Put Everything On One Domain


October 25, 2014

Owning a lot of domains is bad for business, unless you are in the business of buying and selling domains. There are a lot of reasons why, but there is one overarching reason why you want to have just one domain - focus. Domains are a distraction.

Ideas have no inherent value, and neither do domains.

Entrepreneurs like to come up with new ideas. We are intoxicated by ideas. And yet, ideas can be a poison to success. Why? Ideas are a distraction.

If you want to be successful, you need to have a focus on whatever makes you successful. While you might have had an idea one time that made you successful, you probably don't realize that it wasn't the idea that made you successful, it was your action and your ability to focus on that one idea.

How does that relate to domains? Well, when you get an idea you probably start coming up with a name for that idea. Then you come up with a domain. Then you go and look for that domain to see if it's available. Then you need to setup a website or a landing page. Then you need to create content. Then you need to tell people about it. Then you build the actual product. Then you promote that.

Do you see the problem? A new idea on a new domain comes with a lot of work. A lot of that work is incredibly redundant if you already have an existing website. So, what usually happens is if you have multiple products or services on multiple domains, you will inevitably neglect a lot of them and will focus most of your energy on the most successful one.

If Pareto's Law is true for your business, which in most cases it is, you will end up with one successful product for every four unsuccessful ideas. Or, more specifically, you'll have one great website and four crappy ones. So, instead of building a bunch of great products with a bunch of great websites and great brandable domains, you get a lot of tiny, junky websites on domains that you eventually forget about.

This happened to us.

We bought a few domains over the last four years. I think the grand total is less than twenty, but in previous businesses I've purchased probably hundreds of domains. One domain for every idea I had, no matter if I was going to build it or not. I mean, a great domain is valuable right?

Wrong.

The truth is that a domain isn't that valuable unless you put something valuable on there. For example, what if you owned some awesome domain like cars.com and you did nothing with it? Yes, the domain itself is valuable, but if you aren't going to do anything with it, it's only valuable to someone else because of what they would want to do with it.

Time and time again I've bought domains that I thought I would build out and turn into big exciting projects, but they are just ideas. Worse, when I do stand up a new project on a new domain, nobody shows up.

You have to put a lot of marketing work into a project before it turns into an interesting level of traffic or sales.

We have built out sites for Weight Tracker and Answer Customers and neither one of them moved the needle in a huge way. The best traction channels were app stores, not the website as a fantastic marketing tool.

Even worse, having them on a different, branded domain meant that we were starting from 0. No links, no existing traffic, no mailing list. Just a blank slate with no history.

It can take months or years to build up a new website to any significant traffic volume. Now, multiply that times five or ten or more ideas and all of a sudden you are no longer running a business, you are an idea hoarder, collecting junk and possibilities.

The solution…

A few months ago, Shawn and I decided to take a different approach to our online marketing presence.

Put everything on one domain.

There is so much more value in having everything on this website than there is in having even two or three different domains we are managing. From a SEO perspective, every time we promote our website we get links and attention that helps promote our other products. From a email marketing perspective, we are building a single mailing list that we can promote anything on.

For our limited resources, it makes so much more sense to have one great website instead of multiple mediocre websites. To make the change we had to move the content over to this site and do some 301 redirects to reroute the traffic to this domain.

So far, it's starting to work for us. Our mailing list is small, but growing (about 40 subscribers right now). Traffic to this website is growing.

Most importantly, the focus has let us make our website much better. We made it faster, it is responsive, and I think it is just a better experience for people like you visiting our website.

The best part is when we want to launch something new or explore an idea, we just create a page and put it out there, email our list, and see what people think. Also, we don't have to hunt for a new domain name for every idea we have. We just create a new page and boom, we're done.

I've found that any time you can increase focus and decrease friction in your business you are better off.

So, stop buying new domains and start focusing your energy on one domain.

- Brian

P.S. Focusing on one domain worked pretty well for Apple, it might work for you too.




About The Author

Brian Knapp is one half of the dynamic duo that runs Retro Mocha. You can follow his hilarious puns on Twitter.