain name
As with everything in life, there are pros and cons to owning multiple domain name variations. With that in mind, now let’s explore why it might not be such a great idea to buy too many domain names.
They include, but aren’t limited to:
It can be costly
It’s time consuming
Management can be a pain
Let’s break these cons down too, shall we?
Multiple domain name variations add up quickly
This is perhaps the most obvious negative of owning multiple domain names, and it shouldn’t be ignored. You can end up spending a lot of money when you own multiple domains. This can eat into your profit margins — not just the first year, but every year. You also have to factor renewal of your domains, SSL certificates, hosting, and whether or not you want your domains private — you’ll have to pay extra for that as well.
Is the prospect of spending multiple hundreds of dollars worth it? This is where you have to get serious about your plans for the future. After all, if you end up with a global brand, the odds of competitors and cybersquatters scooping up the various extensions related to your domain will increase.
Multiple variations of a domain name can be time-consuming to deal with
That is if you actually use them for testing copy and content delivery. Keeping track of multiple sites can take a lot of time. Of course, you could just purchase them, and set them up to automatically redirect them to the main domain you intend to use. This will take a lot less time to manage because you can set it and forget it.
This leads me to the final disadvantage.
Multiple domain name variations can be difficult to manage
If you do opt to purchase multiple domain extensions, it’s a good idea to:
Have them all renewed on the same date
Have them set to auto-renewal, and
Purchase all the variations from the same domain provider
If you have multiple renewal dates, several logins, and have to “remember” to renew them, you could face the hassle of last-minute scrambling to make the purchase before the domain expires.
I’ve had this happen to me in the past, and it was not fun! I didn’t have my domain set up to auto-renew, and at zero hour I was trying to find my username and password so I could maintain ownership. I don’t recommend this.
Furthermore, set a reminder in your calendar of when your credit card on file expires. This way you’ll automatically be reminded to update credit card information for any billing accounts you have. I’m all about the automatic reminders for all the things!
How many variations of a domain name should you buy?
We’ve covered a lot in this post already. Now, the final question you probably have if you have decided to purchase multiple domain name variations is likely — how many should you get? The unfortunate thing is, this is a very difficult question to answer.
Based on all of my research, what I found is that the ideal bare minimum is three. It’s a good idea to purchase the .com, .net and .org extensions. After that, it’s really up to you. To come to the best conclusion for yourself, ask yourself the following questions:
Is this domain purchase for a business or hobby website?
You might not care if anyone purchases other extensions related to your domain if it’s just a hobby site. Then again, many hobbies can become businesses…
How much can I budget for these extensions?
The more you can budget, perhaps the more extensions you should purchase.
Do I anticipate a competitor trying to capitalize on my name?
The answer to this question, trademarking your brand name may be all you really need to do to protect yourself.
Does a fancy domain extension appeal to you?
Some ecommerce store owners may want to purchase extensions like .shop and entrepreneurs may want to grab .biz. Or, if you run a Facebook group or other online community, .club might make a lot of sense for your brand
Hopefully, after reading this, you at least are thinking more about the possibilities. While you shouldn’t overthink this too much, I’d advise you not to just blindly dismiss this either.
Consider the pros and cons of owning multiple domain names, research the best ones to buy, and the ones you should avoid. Just make sure you’re making the best purchasing decisions for your brand and budget.
But equity rounds aren’t the only way for a company to raise money — alternative and other non-dilutive financing options are often overlooked. Taking on debt might be the right solution when you’re focused on growth and can see clear ROI from the capital you deploy.
Not all capital providers are equal, so seeking financing isn’t just about securing capital. It’s a matter of finding the right source of funding that matches both your business and your roadmap.
Here are four things you should consider:
Does this match my needs?
It’s easy to take for granted, but securing financing begins with a business plan. Don’t seek funding until you have a clear plan for how you’ll use it. For example, do you need capital to fund growth or for your day-to-day operations? The answer should influence not only the amount of capital you seek, but the type of funding partner you look for as well.
Start with a concrete plan and make sure it aligns with the structure of your financing:
Match repayment terms to your expected use of the debt.
Balance working capital needs with growth capital needs.
It’s understandable to hope for a one-and-done financing process that sets the next round far down the line, but that may be costlier than you realize in the long run.
Your term of repayment must be long enough so you can deploy the capital and see the returns. If it’s not, you may end up making loan payments with the principal.
Say, for example, you secure funding to enter a new market. You plan to expand your sales team to support the move and develop the cash flow necessary to pay back the loan. The problem here is, the new hire will take months to ramp up.
If there’s not enough delta between when you start ramping up and when you begin repayments, you’ll be paying back the loan before your new salesperson can bring in revenue to allow you to see ROI on the amount you borrowed.
Another issue to keep in mind: If you’re financing operations instead of growth, working capital requirements may reduce the amount you can deploy.
Let’s say you finance your ad spending and plan to deploy $200,000 over the next four months. But payments on the MCA loan you secured to fund that spending will eat into your revenue, and the loan will be further limited by a minimum cash covenant of $100,000. The result? You secured $200,000 in financing but can only deploy half of it.
With $100,000 of your financing kept in a cash account, only half the loan will be used to drive operations, which means you’re not likely to meet your growth target. What’s worse, as you’re only able to deploy half of the loan, your cost of capital is effectively double what you’d planned for.
Is this the right amount for me at this time?
The second consideration is balancing how much capital you need to act on your near-term goals against what you can reasonably expect to secure. If the funding amount you can get is not enough to move the needle, it might not be worth the effort required.
Elon Musk said Sunday he “somewhat agonized” over the font designs for his companies Tesla and SpaceX.
The billionaire businessman added he “loves fonts” and has tweaked the logos over the years.
He revealed the SpaceX logo also holds a hidden meaning, representing a rocket’s arc to orbit.
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In a series of Sunday tweets, Elon Musk said he “somewhat agonized” over his choice of fonts for his businesses and revealed a hidden meaning behind the SpaceX logo.
Responding to a tweet about serif and sans-serif fonts, the billionaire businessman took a break from posting cryptic memes and discussing politics to say he loves fonts and put significant consideration into how his companies are presented to consumers.
“I somewhat agonized over the Tesla & SpaceX font design (love fonts tbh),” Musk tweeted. “There are some similarities, particularly use of negative space. We’ve made many little tweaks over the years.”
The Tesla logo — a T-shaped design with a custom, sans-serif font spelling out the brand name — is meant to resemble a cross-section of an electric motor. The SpaceX logo, written in a similar font with an extended X, references the reusable rockets made by the company.
“The swoop of the X is meant to represent the rocket’s arc to orbit,” Musk tweeted.
Other business logos have also held hidden messages: Baskin Robbins, a chain that sells 31 flavors of ice cream, has a secret ’31’ hidden in the letters of its logo. Likewise, Amazon’s arrow logo is meant to represent a smile, while the circular ‘B’ logo for Beats by Dre represents a person wearing the popular headphones.
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The internet has revolutionized the business world and changed how we conduct business. Any business that aims to increase its visibility and boost profit needs to pay much attention to top ranking factors, including local SEO — which introduces the topic of the local search algorithm.
Local SEO is one of the top practices that help boost a business’s visibility and generates more sales.
However, achieving better local SEO rankings is not a walk in the park, especially due to increased competition. To appear higher on local results, businesses and marketers need to understand how the local search algorithm works.
Knowing this helps guide the steps for improving rankings in the local pack.
The competition gets stiffer as more businesses open and optimize for local searching. Besides, Google is updating its algorithm consistently, meaning only businesses that can keep up with these updates can appear at the top of local search results.
Luckily, you have come to this post as this article looks at everything you need to know about Google’s local search algorithm and what you can do to get that top spot in the local pack.
Understanding the local search algorithm
Google aims to provide the best results that match a specific local search query. It constantly updates the local search algorithm to determine which business to rank on top of local search results.
Ideally, Google wants to provide local content that is relevant and valuable to users. As with search engine optimization, keyword stuffing cannot give you that top spot in local search results.
SEO specialists and marketers should consider Google’s local search algorithm updates and make the necessary changes to rank higher. Failure to consider these updates means losing your local search presence, resulting in fewer leads and conversions.
Local algorithms check the Google My Business (GMB) listings to determine where to rank a business in local search rankings.
Ideally, Google’s local algorithm ranks businesses with information that matches a searcher’s query. And the higher a business ranks in local search results, the more chances a potential customer will click on it.
This post looks at the three major pillars that determine local search results to better understand the local search algorithm: proximity, prominence and relevance.
Of course, other factors make up Google’s local search algorithm, but since we cannot identify all of them, we’ll focus on the most crucial ones in this post.
By understanding these pillars, marketers can better position themselves for local search success.
Proximity is one of the major ranking factors when it comes to local search. That means the distance between a business and a searcher is a ranking factor in local search.
When a searcher searches for something, Google considers how far the searcher is from the location of the term they use in the search. When a searcher doesn’t specify the location, Google calculates the distance based on the information they have regarding their location.
Ideally, Google aims to provide the most relevant results to a search query. For instance, why would Google provide a list of coffee shops in Los Angeles if the searcher is searching from Colombia?
That would be irrelevant local search results that won’t benefit the searcher.
Unfortunately, while proximity is a major local search pillar, it’s one of the factors that businesses have little control over. After all, you cannot change where your business is located, right?
You can only ensure your business location is as clear as possible, so that it appears for related nearby queries. Here are steps you can take to achieve this:
Claim and verify the Google My Business listing
Ensure local listings are accurate and optimized for local products or services
Get the Google Maps API Key and optimize for your location and routes
Set up your profile correctly (for Service Area Businesses) to avoid violating Google’s guidelines
Users can perform several types of local searches, including:
Users will perform geo-modified searches when they are planning to visit somewhere. For instance, a searcher in Los Angeles planning to visit Toronto, Canada, may search for a “coffee shop in Oakville.” The results will differ from if they searched for “coffee” while physically in Oakville.
To be specific, geo-modified searches are mainly based on relevance and prominence as opposed to proximity when a user searches for something when outside the city included in the search.
Searchers perform this type of search when looking for something around them. For instance, a user in Los Angeles performing a local search for “coffee.”
Ideally, the user only needs to search for something and is shown results based on proximity. They will get the results that are closest to them.
“Near me” searches
“Near me” searches have been so popular in recent years. Although their popularity has significantly declined, users still perform this type of search when looking for something locally.
For instance, some users could add “near me” when searching for a coffee shop, hoping to get the most relevant results near them. As we’ve stated, this trend has lost popularity because when you perform a local search, you are searching for something near you.
It is not necessary to add “near me” to what you’re searching.
Prominence refers to how important Google thinks your business is, which gets factored into the local search algorithm.
In other words, it refers to how well a business stands from the rest in various aspects, including directories, links, reviews, mentions, among other things.
If search engines view your business as trustworthy and credible, they will likely show it on top of related search query results.
The local search algorithm views businesses/brands with a stronger online prominence as credible and trustworthy. Some of the factors that determine prominence include:
A local citation is the mention of a business’s information online. The mention can include the partial or complete name, address, and phone number (NAP) of a local business.
Citations are an excellent way for people to learn about local businesses and impact local search results.
A business with high-quality citations can rank better in local search results, although businesses must continually manage citations to ensure data accuracy.
Backlinks play a crucial role in local business prominence. Gaining relevant backlinks from high-quality sites is an excellent way to build a business’ online reputation.
If you’re trying to outrank your competitors without much success, your backlink profile could be the reason.
In that case, you should check your competitor’s backlinks and compare them with yours. When doing this, pay attention to the number and quality of their backlinks.
As a rule of thumb, aim to have high-quality local backlinks pointing to your site to improve your page’s authority.
Next, you need to pay much attention to reviews to improve local prominence. Many customers look at a business’s online reviews before deciding whether to engage more with the business or not. Besides, many positive online reviews can increase a business’ ranking factors.
Consider this scenario. A potential customer is looking for a pub around Oakville. When they perform a search, they are presented with two results: one with over 100 reviews and another with less than 10 reviews.
Which business do you think the searcher would trust? The one with 100 reviews, obviously.
As with search engines, customers need to trust a business before they decide to do business with it. Similarly, search engines can view online reviews and analyze them to determine a business’s online prominence.
That said, here are strategies you can use to boost your online review signals:
Have a strategy
You won’t have a strong online prominence if your products or services are not of a high standard. So, the first step to having many great reviews is to develop great products and services.
After that, develop a strategy to encourage your happy customers to leave honest but valuable reviews of their experience doing business with you to help boost your online reputation.
Monitor and manage the reviews
Having many reviews is one thing; you need to develop a plan to engage with your customers for better results. Responding to reviews shows people that you care and are genuine about your products and services.
People will avoid businesses that don’t respond to customer reviews (whether positive or negative).
Search engines, too, can tell whether you engage with customer reviews or not and will use the information to determine where to rank on local search results.
When responding to online reviews, pay special attention to negative reviews and how you respond to them. While no business likes getting negative reviews, how you respond to them can positively impact your business — respond positively to turn the negative reviews around.
As earlier stated, Google wants to provide the most relevant results to a local search query. This key ranking factor will determine a business’s position in local search results — how well does a local business match a search query?
Even if your business ticks the above pillars (prominence and proximity), if the content on your page isn’t well structured and doesn’t cover the topics that a searcher is looking for, you won’t appear on top of local search results.
Here are factors that businesses should consider to create a relevant listing:
Local page signals
Local listing categories and attributes
Social posts and responses to online reviews
Local listing signals and categories
A business GMB listing and category can impact its relevance score for local searches. As such, complete your business profile carefully and continually add quality content to the web page to ensure it is relevant for proximity searches.
More specifically, ensure that all information on all listing pages, including Yelp, Bing, and Google, is complete and accurate. Aside from these factors, here are two crucial features you should pay attention to:
Selecting the right categories for your local business listing is among the crucial factors for ranking locally. With over 4000 GMB categories, you want to choose categories that best describe your business — ensure they are relevant and specific.
Here are guidelines to follow when selecting a category:
Describe your business as opposed to your services
Be specific to minimize competition
Reduce the number of GMB categories to describe your business better
Without a proper description, users won’t know what your business is about. This section is about adding an introduction to your business so that customers and search engines can know more about your business.
However, don’t use this section for marketing your business. Just give users and search engines descriptive info that can help determine whether your business matches their needs.
Local page signals
Another way a business can improve its standing in the local search algorithm is by optimizing web pages for specific keywords. For multi-location businesses, it’s essential to have separate, localized pages for each location, with relevant information and contact details for customers to reach you.
Performing competitor research is advisable to determine what terms or keywords to use for a specific query. Here are top on-page signals to consider when trying to gain relevance for a given topic:
Keyword research — Before creating local content, you need to find keywords that matter to your business. Perform keyword research to determine highly relevant keywords with high intent. When finding relevant terms to use in your content, base your research on the customer perspective; think about what they search for and the type of content they are looking for.
Create local content — After finding the right keywords, it’s time to create your content. Google values the quality of content more than the length of the content, so keep this in mind when creating content. Another crucial thing to pay attention to is localizing the content. For example, you can create content on local news and events or use your city’s name within your content.
The goal is to create a connection between what’s happening in your local area and your business. Also, use pictures with your specific geolocation to increase your content relevance.
Creating quality and relevant content is only the start. You need to optimize your content for on-page signals so local search algorithms can discover and rank them better. Here’s how you can optimize your local content for on-page signals:
Meta descriptions — Include keywords in your meta descriptions to encourage searchers to click through and increase visibility
Title tags — Title tags are some of the factors that search engines use to determine where to rank content. Incorporating keywords naturally in your title tags can help boost local rankings
Image tags — Another way to improve local rankings is by including relevant keywords in your image tags. Including geotags also comes with an added advantage
Headings — Users and Google value pages with clear structures. Consider creating headings within your content to capture readers’ attention and encourage them to read on. However, ensure your heading tags describe the content that comes after them well. Also, include keywords in your heading tags to help search engines understand them and their importance.
Off-page local signals
Gaining high-quality backlinks is a great way to boost credibility and trust. Backlinks refer to external links from another website to your site. Aim to have more high-quality backlinks to boost your website authority.
Ideally, having many quality backlinks shows search engines that your website or page is credible and trustworthy, which boosts the chances of ranking it higher in search engine results.
Guest posting is one of the best examples of link-building strategies you can use. Finding great guest posting opportunities provides an excellent opportunity to share your content to a new but relevant audience, which helps boost your website authority.
Another strategy you can use is to create longer and better content than what is already available on the web. When your content is high quality and relevant, it will be easier to get high-quality backlinks.
Review and social signals
Online reviews can also help boost relevance for your local business. Aim to get as many positive reviews from your happy customers as possible.
Remember, when customers perform a local search, they get not only the relevant businesses but also reviews related to the search. The more positive reviews a business has, the higher chances a potential customer will do business with them.
Closing thoughts on the local search algorithm
Ranking on top of local search results can seem daunting, but it shouldn’t when you know the vital things to focus on. As you have seen above, the local algorithm is based on three pillars: relevance, proximity, and prominence.
Of course, other factors determine local search rankings depending on your industry and competition.