Choosing the right domain is often a difficult task. It takes a lot of time, effort, and planning to pick one that’s available and that will help you get on the first page of Google. A domain is the website URL (i.e. thrivehive.com) that corresponds with your IP address, but don’t worry about the terminology. The only thing you really need to know about domains is that you should NOT, under any circumstances, have multiple domains for your business.
Businesses may have more than one domain for a variety of reasons. Some may have created a website early on and forgot how to access it, while others may have believed this was the best way to prevent competitors from stealing potential customers. Many thought it would be easier to build a new website rather than update their current ones. Whatever the case, having multiple domains, and therefore multiple websites for one business, can hurt your business in more ways than you know. In this post, we’ll look at confusion, SEO, and resources as the three biggest issues associated with having different domains.
The most obvious problem with having different domains for one business is that it’s confusing for both current and potential customers. If customers are used to viewing one of your websites and accidentally stumble onto your other website, they won’t know if they’re having a glitch in their Internet or if you actually use multiple websites.
Consistency plays a huge factor in keeping the public’s trust. We recommend that you maintain uniformity across your social media accounts, including across domains. If your business’s name is Sam’s Deli, then your website, social media profiles, and directory listings should all use the same business name. If you have a second domain for your business, you run the risk of confusing customers.
Multiple domains don’t just confuse your customers, they confuse search engines too. Many businesses operate under the common misconception that double the domain equals double the customers. In reality, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
When you launch a website that’s optimized for search engines, you’re telling the search engines that your website is the best option to show for your particular keywords or geographic location. Local businesses struggle enough with getting one website to rank on the first page of Google. If you have more than one domain for the same business, you’re essentially competing with yourself to get found on Google. Search engines have no way of knowing that your business website on one domain is the same as your business website on a second. This means that both domains will be competing for the same pool of customers.
In order for your business to be viewed by the most people online, you need to optimize your website. This includes blogging, finding keywords, and creating a mobile-friendly (aka responsive) website. Although these actions will help your business become viewable by many potential customers, performing them with the same content on different websites will lower your ranking on search engines.
Search engine algorithms, like Google’s, consider duplicate content to be second-rate, which results in poor SEO. If you think that by posting different content on all of your websites will help, think again. Because you are bound to include the same location, contact information, and services on your various domains, search engines will still penalize you for having identical info on your domains.
Related: Local SEO Guide
While confusion and SEO may not be your highest priority, resources most likely are. Small businesses can’t dodge the time, people, and money it requires to maintain multiple domains. Even if you only try to post original content on each of your websites weekly, the time this takes can add up and very likely be too much for your business to handle. The need for more time is universal across small businesses, so it’s no surprise that businesses post more frequently on certain domains they own than others.
The cost of having different domains is another reason why you shouldn’t have various websites. Most small businesses have to outsource their websites to website designers, which can create holes in your wallets. Buying domains, formatting websites, and constantly updating the information is not cheap. Remember, developers have to turn your designs into code on the back-end of your domain, which will accumulate even more time and money.
Even if your business knows how to manually update your website, many people don’t have the time to consistently work on it. For another way to save your resources, check out saving time and money with consumer generated content.
Rather than confusing your audience (and Google) and wasting valuable time and money, concentrate your efforts on one optimized and easy-to-use domain. Spend time regularly posting quality content, writing blogs, and improving SEO. Avoid brand dilution and coming off as unprofessional.
Choose one domain name for your business and stick with it. Use the domain that you believe best fits your business. If you currently have other domains, talk to your website provider about how to redirect one website to the other.