Companies often need to change the domain name of their website, whether they’re undergoing a rebrand, website redesign, SEO optimization, or other reasons. The process can be simple when done properly, but using the correct procedures and tools is vital to ensuring no traffic or SEO value is lost along the way.
The domain name of a website is like an address. It’s the main part of the URL that you type into the address bar when you want to visit a website, such as google.com. It also shows up at the end of email addresses associated with that website. Having a memorable domain name helps users remember your company and how to reach your website. It can also do a lot in shaping your branding and how people perceive your company.
Redirects are useful in a variety of situations and help ensure a seamless experience for website visitors. After all, when a web page doesn’t load, not only are users unable to find the content they’re looking for, but they can lose faith in the quality and standards of a company and its ability to deliver the services it offers.
Whenever a company goes through significant changes to their brand, there is a chance they will need to update their domain name to match their new identity. While a new logo or design won’t warrant a domain change, a new slogan or company name could make the old domain completely irrelevant. Many companies expect a positive reaction from their target audience and a surge in interest when launching a rebrand, so making sure they have a domain that’s easy to remember is very important.
Domain changes often happen around corporate mergers and acquisitions. In these situations, companies might need to consolidate multiple websites under one new domain.
With so many companies and organizations creating websites, it’s not uncommon for multiple websites to exist with similar names. This can go unnoticed for years, but if those companies become bigger, there is a potential for trademark disputes. When this happens, a company may be forced to change its domain name in order to avoid shutting down the website.
Many users find websites — and the companies and services represented by them — through online search engines, like Google. How a website ranks in these search-engine results can be vitally important to the success of the company. In addition to the content on the web pages themselves, the domain name can play a part in what search queries the website appears in and how it ranks in relation to the other results. To maximize organic traffic from search engines, companies sometimes include domain changes in their SEO plans.
When a company expands their operations into new regions or countries, they might feel that their domain name doesn’t resonate with the local cultures or languages of those places. In those situations, they might want to change the domain for part of their website to improve engagement and SEO performance in their new markets.
Sometimes a domain name that wasn’t previously available becomes available again. If a company had been waiting for that specific domain, then they might jump at the opportunity to claim it for themselves and make the switch.
For companies and organizations that are considering a domain change, there are some potential risks that need to be considered. With the right plan in place, these can be mitigated, but it’s important to weigh the pros and cons before getting started.
As mentioned earlier, a website’s search-engine rankings can be extremely important to a company’s success, especially if the company relies on organic traffic to generate business. SEO value is something that builds over time as more and more users visit a website, and search engines usually prioritize established domains that consistently attract visitors over an extended period of time. Therefore, changing domains often means taking a temporary hit in search-engine rankings. As long as there is reason to believe that the new domain will lead to better visibility and engagement in the long run, then this is something that can be overcome.
Domain changes can lead to a lot of confusion for users. If they don’t know that the domain of the website has changed, then they will try reaching the website using the old address. As a result, they might think that the website isn’t working or that the company has gone out of business. Naturally, this leads to a loss of business and trust in the company. Thankfully, this can be solved through marketing and website redirects.
Changing domains involves more than simply updating the address of the website. There is quite a bit of technical work that needs to be done behind the scenes in order for the new website to work properly. Links need to be updated, and in many cases, content (including images and video files) need to be migrated. Any company or organization thinking of changing domains needs to make sure that they can properly execute all the technical steps required.
Ready to start planning a domain change? As with many large-scale projects, having a well-thought-out plan is the first step to ensuring success.
After doing the proper research, select your new domain name. Register your new domain with a trusted domain registrar. You can also go through a professional domain broker. Here are the Forbes rankings for popular domain registrars:
Make sure you’re ready for the technical requirements of the domain change, including web hosting, DNS configuration, SSL certificates, and email migration.
Whenever you change the domain name of your website, there is a transition period when you need to redirect users to your new domain. This ensures that users are still able to find your website and you don’t lose any traffic — and potential customers. SiteDetour does all the behind-the-scenes IT work so that you and your website visitors enjoy a seamless user experience. Even better, you’ll have access to in-depth analytics, so you’ll know exactly who is accessing your website and where they’re coming from.
When redirects are set up correctly, the user doesn’t even notice that they’ve been redirected to a different domain. However, there are quite a few things happening in the backend in order for this to function smoothly. Setting up a redirect manually involves buying an SSL certificate, hosting the redirect on a server, and renewing the certificate on a regular basis. SiteDetour instantly handles all those steps for you, so you can have the redirects you need up and running within seconds. You can then monitor and manage those redirects with an easy-to-use dashboard that provides unparalleled flexibility and real-time traffic statistics.