Finding the right name for your company, brand or product can be difficult. Added to this is the difficulty of finding a free and relevant domain name. As soon as you have decided on the choice of the domain name that suits you, register it in most of the extensions you deem necessary. But did you also think about the lexical variations of your domain name?
Protect your domain name from typosquatting
There is a reason why spelling correction, automatic correction and voice dictation have been invented: most people make spelling or typing errors. When it comes to writing and email or comment on a blog or tweet it is not so bad, but it can become serious when it comes to accessing a website by typing with its little fingers the url of the site in question. Now, a typing error, an inattention error in the domain name can make all the difference, and the person who wanted to know more about you, is likely to end up on a site with a more than dubious theme …
To compensate for typing or spelling mistakes, many website owners register as many domain variations as possible and redirect them to their primary domain. Taking the example of Amazon that has registered ammazon.com or Google with gogle.com and googl.com. In this way, even if the user has mistaken when typing the url, it will be redirected to the correct domain.
The cybersquatting risk on domain names
If the threat of extortion by a cybersquatter does not convince you to exploit the different variations of your domain name, then the possibility than someone might build a pornographic site should. In order to attract more and more new visitors, the owner of a pornographic site may be interested in registering and using variations of your domain name to channel traffic to its adult website. If this happens to you, then your potential customers might be mistaken when typing the url and ending up on a pornographic site … well, that could clearly harm your brand!
Other risks may come from your own competitors: by registering variations of your name they can profit from unclaimed domains related to the name of your brand or company in order to divert your traffic to develop their business. Even if, from a legal point of view, this practice is often condemned, it is better to prevent than to cure!
In addition, although a domain name is generally not very expensive to acquire, your budget may soon be overwhelmed by successive registrations. There are hundreds of ways to misspell a word or phrase, not to mention that some special characters are increasingly used to deceive the small world internets, as it was the case for Google in 2016. So the legitimate question to ask is: is it worth buying all the possible variations of your domain name? How far can you protect yourself? Here are some ideas:
Are alternative domain names available?
Before you spend too much time thinking about whether to buy more domain names, first check if the different versions are available. It is possible that a name similar to that of your business has already been deposited by a third party. If the domain name has expired, it is probably best for you to recover it. To do this, visit the youdot.io platform and look for domain names similar to yours. If a domain name with a slightly different spelling is already existing, you can then create an alert to be notified when it is released.
Define your budget
If your need is linked to a personal blog or your business as a freelancer, then the cost of buying a large number of domain names can climb quite quickly. If you spend about 15€ per domain name, buying another ten will be a big expense, especially since it will have to be renewed.
On the other hand, for a company that spends hundreds of thousands of euros on wages, advertising and a myriad of other expenses, a few dozen domain names ultimately cost relatively little. Therefore, that seems worthwhile: play the security and register the domain names misspelled!
What are internet users looking for?
You can use Google Analytics and Google Search Console to see what search queries users have to access your website. In your account, go to Acquisition>Search Engine Optimization>Queries. From there, you will be able to see what queries brought people to your site.
You may discover queries containing a word close to your brand name through which people have accessed your site. So maybe it’s worth trying to get this domain name containing that word.
There are two key factors to consider: the number of clicks and the number of queries. If a query brings a significant number of clicks, it indicates that this query is generating traffic to your site. The same way, if there are many queries using the same misspelling or variation, then there is a good chance that many people will make the input error in the browser address bar. In both cases, it is worth investing to buy the corresponding domain name(s).
A case study: Twitter has been in conflict for nearly 5 years with the world intellectual property organization for the domain name twiter.com which was cybersquatted by a website offering polls and advertisements, while using a webdesign similar to the social network …
Ask people to spell your domain name
Among the common mistakes made when choosing a domain name is the mistake of spelling a word. You probably think that your domain is easy to spell, but it does not mean that it is the case for everyone. The only way to ensure this is to ask your entourage to do so.
If people incorrectly spell your domain name, then you may need to address this issue by registering the domain.
Brainstorm on every variation of your domain name
Beyond spelling, think also of grammar and conjugation. If, for example, your name is lawyer-townname.com, you would probably not want to miss potential customers who would go to lawyers-townname.com, either because they have typed this address by mistake of because they expected your law firm to be written in the plural. If many domainers know the interest and values of plural names you should guard against them and register your domain name before they do so. The same is true for nouns and adjectives which may be accorded in gender, masculine and feminine.
Also explore the grammatical variations of the words in your domain name. For example, if your domain name contains the word “falling”, you should consider versions with “fall”, “fell”, “fallen” … A word can become a noun, an adjective, an adverb.
If your domain name is composed of two or more words, consider buying composite versions: if you have registered hotspings.com, it would be good to register hot-spings.com, and vice versa. Small SEO advice: prefer the dash – to the underscore _, most SEO experts agree that choosing the separator – gives better results to the search engines.
Think of all the homonyms your domain name might have (see our previous advice on how people spell your name).
If you are worried that your brand will be badly buzzed one day, perhaps you should take the lead in preventing a future complaint site from being registered as a domainname-fraud.com. An example: the site Disney-sucks.com. Unfortunately, when it comes to criticizing, haters will always know how to find an original domain name to express at leisure how much they do not like you or that your site sucks …
Not only you will have to decline your domain name according to different spellings, but you will probably have to consider hundreds of different extensions. Even if you are satisfied with your domain name and feel that you don’t need to decline it with different nearby spellings, and that no one will be mistaken, maybe you should register your domain with different TLDs.
Again, you’re going to have to register a significant number of domains, at least if your budget is not one of your primary concerns. With so many extensions available (and not to mention the new TLDs that come out almost every week), it seems almost impossible to register your domain name with each TLD. That’s why you need to be strategic.
If your website is targeted to French speakers, you will need to consider the national top-level domain extensions (ccTLDs) such as .FR, .CH, .BE and probably .CA for French-Speaking Canadians.
At the same time, there are generic top-level domains (gTLDs) that need to be evaluated: .COM, but also .OR, .NET, .INFO, .NAME, .PRO, etc. Depending on the theme of your site, some generic extensions can echo your theme: .PHOTOS, .NINJA, .TRADE, .CLUB …
In summary, having domains with multiple spelling alternatives is ideal for visitors to your site because they have a better chance of accessing your website in the event that they make a mistake in entering your domain name. The question is whether it’s worth it for your business!
It is impossible to register all the possible spellings of your domain name with each time a different domain extension, so the best solution is to be strategic. Try to identify the most likely options, ie what are the “bad spellings” of your domain name that users may typically type most frequently. And depending on this, consider purchasing additional matching domain names. Once you have done these records, check your attendance statistics to see how many visits were made to your main site by misspelled domains or in different extensions. So, you’ll know if the investment was worth it and then decide whether to continue with the renewal of your domain names or not.
By taking the time to brainstorm around your domain name and investing in similar domain names, you will also protect your business against possible threats to your reputation, brand and possible brand misappropriation. The relatively low cost (even if it depends on the name and extension) for registering a domain is only a small price to pay in relation to added value and security for your business. Think of registration fees as a kind of online insurance policy: it will cost you much less than possible negative repercussions, such as a Syrelli procedure for example.
If you think buying variations of your domain name is a good solution, you should check on youdot.io if they are available. 😉