How to Build Your First Domain Name Marketing Strategy

It Starts With a Name

Forward

Before you start reading through this ebook, here are some notes we took during the creation of this book.

The first three sections detail the nitty gritty behind domains, their history and importance when it comes to building a website. The remaining sections deal with an overview of creating a strong domain marketing strategy. Best practices change and techniques evolve, so we've taken an approach that emphasises learning over a procedure; intent instead of a systematic how-to. We want to give the reader the necessary tools to make their own judgements about what it takes to create a strong domain marketing strategy. Think of it as a starter's guide. It has all the information you need to start planning a domain marketing strategy.

It's very tempting to think of domains as simply a name, but with the right domain strategy you can turn that annual fee you pay into something that will grow your online presence.

We'd also welcome you to send and share this with whomever you want. We wrote this not just as another picture ebook or glorified PowerPoint to be scanned in ten minutes. Instead, take it and digest it. If you have any questions or want to discuss building a strong domain marketing strategy, we're always here to help.

Sincerely,

The Think Profits Team,
804 Pacific Street
Vancouver, BC V6Z 1C2
1–877–597–7888
www.thinkprofits.com

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What Is A Domain?

A domain is your property. A stake in one of the few things you can really own online. You can throw a copyright on every piece of content. But nothing can really stop anyone from right clicking and selecting save, not to mention the power of Ctrl+a with Ctrl+c. But that domain is really yours. Unless you are a victim of cybercrime, no one can take your domain away from you.

What is in a name? It's you. A domain is everything; it shows what you do as a business and what you're all about. It's the first ten seconds of an interview, the first impression you can't undo. A misspelled, clunky, overly long domain might as well spell a cheap suit and sweaty palms.

It's worth pointing out that throughout this book, and in the real world, when talking about domains, we are not referring to http://www.example.com, the URL, rather just the “example” section. The parlance of the web isn't always in line with how we communicate, so if we refer to any specific part of the whole domain, we'll point it out.

The constituent parts are important not only in the understanding of what's below, but as you'll learn, it'll help you navigate the world of domain registrars. For example, the difference between a domain that drives traffic and one that doesn't could be something as simple as a variation to a top-level domain (TLD) or hyphenation of a longer domain. The anatomy of a URL can be like a puzzle. Knowing how to manipulate a part separately can make the whole task less daunting.

The History of Domains

The domain name system (DNS) was established as a way to make internet protocol or IP addresses more user-friendly. IP addresses are critical to how the internet works, but they are a string of numbers that you'd have to enter in order to gain access to a server and the HTML document contained within. Designed as a way for scientists to share research papers, to the creators of the internet it must've seemed like a great idea to use long numeric sequences to get access to a research paper, I mean many of them were doing hard science, what's another number? However, asking users to remember those long numerical addresses was never going to work. Instead, the DNS system was established to make remembering a little bit easier.

The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) was formed informally as a way to administer IP addresses and top-level domains. As the internet expanded, the US Department of Commerce initiated the creation of an organization to take control over domain name management.

On September 18, 1998 the internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) was established as a means to privatize and manage internet names and addresses, and would allow for competition and global participation in internet management. IANA became a department of ICANN, which continues to manage the assignment of domain names and IP addresses.

What is domain marketing?

Domain marketing is the practice of using internet addresses as a way to expand the potential number of visitors to your website. It allows businesses to use domains to improve their website's standing. Domain marketing steps beyond finding the right domain name for a website. It seeks to use domains as part of your internet strategy.

This strategy is part of digital marketing as a whole and it's a great example of the power of digital marketing. It's very easy to treat a website as just something you have to do, a checkbox that needs ticking before you can be considered a legitimate business; I mean who doesn't have a website, an out-of-date business that's who. What digital marketing does so well is to side step that concern. Instead, it views a website not as a something in line with branded stationary, but rather as components that will expand and grow your business.

Talk to any designer, developer or writer and they'll tell you that a website is a must because it makes you relevant. What seems like a straightforward design, compelling sentences and functioning website components is actually the result of a team thinking about each aspect in detail. We feel that this same logic should apply to something as outwardly simple as a domain. Looking at a domain as another component of your website, instead of that thing you need to get to that final website, will move it from a cost your business has to endure into a cost that brings in revenue.

Finding Trustworthy Domain Registrars

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It's never too late... Possibly

My domain must be gone by now. It's tempting to think like that. The truth is there are millions upon millions of domains still out there. With over 735 active TLDs and a recommended URL max length of 255 characters, the combinations are endless. In fact, it's a 735 x 25526 level of endless.

You'll never know if it's too late to find a domain if you never look. Taking the time to search for and discover a range of different domains is the first thing you need to learn to do.

How to find a domain

Find a domain registrar; it's that simple. There are many out there and on the face of it, they all work. There will be a search bar somewhere on the page, all you have to do is type in your desired domain, and odds are a few options will pop up.

It might seem simple and easy, but like with any service there are those who strive to satisfy their customers, and others that view them as sponges that need to be wrung out dry.

Permission to Spam: Watch out for cheap companies. Low rates and special deals are great, but they could be masking other revenue sources. Often, in order to make up for their unbelievably low rates, these businesses sell your email to others without your knowledge, or they will sell you other services by spamming you themselves. That $0.99 domain might come in exchange for 9,000,000 spam emails. Look closely at the terms and conditions, if you see language explicitly stating that they won't share your private information you're safe. If you don't, then assume a spammer will be getting your name soon.

Recurring Fees: When you register a domain, you agree to pay a one-time annual fee. Many registrars will offer the option to automate this. A year is a long time and it's possible that they'll just reregister your domain each year. This does facilitate the whole process, especially if you have a few registered domains. However, businesses that don't explicitly mention that they'll automatically renew your domain or give you an easy opt-out function are best avoided. The automation of fees is meant to help you, not give a registrar a renewal fee because you forgot about it. Basically, multi-year renewal.

Sneaky Fees: Some of the less savoury registrars will have additional fees that pile on and on to your domain. Suddenly that $0.99 a year name has an administration fee, a onetime activation fee or any other fee that the company makes up is required in order to get your low price. Additional services are not the same as sneaky fees. Many accredited registrars will offer hosting, email or web support as well as other services.

Transfer Conditions: Fees to transfer domains aren't unusual and are normally quite acceptable. However, be aware of special conditions, like when and where you can transfer a domain to, or exorbitant transfer fees.

It is Your Property

Remember you own the domain; it's your property, as long as you keep paying the renewal fee, and the registrar is there to facilitate. You want one that will work with you, not against you. For example there might be some charges for items were the registrar has to do some work like making your name private, forwarding to another website or even hooking a website up to it. However, charges that prevent you from accessing your domain are a gigantic red flag that the registrar is just trying to squeeze money out of you.

How Much Should I Be Paying?

The short answer is somewhere between $10.00 and $20.00 CAD. Supply and demand will play a role in the game though. A premium domain will cost more. E.g., cars.com is always going to be worth more than cars-in-vancouver.com.

If someone else is holding onto a domain, you can reach out to him or her and negotiate a fair purchase price. Note: this will not get you out of the annual fees to a registrar; you'll still be liable for those. The second you go down this path you are stepping outside of the system and we can only speculate. If you do, it's probably better that you contact us (section VI) and see if we can help you. Quality registrars can help you acquire a domain as a third party or agent. This is a common approach used by larger organizations. Often by going through an agent, they can obtain the domain for less than you could do on your own.

A List Of Good Providers

Beyond those third party services, it's worth pointing out that we are a registered and accredited domain company and have been since 1997. Simply contact us, and we'll check to see if everything is available. We'll also put together a quick report showing you the potential for other domains and, upon request; we can put together a comprehensive domain marketing strategy. We also have domain asset management and auditing services.

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The Next Step, Hosting

Having a domain isn't the end of the process. In order to get a website up and running, you're going to need a hosting company. This is outside of the domain marketing strategy but it's still worth exploring, if only to show the connection between a domain and a website.

Hosting is the term used to describe a server that houses a website. In its simplest form, a website is a collection of HTML documents stored on a server. When someone types in a URL, the domain connects with the server and pulls out the HTML documents.

Creating a Memorable Domain

Your domain is your brand. Just like the name of your business, it's the first thing people see. It's a signal of your professionalism and legitimacy. Visitors will connect the term to you. Imagine Google not owning google.com or Yahoo! not having yahoo.com. Personally, I can type in google.com, yahoo.ca and so on much faster than my own name. Over the years, even my fingers have connected these domains to their owners. A good domain physically affects our ability to interact with a company.

A memorable domain also gives you the chance to customize your business's online presence. In its simplest form, you can start running emails with your own dedicated domain. It might sound simple but with the amount of fraudulent emails flying through inboxes, yourname@gmail.com might work for family, but for anyone who's spent ten minutes online it's a flag for a scam. Image is important and having your professional emails branded helps to legitimize your online presence.

Domains are commonly used to load up different portals like a client intranet or other web portal. This is great for those who are looking to turn their website into a workhorse. Into something, that provides value for their organization by automating aspects of it, it all starts with a great domain.

Creating a Memorable Online Identity

Over the years, we've discovered a few nifty tricks to help you select your domain. Sometimes the perfect domain isn't available but all is not lost, there are a few ways to work around it. In addition, when it comes to building your domain marketing strategy, these tricks will become vital when selecting a wide range of domains to capture additional traffic.

Brand and Domain Selection

Since your domain is your public face, it's important to think about it. You wouldn't throw on an old suit and go into an important meeting. The same goes for your domain. The good thing is you don't have to pay hundreds of dollars for a tailored domain name. Always purchase your legal name and any trademarks. Even if you don't want to use it as your primary website address having that domain is important. Also, look for similar products. A specialty butcher might want to include bratwurst.com as well as currywurst.com.

Hyphenate

A space looks like %20 to the internet. Suddenly, great store.com would be great%20store.com or greatstore.com, it's best to separate words with a hyphen. There is some debate as to whether a hyphen (-) or an underscore (_) is the preferred method to separating out words in domains. We have found that using a hyphen is a better practice. It looks and reads better.

Rule of Clarity

First and foremost, copy should be readable. Second, it should look good. This prioritization is key. A short and simple domain is more memorable than a creative, but convoluted one.

Add extension words

This is good when your preferred domain isn't available. Adding an extension word such as web, online, digital and so on is a great way of finding a domain that works. The best extension words are terms often used in your industry. A mining equipment supplier that uses mining-digital.com might want to think of mining-resources.com or mining-global.com.

If .com isn't there then stay home

It's no surprise to anyone that .com is the most common TLD around. It's also the TLD associated with the United States. If possible, aim for a .com. It might be the American TLD, but it's also very much an international TLD. If .com isn't around, then your country's TLD is best. If that's not available, then region specific TLD are also available.

Get all major TLD

Avoid the last point by getting all the major TLDs. At least get a .com and your country's domain. The more you can get, the better control over your online brand you'll have. By the way, this is the first step in building a domain marketing strategy (see section IV).

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Work in a keyword

What is it that your business does? Do they make shoes? Maybe your store name is Cobblestones. www.cobblestones-shoes.com would be a great way to work in a keyword. There is some nuance to this practice, and it's why working with a domain marketing specialist is important. Keywords come at the cost of attention. They lengthen a domain and are thus less memorable. But a well thought-out keyword that compliments would ameliorate this effect. E.g., cobblestones-shoe-store-vancouver is a great use of keywords but it's less memorable than with just shoes. Finding a balance between the two is important. As a rule of thumb if the keyword compliments the domain, then it's worth exploring.

Easy to remember is easy to spell

Sometimes we type faster than we can spell, recieve.com and reiceve.com and rcieve.com probably get a lot accidental entries. As a good example, type in gooogle.com, it redirects to the mother google.com. Spelling mistakes abound, as do sloppy typing finders. When searching for a domain, avoid words that are easily misspelled. See section IV for a hack around this.

Cross Cultural

Make sure your domain does not mean something else in any other language. One example that always comes to my mind is the old car brand Nova. When Volkswagen tried to expand into Latin America, they forgot to check what Nova meant. In Spanish the words No Va translates as does not go. Volkswagen tried to sell a car that literally said does not go. Also, sticking to cars, the French brand Citroën never sold well in the United States due to its English translation of Lemon.

Best Ways to screw up your domain selection

A domain is better than no domain and if you keep the previous advice in mind odds are you'll end up with a worthwhile address. However, there are still some pitfalls to avoid when thinking about purchasing a domain.

Only One Top-Level Extension

Only getting the .com or the .ca can hurt you. Imagine someone typing in your domain from memory. How many times have you wondered whether a website is a .ca .com or other version? Purchasing other TLDs is important in making sure the right people are coming to your website.

Looong names

It's easy to fall into this trap especially when you are trying to stuff in keywords. Unsurprisingly, a long name is harder to remember than a short and snappy one. Even if your company has a long name thinking of an abbreviated version for the purposes of your domain might work in your favour.

Beyond the memorable factor, after some point, search engines will stop reading your URL. Google, for example, has a character limit of approximately 255 characters. This is important in SEO, as the URLs for your different pages will become truncated because of your long domain.

This is why we recommend that a URL never extend beyond 255 characters. Note, that includes: www.example.com and www.example.com/example.

Words With Similar Letters and Names

Sometimes, people go word blind. They become so familiar with a term that it becomes second nature, so much so that you fail to see it in the context others would. Try to avoid falling into the traps of those below:

  • Kids Exchange URL: www.kidsexchange.com
  • Who Represents URL: www.whorepresents.com 
  • Experts Exchange URL:  www.expertsexchange.com 
  • Pen Island URL: www.penisland.net
  • Power Gen Italia URL: www.powergenitalia.com
  • Mole Station Native Nursery URL: www.molestationnursery.com

Names that have nothing to do with your product or service

This is more common than you'd think. Odds are someone has good intentions but a lopsided strategy. Using a valuable domain like vacuums.com to sell a wide range of household supplies sounds like it would work. However, people are searching for a specific device, a vacuum. They might also be looking for cleaning products, people who vacuum probably need some as well, but the domain is so specific that you might get some tangential sales but stick to specific domains for specific products.

Relying too much on Geography

This is something to be careful of, the internet is by definition global and it's a great way to break down barriers. Once limited by geography, now someone in Azerbaijan can put in an order without too much trouble. So keeping to a broad sounding term is a great way to signal that face. Zippo.com implies international, while zippo.ca or even zippo-vancouver.ca implies that Zippo only services Canada. If you operate internationally, make sure that your domain reflects that.

Avoid cutesy or text speak

Bst or best, ur for your or even you're, really any shortcut you'd use to conserve characters isn't recommended for a website, especially a business website. Beyond its effect on a brand, it typically falls under the easily misspelled advice. If your website is bst-vaccums.com, people are more likely to spell it correctly, and unless you own best-vaccum.com then you're just going to be sending traffic to the wrong place.
There is one exception and that's using a TLD creatively. Bit.ly and believe.in are a couple of examples, but it should be noted that they are simply incorporating the TLD into their domains. The browser and search engine crawlers that are reading the domains see them as separate. Thus, it's possible to fall into one of the earlier pitfalls especially the ‘nothing to do with your service’ one.

Avoid generic or already branded names

Shampoo.com would be a great get. However, if you are a struggling shampoo salesman having such a domain could actually hurt. How many people are searching where to buy shampoo? There is a percentage, probably a good percentage, but there is also a percentage of people looking for tips, tricks, types and all sorts of information on shampoo. Such an approach could just leave you with a lot of noisy traffic.

Type it out

Is it easy to type, how about on a phone or with one hand? Domains that stress our fingers also stress our brains and are less memorable. This is also where TLDs matter. Type out bbc.com or bbc.co.uk; which one is easier to type on a keyboard? Which one are you more likely to use? Think about that when picking out a TLD. One that flows on a keyboard is better than one that does not.

You should also keep mobile in mind. Every year mobile chews up more and more internet traffic. Design your domain around the assumption that someone is typing it with one hand on a bus while trying to hold onto the top railing.

Memorable is key

A big pitfall is to prefer a computer and search engine crawlers over actual visitors. Selecting a domain that contains a killer keyword is great for SEO and search engines. However, not factoring in human interaction could cost in user experience. Remember that your domain is very much part of your website. For some reason we've trained ourselves to think of a website as a collection of graphics and text, but in fact, your domain is part of both. Its name is important in telling the user what you're about. Something that flows, a collection of letters that are short, easy to read and a domain that is indicative of your business is just as important. Balance between computer and people. Remember both its SEO potential and how users will be interacting with it.

My First Domain Marketing Strategy

If you've followed the previous first sections to a tee, then you will have accidentally created a domain marketing strategy. Because, in its simplest form, a domain marketing strategy is taking the time to think about how your domain will affect your visitors, brand and SEO potential. That's it. But before you go, there are still some nuances you can take into account when implementing those three concepts.

This is the advanced to the previous beginners guide section. Here you can take all information laid out and start to apply it towards a domain marketing strategy that'll point you in the right direction.

Beyond .com

It's important to make sure you own all the different TLDs for your main domain. If you own www.example.com you're also going to want www.example.ca, www.example.net, www.example.org and so on. This will ensure that your competition or similarly named companies cannot take your brand away from you. Imagine you're lucky enough to get your company's name as a .com. It's a great find. However, your competition can simply buy up yourname.ca and throw in a redirect so that any mistaken visitors who type in yourname.ca are sent to the competition. Having all the TLDs will prevent this.

Keep a list of URLs and TLDs you have or could have. This first step will help you organize everything and show you potential gaps, exploits and domains of which you could take advantage.

The Importance of Keyword Research

So we're going to build a big long list of potential domains. Starting with a long list of different TLDs is a great first start. The next step is some research. If you already have a list of primary keywords for your business then you are off to a great start. If you don't then it's best to consult some SEO experts and they'll point you in the right direction. Think of variations on those keywords, common misspellings, synonyms; even an antonym or two might be enlightening. Think of all the ways that keyword could be used.

The point of all this research is to let ideas fly. Even if the domain seems outlandish and silly write it down, write down everything. Just build that spreadsheet. Even go as pedantic as pluralizing or hyphenating different parts of your domain; e.g., poutineinmontreal.ca, poutine-in-montreal.ca, poutines-in-montreal.ca. At this point, you are not looking for the right domain you are building the foundation that will lead you to the right domains. Just build that list and once you think you're done, add ten more lines.

Whittling Down That List And Why You Need A Domain Marketing Registrar

See section II for more information on registrars in general. Finding a reliable registrar is important and especially if you are going to register multiple domains with them. Dealing with one domain at a rotten registrar can be a nightmare, imagine ten or a hundred.

This is why we recommend finding a registrar that is aware of domain marketing. The big and famous registrars tailor to a very wide audience. They are great if you are looking for one domain for a personal project. When you are dealing with that huge spreadsheet of domains you've compiled, a more niche approach works best. A person at the other end who can look through it, give feedback and then register everything for you could make the process easier in the long term. Plus, owning all those domains will mean some micromanaging on your part.

At this point, you're trying to achieve two main things. The first is to use the registrar's database and access to ICANN. The second is to whittle down that list. It's probably blotted and full of domains that'll never be of any use. After the brainstorm, it's time to clean up.

All you need to do is type in your domain to see if it's available. If it is then great, it stays on; if it's not, then bin it. Many registrars will give you the opportunity to contact the owner, so even if the name isn't available for purchase then you can privately arrange to buy it.

Alternatively, we are a domain registrar ourselves and if you send us your list, we'll be able to bulk search the availability of all the domains. It'll save you all that time taken to type in domains one after another. Plus we'll also be able to point out which domains are worthwhile.

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Cutting Out The Junk

Once you've finished that step the next is to cut. This is where the previous sections play an important role as well as the quality of your brainstorm. A domain marketing expert will help in this regard, as they'll be able to really chew down that list. Fortunately as domain marketing experts, we can point out the big things to focus in on. How experienced you are in dealing with domains will play a huge role in finding the gems amongst the junk.

Cut anything that sounds unusual when read aloud: URLs that made sense when read on a screen could have a completely different meaning when said aloud. Imagine saying your domain name to a client; the domain had better translate from speech into text easily.

Domains that cause you to strain and stretch when typing should go: A domain should flow. If you ever have to stop, think too much or if typing it feels like a math problem you just can't solve, then it should go.

Memorable and Short: If you can't remember the domain you've used, do some market research to gauge customer responsiveness to it. Anything that's too long should find itself under the delete key.

Primary versus Secondary Domains

If you already have a primary domain, then you're in good standing. There are a few questions you might want to ask before jumping ahead though.

  • Do any represent my business better?
  • Are any shorter and clearer than my current one?
  • Do any specify/summarize what my business does?
  • Are any SEO friendly?
  • Are there any I just like it more?

If the answer to any of the above questions is yes, then you might want to consider changing your primary domain. This will be a great strategy in the long term, but it might cause some headaches in the short term, as odds are you're going to have to update your existing website, links and any external link sources.

Secondary domains are going to build the bulk of you domain list, these are the domains that you're going to use as part of your forwarding strategy.

Forwarding Strategies

Now that you've whittled down that list, it's time to start buying. Each registrar is different. Some are more involved, but all you really need is a credit card, and an email address; the extent to which you'll need more than that will depend on the service provider you select.

Now that you own all of the domains it's time to start implementing your strategy. Unless you have a programing background, it might require the contracting of a developer for a few hours work. For the sake of argument, we're going to assume that you have the necessary development skills in place to implement your forwarding strategy. We're also assuming that you've found adequate hosting for your domains.

All you are going to do is take each of the secondary domains and add a 301 redirect into them. A domain in its simplest form directs a browser to a server. The browser pulls information from the server (this is why when hosting a website you need a domain and hosting). The domain points at a server and the server sends the browser the information and voila—website.

Those secondary domains will work in the same way by pointing traffic towards your primary domain. They'll do this with a 301 redirect. There is some debate on the internet, but it's the internet so it's assumed that we're debating about something, as to whether a 302 or a 301 redirect is better.

A 302 redirect is a temporary redirect. It's best used for when you want to move content temporarily. Like when building a webpage, you might want to redirect the traffic away from the page. It's particularly important if you're tinkering with your site's architecture.

301 redirects, on the other hand, are permanent redirects. They are useful when pointing traffic towards a specific domain. They also have the added benefit of passing on “link juice”. The realm of SEO links create authority and tell search engines that the page being linked to is relevant, and thus worthy of a better PageRank. A page with a 301 redirect tells the search engine that the area it's being pointed to is relevant. A 302 does not do that.

That's why we recommend using 301 redirects when building your forwarding strategy. One-by-one you're going to install a 301 redirect protocol into your servers. This will ensure that all those secondary domains point towards your primary domains. So now those common misspellings, similar domains and all those quality domains you've selected will tell search engine and visitors where the real important content is.

Direct Navigation and Keyword Domain Marketing

In the early days of the internet, some websites who had premium domains noticed that they were receiving traffic that was bypassing search engines. They discovered that users were simply typing in their domains navigating directly towards their websites. By 2005, just as Google was starting to dominate, a report by WebSideStory's StatMarket division calculated that approximately 4.25% of traffic was a result of direct, type-in, traffic. This is where the origin of domain marketing was born. The more domains you had the more potential direct traffic you could capture. However, 2005 was a long time ago in internet terms. With the advent of the searchable URL bar in most browsers, the role of domain marketing has changed.

Now, simply typing in terms into your web browser will autocomplete a strong domain marketing strategy is even more important.

But doesn't all of this sound very much like section I stuff? What's important about this recent development is that keywords within your domain are even more important. The previous sections alluded to caution when thinking of keywords, and it's true, when it comes to a primary domain. However, your secondary domains won't necessarily be hosting a fully-fledged website, so go keyword crazy with them.

Because more and more users are using the URL browser bar, using domains that are keyword rich will help to improve the amount of direct navigation traffic your website is attracting. This can be done separately from the research done above or at the same time, but get a list of your strongest keywords. Keywords that currently generate traffic and keywords to target, ones that could generate traffic in the future, are what you want to keep your eye out for. If you don't have such a list on hand, then contact us and our SEO strategists will have a look for you.

Once you've compiled that list, follow the steps talked about above. If appropriately targeted, these domains will naturally capture traffic, especially if those domains are capturing traffic associated with keywords related to your products and services.

Isn't The Gold Rush Over?

 ‘Surely, the internet gold rush is over?' some of you holdouts might be saying. The internet has been around longer than this year's graduating class, there can't be any more domains available.

The gold rush is very much alive. In fact, the term is outdated as it implies there's a limit. A creative domain marketing strategy done today, ten years from now or in the latter part of the century when we have internet 2 will always find new domains to use.

The only way to miss out on it is to not try at all. There's virtually no downside to at least sketching out a domain marketing strategy; well, virtually no cost.

One Domain Is Cheap, Two Is Acceptable, But More Than That Is Just A Waste

While multiple domains will increase your bills, they'll also grow your business by protecting you. We've already talked about the more offensive strategies you can take. Finding domains that are searchable and direct traffic towards you as well as countering human errors: like misspellings, forgetting the full domain and so on, but a domain marketing strategy also has a defensive aspect, it protects your brand.

The best way to see this is imagine you only own one domain, www.example.com. You sell examples and you'll likely get a ton of traffic because it's a great domain. However, there's nothing to stop someone registering:

  • www.examples.com
  • www.e-g.com
  • www.forinstance.com
  • www.sample.com
  • www.illustration.com
  • www.representation.com
  • www.caseinpoint.com

These are all synonyms of the example URL. Only owning one domain opens your brand up to copycats. Owning those other domains will increase your domain registration bill, but it'll also protect you against losing business to similar companies, or just malicious domain registrar squatters.

Beyond simply protecting a brand, a domain marketing strategy can create strong web architecture for your business. Website architecture goes beyond simply having a well-designed website. Your website exists in a server(s), but it also partakes in the larger experience of the internet. Having outside domains pointing towards your home is a signal to both search engines and users that your website is worth their time. It's like a reference with a well-constructed index. The more expansive, the easier it is for a reader to find the section that's important to them.

The other advantage is that down the line if you decide to expand, say into another country, that TLD might just come in handy. It gives you the flexibility to adapt in the future.

It's Never Too Late

It's better to do something than to do nothing and hope. A domain marketing strategy is a proactive approach to building a web presence. When most people see a website they see a polished product, even the horribly designed ones with 1990's chiptunes were at one point polished. However, to a website developer, that polish is a sign of the care taken during construction.

The best websites are planned down to the last period; every component thought of as a separate project. From the way that the background draws the eye into the centre of the page to how the company logo fits with the colour scheme. It's also how the form interacts with the database that runs the whole machine, and about thinking and compensating for every moving part before the first piece of HTML is written. It's about seeing something as tiny as a domain as integral to succeeding online.

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About The Authors

This book was written in collaboration between everyone at Think Profits. We are a digital marketing agency that's been around since 1997. Operating out of Yaletown in Vancouver's downtown core, we've been building up expertise in digital marketing strategies for almost two decades. With our years of experience in developing websites and creating content that achieves page one results, we decided to share some knowledge with this ebook.

We actually started as a domain and hosting service and very quickly expanded to a full-service marketing agency, thus we feel that this ebook is the distillation of our oldest service into something that experts and beginners can benefit from.

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