What to Consider if You Change Your Domain Name

Previously, we’ve discussed the merits associated with multiple domain names, including pointing secondary names to redirect to your primary domain. However, there is also another situation registrants should pay attention to, especially business owners. In this particular instance, we’re referring to registrants who opt to change their domain name and no longer retain the old name.

What many business registrants fail to recognise, is that their domain name is often part of the brand they are operating. That is, customers know and associate a particular domain with the company, even if the two are not necessarily aligned. In essence, you will have a portion of your web traffic that comes from direct ‘type-in’ entries, which you may compromise by failing to clarify any changes.

When one does decide to change their domain, they should always let their target audience know about the change beforehand. This can be done via announcements or banners on the website’s home page, or through mailing list correspondence. One could also retain the former domain for a limited period to advise of the changes and redirect traffic accordingly, however, you don’t want to be relying on this method too long if you are pursuing a change in branding and looking to keep costs down. Having said that, if the domain could become valuable property to competitors, you may want to maintain its registration.

One way to circumvent a change in web address is through a “301 redirect”, which redirects web traffic from your old name to your new domain. This strategy relies on a little bit of tech know-how. Basically, commands are installed on the old domain to notify web traffic about the change in domain, before then transferring them automatically. Depending on the complexity of the website in question, the migration can vary in difficulty.

The other aspect to consider, is the tangible performance that your former domain was achieving. If you’re switching to a name with a higher domain authority score, increased web traffic, or improved search ranking, then your worries will be minimal. On the other hand, if you’re transitioning to a newer domain or one that lags current performance, you’ll want to map out how you’re going to bring this up to the same standard pretty quickly, or your business performance could deteriorate.

Something else that should not be taken for granted are the links pointing towards your website. Not only does this include internal links which you may need to update, but also those from other sites. Unless you’re prepared to keep the old domain active, these links will effectively become useless. In such circumstances, you’ll need to ask external parties to update their links to reflect your website’s new domain, which can often amount to nothing short of an arduous task.

That’s it for this occasion, stay tuned for our next educational article. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Best wishes,
The Netfleet Team



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