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Domain Names - Part 3

Note: The basics of choosing a domain name are covered in the article "Domain Names - Part One The art and science of choosing a domain name". To get up to speed, you may want to read that article first.

Multiple domain names:

Did you know that it is possible to have any number of domain names pointing to the same web site? You can have them all point to the home page (most common) or in some cases, it may make sense to point them to sub pages of your web site. For example:

Multi-language sites:
French/English versions of the site can have a French domain name pointing to the French home page and an English domain name pointing to the English home page. This is an advantage when advertising your URL in language specific situations such as a French language newspaper.

If you have a large product line and you want to attract attention to a particular product, you could get a domain name especially for that product. For example, www.carparts.com would be your main domain name and www.radiatorcap.com could be the domain name that you have pointed to the radiator cap section of your web site. This could be preferable to having to advertise a URL like www.carparts.com/products/engineparts/radiators/caps.html which would be another option.

Merging companies, or historical considerations:
You may want to keep an old domain name for with the sake of your old clients, or to help keep the clients of the company you just purchased. In this case, just pointing the old domain name to the new web site will automatically direct the old clients to your new company.

Key word searches:
Having key words (words that relate directly to the thing you do or sell) in your domain name will help with the search engine optimization of your web site. If you are Rob Brown the plumber and your business name is RB Services Inc, and your domain is rbservices.com, you could take advantage of this tactic by also registering the domain rbplumbingservices.com. This way, the word "plumbing" is in the domain and will be found by search engines when someone does a search for the word "plumbing."

Multiple spellings:
If your preferred domain name has multiple spellings, such as "colour" or "color" for example, you may want to register your domain name with both spellings. With a company name like Back2Front, for instance, some people may type out "backtofront" instead of the correct spelling.. In this case, getting both domains is a good idea. This will make your web site easier to find for anyone who is just going by memory or by a verbal recommendation.

Domain Prefixes:

To get some of the advantages of additional domains without the extra cost of registering separate domain names, you can add prefixes to your domain name. For example: using the www.carparts.com example again, you could add a prefix like this: www.radiatorcap.carparts.com. Depending on the context, this prefix may be referred to as: Sub Domain, Domain Prefix, or Hostname. The domain registry is not involved in the set up of a domain prefix. The only person involved is the person looking after the name service for your domain.In many cases, this will be your hosting service provider. If you are a Back2Front client just ask and we will set it up for you.

Multiple TLDs :

In addition to getting multiple domain names or using domain prefixes, you may also want to consider multiple TLDs (Top Level Domains) of your domain name. For example: www.carparts.com, www.carparts.ca, www.carparts.net, www.carparts.org. The registry is involved in this case. Reasons for this are:

Defending your online identity.
If you only register one TLD, other companies could register using the same name with a different TLD, and your clients could get confused and do business with them instead. For example: If you registered the domain name ABCaccounting.ca, then someone else (another accountant) registered ABCaccounting.com, you can see how some of your clients may go to ABCaccounting.com and not realise that they are visiting the wrong web site. At Back2Front, since we do business primarily in Canada, we encourage our clients to get both the .com and the .ca names. Some of our clients have gone so far as to register all the TLDs they can get their hands on to prevent other companies from using them.

Sharing a domain name by using a different TLD.
What if the domain name you want is already taken? If the company that has the ".com" version of the domain name is not a competitor, and therefore the likelihood of confusion is small, you may want to register the ".ca" version of the name or any of the other TLDs that make sense to you. For instance, we have back2front.ca but we do not have back2front.com (they are a stage back drop company in the UK.)

When considering domain names for your web site, it is not necessary to narrow it down to just one name. For the many reasons listed above, having more than one domain can be very useful.