Just recently there seems to be a revival in companies offering website Domain names for sale at ‘great’ prices.
In this article we will put our thoughts down on why we think this is a bad idea!
Their premise is that if you buy this domain name, which is vaguely related to your website, you will:
1. Prevent your rival from owning it
2. Improve your rankings in the search engines
3. Get it for an amazing one-off price of £x
Addressing each of these points one at a time is the only way to explain why this is a really bad idea.
1. Stop your rival from owning it.
Arguably, this is the strongest reason for buying a new domain name for your site but let’s consider the reasons for and against.
The domain name could be very close to your own website name, and MAY be mistaken for you in the search list IF they are specifically trying to find you: say something like “whightknightmarketing.uk”. BUT, the chances are, if this name is returned, it’s because they already punched in “White Knight Marketing” into the search, and there we will be sat right next to it on the list – AND our listing will be in full format, with our Google My Business location block right next to me. If they visit both sites, it won’t take them to long to realise it redirects to another. Not something most of us are comfortable with; “could it be a scam site?”, I hear you say.
But what if it has a location tagged into the domain name e.g. marketing-taunton.co.uk?
Well in fact another marketing company in Taunton does actually own this domain name and guess what? Their site didn’t show up in this search when I tried it because although they own the domain name, they are not optimised for this keyword search, which brings me nicely to point ‘2’.
2. Improve your rankings in search engines.
I should really rest my proven case having answered this in the section above, but I just want to explain a little more about why it doesn’t matter if you have a location in your domain name – or any other tempting thing like ‘Plumber’ etc.
The logical bottom line is that the search engines, particularly Google, have been saying for years, it’s all about the content and the user’s experience on your website that matters. You have to optimise your copy to showcase your product or service in a fairly prescriptive way now, and if you do that, you will succeed. Your domain name has nothing to do with it. Think of the big brands – how many of them have domain names that are descriptive?
The search engines know geographically where you are searching from, so they will always return the most local websites to you who supply that service or product. And this has never been easier for them on mobile; how many times do you agree to allow Google to know your location when it asks? It is asking so that your search can be localised; you don’t need a location in your domain name to get that customer.
Let’s not forget that you probably already have a listing in Google my Business – which is the box on the right hand side of the search results which specifically links to directions and Google maps – and Bing offers something similar. Whether you have set it up yourself or Google has just found you doesn’t really matter – they know where you are based.
So I rest my case on this one!
3. Get an amazing one-off price to USE the URL.
This is the one that got me scribbling this blog as steam blew out of my ears! There is nothing like a scam to get me going and this one is a cracker!
The recent scenarios I have come across have been based around random phone calls or emails and those of one of our associate website developers, Somerset Web Services . Clients have been offered ‘tempting domain names’ for a one-off fee – and they never have to renew them again!
What did I find out on investigating this? Various scenarios:
Firstly, in one case the person offering the domain name didn’t even own it, so you could just go and buy it for yourself for much cheaper! You can check this yourself with websites like https://whois-search.com/ to see if someone already owns it. The one off fee is ALWAYS much higher than you would pay yourself
The owned domain names were effectively being ‘rented’. They were merely going to redirect them to the existing site, where, don’t forget, you will do all the work to make your pages work (see 2) yourself.
If it is registered to someone, they will legally own the domain name, not you, they can withdraw it at any time, you cannot use it for email addresses or get it redirected if you change hosting packages without asking them to do it. And you have no control if they shut up shop.
Nominet, who register UK domains names, have a legal responsibility to be able to track ownership of UK domains. If they own the domain it will be registered under their name, therefore if there are any breaches to Nominet’s T&C’s they can take the domain down without you even knowing. This causes a lot of issues and this did in fact happen to over 1000 sites in 2010, when Nominet realised owners had breached their contracts.
Now none of this may matter to you, you may just want to prevent someone having a name that you would like, and that is fine, if that is what you want, just don’t be tempted to do it through a one-off payment offer. Remember, you have no security, the same domain name may be sold on, and it is not the domain that carries the clout, it is your website!