Defensive domains. Sounds intense, doesn’t it? It’s a term you may have stumbled across when taking a look at your different domain hosting options, which has now led you here. Really, it's not as scary as it sounds and pretty much refers to making sure you cover all your bases by registering different versions of your domain, including typos.
So, what exactly does it all mean?
What’s defensive domain registration?
Let's go back to that intense phrase – defensive domain registration. It's essentially the act of purchasing domain names similar to yours in order to protect your business. This may include different variations and any other domains which you believe could harm your business if occupied by someone other than yourself.
A big part of it also involves registering multiple domains that cover common misspellings.
Why would I need to register domain name typos?
Let’s say you’re about to launch your website – we’ll call it mynewdomain.com. You purchase your domain name and off you go without giving it a second thought. But what if your customers mistype it and search for a typo like myynewdomain.com? Where do they end up?
The answer to that question could be a whole range of things. People searching for typos could be taken to an error page saying the domain doesn't exist and that's not good. By registering multiple domain names that cover domain typos you make sure that even customers who mistype your name end up in the right place – your site!
Snapping up typo domains also stops anyone else from doing it for you. Imagine a few years down the line your business has grown and your daily traffic has greatly increased. What happens when other people are starting to notice. You could mistakenly type mynewdomian.com into your search bar and end up on a website that’s completely different. You might end up wondering, “what on earth’s going on”?
Congratulations, you’ve got yourself a typosquatter.
As you may be able to work out, typosquatting is when disingenuous sites ‘squat’ in typo-based domains in order to take advantage of incorrectly spelt search queries.
This allows for other sites to effectively leech off your site traffic by luring unwitting web users onto sites they didn’t intend to visit. Typosquatters are then able to make financial gain from this in several ways, like tricking visitors into giving financial details to what they believe is a trusted vendor, or simply selling the domain back to the business that it mimics for a higher price.
However, not all of them are trying to directly scam their visitors.
Watch out for competitors
Sometimes defensive domain registration can protect against slightly less sinister yet still very notable threats. In a nutshell, your competitors could benefit from having a very similar name to you and may purchase variations of your domain in order to attract traffic to their site, piggy backing off your reputation.
Sinister or not, you don’t want this happening either. So what’s the upshot of all this?
Why registering multiple domains is important
When it comes to buying typos domains, the reward outweighs the cost. The amount of money you need to spend on acquired dormant domains is negligible compared to the time, money and effort it could save you down the line.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. Buy domains before someone else does
Act sooner rather than later, before someone can register your domain name typos. If you leave it too long, you leave the door open to typosquatting and competitors tying to capture your potential traffic.
2. Cover misspellings
Register domains that cover any common misspellings. This could be a simple case of letters being switched or it could be something people search if they mishear your domain name. If you have a number in your business name it’s also a good idea to snap up domains with both the number spelt out and the digit.
3. Secure domains for longer
Locking in your domain names for longer than a year means that you have the security to know that you and you alone own your space. If you really want to commit, you can register your domains for up to 10 years and know your brand will be protected in the long run.
4. Think about extensions
We’ve talked a lot about typos in your domain name. But what about your domain extension? We all have a default one we search for when browsing the web and your potential visitors do too. So, if you’ve only registered a .co.uk and they search for .com, they could end up on someone else’s site. Securing multiple domain extensions casts a wider net across the web, so you’ll be more likely to capture any users that might be searching for you.
Still on the fence? Get in touch with us today for more information about how you can protect your business online. Want to learn more about domain names? We’ve got loads of interesting reads over on our blog – from the best extensions for UK businesses to how to easily renew a domain name.