The use of additional domain names can help an ecommerce firm expand its reach. We asked Andrew Hazen to explain how this can work. Hazen is a web marketing pioneer and the founder and CEO of Prime Visibility, a Long Island, New York-based Internet marketing firm that specializes in search engine optimization, pay per click advertising management, and return on investment analysis. He’s recently launched Internetideas.net, a portal for Internet-based businesses.
PeC: Why should merchants consider buying additional domain names?
Hazen: There are many reasons. By having additional domain names that are optimized, you get the benefit of having more real estate on the search engine results page. Another reason might be the domain name chosen originally may not be search engine friendly. If a URL doesn’t really say much about your business and isn’t ranking well on the search engines, getting an additional domain name is a way to gain that visibility.
PeC: With the purchase of an additional domain name, should merchants build an additional site, or simply point to an existing site?
Hazen: They should actually build out an additional site. You wouldn’t want to have a duplicate of content, because that’s not a good thing within the search engines. You would build another site to have additional real estate, so to speak. A simple redirect won’t get it to rank organically.
PeC: Do you recommend that ecommerce merchants purchase domains in different languages?
Hazen: That would be great if there’s enough search volume for it and it might bear what we call typed in traffic with domain names, which is when someone goes right to a browser and directly types in the URL [because the name is very intuitive]. So, if it were something that might get direct typed in traffic, I would highly recommend getting the keyword URL in a different language.
PeC: Should U.S. merchants consider a foreign domain even though the site itself is in English?
Hazen: Yes, depending on the target or country and what language is spoken by the population there. It’s a great optimization technique where you take a site and then you have Español or something indicating that if you click a button or a flag on the site, it converts to the Spanish language, but that would be something that should be done through trial and error.
PeC: How can a merchant determine the value of a domain name?
Hazen: I look at it as the three C’s, almost like exploring a diamond quality. First, there is “characters.” How many characters are there, knowing that the fewer the better for memory and branding purposes? Then there’s “commerce.” Does the name sound commerce-enabled? The third “C” is “.com.” The .com is the predominantly desired URL. When it comes to valuing the price, I think you can get a good domain in the $500 range if it’s already been taken. I can clearly support spending $2,000 or $3,000 if the domain name is your subject matter. Ask the person that owns the URL how much traffic does it currently get. Does it have any rankings? Those are some of the various factors that determine what the price should be.
PeC: Would you also advise merchants to buy other top level domains, such as .net, .biz, and .org?
Hazen: That would depend on how competitive and how fierce the industry is. As an example, my company got Usedautomotiveparts.com for just under $1,000, and we were able to buy the .net and a .org version for $59 each. So, in the grand scheme of things, what’s another $60 to take away that real estate? I bought .net, .org and .info because I’m spending money on building this brand. It can stop someone else from buying up your real estate and then riding the coattails of your marketing efforts. It’s almost like an insurance policy, if you will.
PeC: You have recently launched another site called Internetideas.net to help merchants and ecommerce entrepreneurs understand domains better. Please tell us a little bit about it.
Hazen: Being active in the domainers community, I see people with portfolios of 75,000 domain names or 100,000 domain names, and they are charging ridiculous amounts of money. So, I launched Internetideas.net. In addition to offering the domain names, I’m also offering ideas to the businesses. Basically, I’m trying to bridge the gap at Internetideas.net by offering premium .coms at realistic prices with a business idea as well.