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Domain names – how many is too many?

by Randall Craig on February 13, 2015

Filed in: Blog, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Marketing, Web

Tagged as: , ,

In the olden days, domain names were easy.  Take your brand, add dot com (as in www.RandallCraig.com) and you’re done.  Those of us who didn’t want to fight the squatters also registered the dot net and dot org versions:  www.RandallCraig.net, www.RandallCraig.org.  And of course, you might want to register your brand under a national domain:  RandallCraig.ca, RandallCraig.us.  And then there are a bunch of interesting country domains that might prove interesting beyond the geography:  RandallCraig.TV comes to mind.  And how about registering domains with deliberate misspellings, just in case?  RandalCraig.com perhaps?

Finally, there are now hundreds of other specialized domains that are available.  RandallCraig.tipsRandallCraig.guruRandallCraig.training.  Here is the question: when are there too many?  Or perhaps a more useful question: what criteria should you use to determine whether to register your brands with their own domain?  Consider these five criteria:

  1. Squatters: Is it likely that someone else will “squat” on the name?  The annual cost of a domain name is far cheaper than the hassle of wresting control from someone else – even if you are in the right.
  2. Competition:  Are you competing with someone else who has the same (or very similar) name?  If so, it might make sense to register as many possible domains with your name – if you don’t, they will.
  3. Reach: Is it possible that someone in your target audience might try to use the domain to reach you?
  4. Special Content:  Might the domain be used to house (or redirect to) a special purpose page or microsite?  For example, a .TV domain that redirects to your YouTube channel?
  5. Cost.  Registration on every domain that exists can easily reach into the thousands of dollars annually.  Is there a better use of the funds?

This week’s action plan:  Create an inventory of your brands and the domains that are registered against them.  If you just have .com/.net/.org registered, then it may be prudent to register a number of others – but test each against the criteria first.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to www.RandallCraig.com to register.

 Randall Craig

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About 

Randall has been advising on Web and Social Strategy since 1994 when he put the Toronto Star online, the Globe and Mail's GlobeInvestor/Globefund, several financial institutions, and about 100+ other major organizations. He is the author of seven books, including the recently released "Everything Guide to Starting an Online Business", and speaks across North America on Social Media and Web Strategy. More at randallcraig.com and 108ideaspace.com.

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