Building a Domain Portfolio
I helped Martin Guitars build and manage a portfolio of domains that topped over 800 different names and extensions. I’ve also helped other companies manage a portfolio of thousands of different names and extensions.
Choose your domain name game before you start to buy and try to buy them at the same time or come up with buying them on a scheduled calendar in blocks depending on budget and the bandwidth of your portfolio. Always buy the most important names and extensions first. Come up with a hierarchy in your branding and marketing needs and work from top down.
When you sporadically buy domain names this means you have sporadic expiration dates and this can turn messy really quickly, especially for for mid to enterprise level corporations!
Choosing the Right Domain Extension
There are several generic top level domains (gTLD) to choose from depending on your industry niche and website objectives. Ideally, you’ll want to register your main website as a .com gTLD, because it’s the most user familiar.
There are several other gTLDs to choose from including:
- .net for technical site services
- .info for an information resource
- .me for a personal site or personal services, such as a blog
- .biz for businesses- virtually the same as .com
- .org for non-commercial organizations
You can also choose geotargeted gTLDs, but they may be more expensive. According to the 2016 Searchmetrics ranking factors, 86% of websites in top 10 SERP positions used the .com TLD.
Most businesses purchase multiple domains to protect their brand and create new traffic sources. If you’re registered for a .com TLD, somebody could easily create a copycat site using a .org TLD. It’s alright to slightly append your domain name for different extensions if your exact name isn’t available. Remember to maintain relevance, as well as the same principles previously mentioned.
Forward Other Domains to your Main Site
Ideally, you’ll want to forward all domain extensions to your main website to increase your conversion rate. This will also be easier to track.
Maintaining multiple domain extensions could be good for different services, but it’s also more expensive. Besides, all traffic flow and link juice pouring to each domain will be transferred over to your main site. This also encourages people to link to your main site if they are automatically redirected from a separate domain extension.
In order to implement this strategy effectively, one must make sure they aren’t producing duplicate content on pages of their main site and extensions that may have exact content or similar content. This is a huge discussion in and of itself, but the main takeaway is to keep all your content of each domain in it’s own place and not on any of the other domains. Don’t try and fool the SERPs this way, because if you are intentionally producing duplicate content, then your ranking and reputability with be penalized!
Check Availability over Social Networks
Before purchasing your domain, make sure your domain name is not in use over social media channels. Check for handles that include your domain name or an incredibly similar name. You may need to tweak your handles, if necessary, or begin the process of buying out an account.
You want to encourage consistency across all of your marketing channels and you don’t want to miss out on a valuable referral traffic source.
Importance of Account Management
Make sure the primary contact on the account has an imbedded role in the company. If you are the owner or a principal of the company, make sure you are the primary contact. You can always assign other people in your organization to administrative and technical roles.
Many people make the mistake of having a marketing company, web developer, or some other outside entity purchase their domain, and (guess what?) they technically own one of the most integral parts of your business. No Bueno!
Now, I’m not saying that these outside affiliates would hold your domain portfolio hostage, but I have seen it happen a lot when those relationships turn south. Protect your investment.
Use your Name for Personal Domains
Finally, if you are looking to create a personal brand then consider hoisting your own personal website. If so, use your own name so people will associate your work with its author.
This is a great strategy to cultivate thought leadership for your personal brand. You can also share content from your business’s website and score some easy SEO and social media wins.
Choosing the right domain name feels like perpetual writer’s block. When you finally do find a good domain name, it most likely will be taken. You can also check out free domain name generators if you’re struggling for ideas. Ultimately, you want your domain name to reflect your online brand in a positive light.