When purchasing your domain name, you may be prompted to purchase additional variations such as a mydomain.net or mydomain.org. This is particularly true with bulk domain clearinghouses such as GoDaddy that will try to slip these extra domains (and extra charges) onto your bill before you can decline them.
But do you really need these additional domains? Does having them help protect your business identity? And do they help with search listings?
The answer to all three of the above is “no”. Let’s take a look at each question in greater detail to see why.
Do I really need these additional domains?
Think about this.. when you go to Google, do you ever “accidentally” go to google.net? Or google.org? Of course not. You know to use .com. What about on lesser-known sites.. if you were trying to find Joe’s Crab Shack and for some reason couldn’t Google it, would you try to go to joescrabshack.net? Not likely.. you would try joescrabshack.com first. The .com is the main domain.. period. All others are second-choices only to be purchased if your desired .com is already taken.
Does having multiple similar domains help protect my business identity?
When you invest in advertising be it pay-per-click, print ads, or business cards you are going to list one domain name. That domain name is part of your business identity. If you have selected a name wisely, it will stick in the minds of your potential customers and they will be able to find it. Buying variations like .net and .org will not help potential customers reach you unless you are specifically trying to steal business from whomever has the .com domain name. Likewise buying domain name variations like misspellings will only help if you plan to pick up business because or it, or if you domain name is hard to spell. In the latter case, we recommend thinking out of the box for your domain name. For example if you business name is Weitman Trucking it would be a mistake to make your primary domain weitmantrucking.com due to all the spelling issues customers might experience. Perhaps consider a catchier domain like delivermyproduct.com and purchase weitmantrucking.com only as a redirector to point to this easier primary domain.
Does having multiple domains help with my search listings?
In the old days (prior to about 2005) this was at least partially the case. People would setup vast networks of linked sites with similar domain names so as to increase search rankings by appearing to be connected to every variation of a name. However, search engines are a great deal smarter these days. They no longer place a premium on links and unique domain references. Today it is all about clicks by real humans.. be that on ads or search results or links. Having multiple domains like .net or .org will not help you get more clicks. Again if your domain name is based on a business name that is hard to spell, having both that domain and a more clever common name might help people find you.. but at best you will get a few hits from this and then only if people know to search for you by your business name (which we are assuming is hard to spell, so good luck there).
In conclusion, decline all those domain add-ons.. simply pick your domain name carefully, always buy .com if you can, and keep marketing materials consistent. When in doubt, consult with us first or better yet just have us buy your domains for you. We at ESG can purchase your domains, manage them, and give you full access if/when you need.. all for about the same price as the bulk domain sellers.