Inngenious B&B Web Site Promotion

Lie #7 You need more domain names to get more visitors to your B&B website

Unfortunately there are a lot of myths around domain names and how many you should have. I have had customers come to me with a list of up to 14 domain names they use with the same site on each one and they wonder why their traffic is actually going down. Cleaning up the mess is not always easy. There are many reasons why it is a bad idea and I'll address them all.

First, let me address that there are only THREE good reasons to have multiple domain names:

  1. To keep someone else from getting them. - For example if a certain domain name is very similar to yours and you think someone might use it and create confusion about your inn, you could purchase the domain to keep that from happening. This is also a good reason to consider common mispellings of your domain name. Example: You are but you don't want anyone else to use So you purchase the bnb variation and redirect it correctly to your actual website.
  2. To use them for a related site. - A separate domain name is good to have if you are also running a travel blog, or a local restaurant directory or something else that would support your potential guests.
  3. To have a shorter address to give people over the phone or in print advertising. - If your main domain name is and you soon learn that it is a pain to repeat that long name on the phone or that it doesn't fit on your business card, then it would make sense to purchase something short like and redirect it correctly to your main domain.

That's it, just those three reasons. If someone tries to convince you that there is another reason, they are either misinformed or are trying to have you spend money on something that will not help you.

Most of you can stop reading at this point. However, if you already have extra domain names, you have to make sure they are not hurting you so you should continue reading.

Politicians don't run for office under two different names

It would be absurd for a person to run for President as John Smith and Phillip Jones at the same time. Any votes for the person would be split among the two names and decrease the number of votes that only one name would have received. Keep in mind that in most of the major search engines, the basic concept is that links are like votes. If you have one web address, and it has 30 incoming links, then there are 30 votes for that site (keep in mind that not all votes are equal). However, if you have two web addresses and 20 of the links are for and 10 are for, then in the best case, your site is only getting 20 votes instead of 30.

Search Engines don't like to show two results with the exact same content

As a rule, search engines want to give searchers the best results. It is of no benefit for a search engine to show a searcher lots of duplicate entries. They try to avoid search results that look like this:

3 major search engines

#1Thousand Islands Bed and Breakfast: The Lost Inn
An unknown Bed and Breakfast in the Thousand Islands...
#2Thousand Islands Bed and Breakfast: The Lost Inn
An unknown Bed and Breakfast in the Thousand Islands...
#3Thousand Islands Bed and Breakfast: The Lost Inn
An unknown Bed and Breakfast in the Thousand Islands...

So in order to keep from annoying searchers, the search engines use a duplicate content filter to get rid of listings with duplicate content. They filter out 2 of the 3 results as well as the votes for the sites that they filter out. So you work hard to build incoming links, and they are going to filter them out, that is not good. The other problem is that the search engines choose which result to keep... they don't give you the choice. If the search engine chooses to filter the one with the fewest incoming links, then that is not a huge loss. if they choose to filter the one with the most incoming links, then your weakest site will have to compete with the other sites in your area and that is not good. The only way to take control of the situation is to only show the search engines your strongest site. This can only be done with a proper redirect.

The Proper Redirect - 301 Redirect

There are many ways to redirect one website to another, the problem is, only one of them creates no problems for the search engines or site visitors. This trouble free method is called a 301 redirect. The number 301 stands for the response code that the server returns. It tells the search engine, this page has permanently moved to the new location, and immediately takes it there. It doesn't tell the a human visitor anything, it just immediately takes them there and changes the address in the web browser address bar to what is should be.

Example: If was 301 redirected to here is what it would look like.

User types in this:

initial web address typed in the browser<empty>

and sees the address change immediately to this:

new address as a result of a 301 redirect<empty>

However, humans can't see the 301 message, so if you have a redirect for one of your domain names, you have to use a tool to check for the 301 redirect to make sure that the response is 301 and not 200, 302, 401, or any number of other codes.

Advice for B&B Website Design

  1. If someone is trying to talk you into buying extra domains, make sure it is only for one of the three reasons listed near the top of this page. If it is not for one of those three reasons, ignore the advice.
  2. If you already have multiple domains make sure they are redirected correctly using a 301 redirect. Do not assume that your past designer knew what they were doing. Most do not fully understand the concept of redirects or multiple domains.
  3. If you are looking for a new designer, tell them you are thinking about having an extra domain name and see what their advice is, or ask them how they would handle it. If the advice does not match what is described here, consider looking elsewhere.
Return to B&B Web Site Advice
Return to B&B Web Site Advice