I get asked the question all the time: “What domain should I use?” I have some clients who have one domain, some clients who have 250+ domains horded in a secret cave. So what should a firm do with their domains?
Pick One Domain
My rule of thumb, and the one we practice at PaperStreet, is pick a single domain. Brand everything with that domain. Of course, what domain should use choose?
- Oldest Domain
- Shortest Domain
- Domains without hyphens or odd spelling
- Domain that is a .COM (sorry .ORG and others)
- Domain with keyword phrases
- Domain with the best and most inbound links (usually this is your oldest site)
- Domain that is easy to spell via the phone
- Domain that does not have any bad connotation
I have 10 domains. Why Can’t I Use them?
You can. Redirect them into your main site via a 301 redirect. Don’t be careless and simply direct them into your site. You could end up with duplication penalties and lower your rankings. Instead do a proper 301 redirect so that the search engines know the previous domains are not to be indexed and redirect to the main site. This is relatively easy via IIS and Apache, your web tech should know how to do this.
But I want multiple sites?
Alternatively, if you have some great keyword rich domains, then you can setup multiple web sites. Google loves sites with keywords in their domains these days, so it is wise to use them. Keep in mind that you should host those sites on multiple servers (for SEO purposes), so hosting costs will increase. Your maintenance and design costs will increase too. Moreover, sometimes its a headache to have multiple sites online, especially if you change a lot of information. Finally, you must have unique content for each site. Don’t simply rip your main site’s content and put it online on another site. You will end up penalizing your main site, or doing little for the new site.