An Online Home for the Holidays: Maximizing Revenues with a Solid Domain Strategy

2010-12-10by Jeremiah Johnston

Retailers can be comforted by the fact that analysts are predicting e-tail growth of 10-15 percent this holiday season. However, with more and more shoppers beginning their online shopping on search engines and marketplaces, retailers need to be more creative about how they maximize their online presence and motivate customers and prospects to their sites this season.

One simple and cost-effective way to do this is by integrating a domain strategy into your holiday campaigns. Much like OfficeMax did with its Elf Yourself (www.elfyourself.com) campaign, retailers big and small still have time to purchase a domain name at an affordable price to help create winning holiday campaigns.

So, whether you’re a Macy’s with an extensive holiday budget, or a mom &pop toy store with limited funds, we have provided a few expert tips on purchasing the right domain name to support your holiday campaigns this season:

1. Be a Guiding Star – Premium domain names are prioritized on search engines. For instance, if you type “shoes” into Google the first site that pops up is Shoes.com. Premium domain names also provide value by capturing direct navigation traffic – when shoppers type “shoes.com” directly into the address bar to see what pops up. If you have the capital to spend on a premium domain, it is a worthy investment that also makes your company exponentially more discoverable.

2. Shine Brightly – Of course not everyone can afford a premium domain name, but that doesn’t mean you’re out of hope for a domain that is still SEO-friendly. Descriptive domains can have a similar effect. Take a look at some of the other top results for “shoes”: Shoebuy.com, Aldoshoes.com and Bakersshoes.com.  Including a descriptor in your domain name can also help speed you to the top of search queries.

3. Make Memories – What is the value of being discoverable if shoppers can’t remember how to find you? Besides being discoverable, your domain should also be memorable; something pithy, brandable, quirky or easy to recall, encouraging repeat business. Valassis, one of the nation’s leading media and marketing services, experienced the benefits of a memorable domain name firsthand when it decided to create a consumer-facing brand offering discount coupons and shopping advice. Valassis was a well-known industry name, but it didn’t well resonate with consumers. To rectify this, the company chose the domain Redplum.com, which had performed well in market research studies. Now, in a span of less than two years, Redplum.com receives 3 million unique visitors every month, and sourced over 160 million coupons just last year.

4. Be Generous – Shoppers may be interested in your wares, but if they’re looking for you at MyWheres.com instead of MyWares.com, you’re going to miss out on their business. Obtaining possible misspellings or misinterpretations of your company name or website can cut down these missed connections. Once you purchase those misspellings, it is easy to redirect them to your main website. 

5. Bring Everyone Together – Aside from misspellings of your domain name, you can also redirect traffic from other websites to your main page. Lane Bryant does this with Therightfit.com, H&R Block with Taxcut.com and Calvin Klein with Bras.com and Underwear.com. Aggregating traffic from multiple sites is an excellent way to boost visits to your main site. If you want to get truly holiday-specific, consider purchasing a holiday domain name that directs shoppers to your site.

6. Know the Perfect Gift – Domains can also be used to target visitors searching for specific products as subsets of your main website. For example, if your main site sells electronics, you could create individual sites for computers, cameras, televisions and games. These “microsites” can help consumers focus down on one type of product, and gives you the opportunity to show your expertise in that category. Microsites also tend to lead to higher conversion rates. Headsets.com, for instance, recently reported that its new Office Runner wireless headset was converting at a 40% higher rate on its OfficeRunner.com microsite than on the Office Runners landing page at Headsets.com.

7. Share Your Wish List – Domain brokerage firms or online domain marketplaces offer hundreds of available domains at all different prices. With the average domain price running at around $2000, just about anyone can afford to invest in the domain name of their choice – even those that are already taken. Domain brokerage companies exist to help speed up the process of acquiring already purchased domain names and helps remove any associated risks. For example, Dynamic Network Services worked with a domain brokerage firm to acquire the DYN.com domain name which was previously registered. The company tried unsuccessfully to acquire the domain on its own for six months, and then turned to the firm for help.  Within three to four weeks, the firm brokered the sale of DYN.com to Dynamic Network Services.


Even with the holidays quickly approaching, there’s still time to invest in a domain name that will help you stand out from all the rest this holiday season. And whether you use your domain name to maximize SEO, redirect traffic to your main site or increase conversion rates with a microsite, implementing a domain name strategy will be one of the best investments your organization will make this year.

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Jeremiah Johnston

Website marketplace Sedo.com

Jeremiah Johnston is Chief Operating Officer of the online domain name and Website marketplace Sedo.com.  He represents Sedo as a founding member of the Internet Commerce Association (ICA) and sits on the Board of Directors in the role of association President, helping to shape the future of domain names in the political space.  For more information, visit http://www.sedo.com/retail.

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