As the price of domain registration continues to decrease, it might be time to consider registering a new domain or re-branding your existing domain. In this post we'll look into considerations for registering a new domain for your web site. Some of the things you need to take into account are your existing domain, links to your domain, and domain name registration companies.
A few considerations:
"Why should I register a new domain?"
Did you originally get the domain you wanted the first time? Because of domain availability at the time, you might not have registered your first choice. Or, you may have recently thought of a simpler version of your existing domain name. Several domain names become available every day due to expired registration.
Some Fun Internet History ...
Ever Heard of EchoBay.com?
"Originally, the site belonged to Echo Bay Technology Group, Pierre Omidyar's consulting firm. Omidyar had tried to register the domain name EchoBay.com but found it already taken by the Echo Bay Mines, a gold mining company, so he shortened it to his second choice, eBay.com." Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EBay
Many people bought domains thinking they could "cash out" with domain name brokers. One person I know spent tens of thousands of dollars buying domain names, their ROI was ZERO. Nobody bought any of the great names they purchased. This is the case with 99.9% of people who buy domains hoping to score big. Don't waste your money. The value of your domain is not in the actual name, but in your web site and your brand.
If you are thinking of re-branding your domain, look at your existing links. Your web site is indexed within search engines with your current domain. If you change the domain, you'll lose all the backlinks. Links are the gold standard for high search engine rankings. If you have over 50 backlinks going to your existing domain, you might not want to change so quickly. You can check your backlinks, use the Google Toolbar.
Here is a real world example: An anonymous professional sports team registered a new domain and immediately deactivated their old domain. If you went to Google and typed in related sports search terms all the listings pointed to their removed domain name. If you tried to go to their web site, via one of the search engine results, you were greeted with an error message. It took their web developer over a week to correct the problem.
"What's the lesson?" When you change your domain name, keep your old one active for at least a year, if not longer.
Remember to consider the reputation of the domain name registration company. If registering a domain is too inexpensive to believe, go elsewhere. Look for a company that is reputable and make sure they have a good management interface. Top domain registration companies include: GoDaddy and Register.com.
Last, plan when you domain is going to expire. Domain name registration and web hosting are usually handled by two different companies. In most cases domain registration companies disable your domain the day it's due. You are then left with an inaccessible web site. Keep a spreadsheet or notebook to remind yourself.
Keep your domain contact information up to date. If you registered the domain with an old email, you won't get renewal notices.
If your domain does expire, unless otherwise noted, you typically (but not always) have 30 days to renew. If you don't renew a set time frame, your domain can be purchased by someone else. I can recall horror stories of companies that forgot to renew and someone else picked up their domain. There are people waiting to do that to you right now, don't let them!
Next time, some guidelines for choosing the right domain name.
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