Do I Need More Than One Domain Name?
The registration of a domain name is a legal transaction where you are registered as the owner of a particular domain name.
This doesn't automatically create a website, nor does it trigger any interest from Google or other search engines at this point.
It does not affect/apply to the internet/online activities at all.
For the domain name to be 'seen' by Google, it has to be attached to a website where there is actual written content on a website page for Google to crawl.
Google then uses that information to add each of your web pages to it's mammoth index.
Whether or not you then appear when someone searches for you, depends on many factors.
For information on how Google ranks websites see here.
So, registering a domain name is just the first step. Similar to getting your ABN before starting to work on creating your business.
So just owning a domain name does not get you any attention online. Having a domain name that is online, but only redirects to another,
does not get you any brownie points with Google, because
there must be content attached to the domain via a website. Some clients come to me with every available domain ending they could find and register,
thinking it will benefit them somehow.
Usually it doesn't, it depends why you want more than one domain name.
Reasons for registering more than one domain name could be:
Covering your bases with the competition
To protect yourself from someone else using the same domain name, just with a different ending.
So if you are working in Australia and targeting an Australian audience, and you think your website/work may be popular and your domain name is 'cool',
you may also register the .com version, so no one else can use it.
You may be concerned someone could try and pretend they are you, or just have another website similar enough that people get confused which is really yours.
Changing what you do / a new business venture
If you have a website already, but have decided to change your business to something else, you may want to use a new domain name for the new website.
Remember the domain name does NOT have to match your registered business name, so if your website is yourname.com.au,
then you can just change your website/redesign it and keep it under yourname.com.au.
You don't have to get a new domain name if whatever you already have still works for the new business.
If however your domain name is bethmassagetherapy.com.au and you now do counselling, then you will need a new domain name and a new website to go with it.
You will need to keep the old domain name registered to keep webmail running long enough until everyone knows you have closed down and they stop using firstname.lastname@example.org.
The old website pages and information will still be 'out there' for a while, as it sometimes takes weeks/months for Google to update it's index.
You may therefore want to redirect the domain name to the new website, or you may not want to connect the two at all.
If you don't do any redirection and just delete your website, there will possibly be links 'out there'
which will then return an error page as they are just not there anymore with no redirect instructions.
Once Google has allowed all the old website links to drop off it's index and you are satisfied no one is using the old webmail,
you can completely close down the old website, and just not renew the old domain name.
If you think you might want it again in the future, then keep renewing it. Make sure you do NOT have it set to auto-renew if you don't want it to renew.
Same business / new domain name
If you have decided to keep the same website, but register and use a new domain name. Then most of the above 2), applies also.
You don't need a new website, but the files will need to be moved to a new control panel that is attached to the new domain name.
Then when you type in the new domain name, your website will appear there, and not under the old domain name. You can redirect the old domain name to the new,
to catch anyone who has saved it, or using an old business card etc, probably for 6 months at least.
Then just renew or don't renew the old domain name when it comes up for renewal. Make sure you do NOT have it set to auto-renew if you don't want it to renew.
Different target audiences
I have sacredspaceswebdesign.com.au and sacredspacesgraphicdesign.com.au (these cover slightly different information).
I then have centralwestwebdesign.com.au which targets regular small businesses and country folks.
I leave out any spiritual/energetic references, and use country landscapes as my main images.
So having all these websites allows me to target both locals and regular small businesses, as well as my New Age market.
I am clear that they are all me, it's not meant to be sneaky, but my web design skills don't differ,
it's just a more comfortable presentation for those who may not be inspired spiritually.
Mis-use of having multiple domain names
Internet standards and Google have over recent years clearly qualified what a great website looks like including coding,
using hosting and domain registration businesses that are legit, great content and more.
They target any website that is simply a duplicate of another, and the younger version will be blocked/banned and the owner investigated.
It was a standard method of crowding out your competition to buy up domains, and simply copy and paste the exact website over and over,
giving the owner a much better chance of having their business show up in results.
If one website didn't, another would. This practice is now specifically targeted by Google and is considered 'illegal'.
Another practice is businesses who buy up cool sounding domain names, or when a new craze starts they buy any that might suddenly be sought after,
then charge ridiculous prices to sell them to someone who legitimately wants to run a business using it.
These guys are called domain speculators, and have even cut 'deals' with unscrupulous domain registrars to be the first to know the minute a 'cool'
domain expires and is back on the market. One guy in particular has in the past, made $400k in a month!
Important points when registering your domain name
Many of my clients have asked friends, family and web designers to register their domain name(s) on their behalf.
This has, in many cases, led to issues when coming to me for a website.
The most important section of the domain name registration form is the owner and contact details.
If the contacts are not listed as YOU and YOUR email, you will have no login details for your domain name account,
as those details go to that email.. if it's your friend,
or family member or other person you are no longer speaking to, we have an issue.
Your website cannot go live without accessing your domain name account and changing the name server settings.
Please register your own domain name, and do not lose the login details! It is not a difficult form to complete.
In my case, I open an account for my client, and then pass on the instructions for actual domain name registration.
I always recommend Crucial Domain Registration
- they have live chat to help you with any questions, and are the most reliable, ethical and customer friendly hosting and registration group I know.
There are rules for some domain name extensions, such as needing an ABN (Australian Business Number) to register a .com.au or .net.au ending.
To register org.au, you must be registered Not For Profit.
For information on how to choose a Domain Name(s) see here.
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