Don’t Let Your Domain Slip Into The Sunset
You probably feel very possessive of your Web site – it’s like your virtual home. You put a lot of thought into just what to call it, spent time and money on the plans and the building of it, and have carefully maintained and upgraded it. Unlike the home you live in, however, the ‘lot’ your Web site sits on doesn’t really belong to you – you’ve just got a lease on it.
Your Web site name and address – also called a domain or URL, is just licensed or leased. You can license it for a long time if you choose; but whatever the terms of your license agreement, make sure you mark the date on your calendar and never let your domain expire.
You may have a domain that is very unique to your business – one that you can’t imagine someone watching for and waiting in the wings to snap up the moment it expires. But you might be surprised. They don’t call it the world wide Web for nothing. Great Web addresses are like currency in some places and you’d be amazed at who might want to grab your site address and hold it or resell it.
Letting the licensing expire on your domain is usually easily avoidable, but the costs in both time and money are huge if you let it slip away.
First of all, a good bit of your brand identity (intentional or not) is tied up in your domain. If all or part of your business name is included in the URL, you may never be able to get the brand value back if you lose it. Brand value is often intangible, and priceless; but don’t forget that you also have a number of hard costs to cover if you lose your domain:
• New domain license
• New business cards, letterhead, marketing materials and brochures
• New signage for your building, vehicles, billboard or road signs and others
• Updated Web, print or multimedia advertising
• Web pages updated with new e-mail and Web site information
You can spend thousands of dollars covering these hard costs, not to mention the hassle for you and your employees to internally update all of your information and identity systems, and get the word out on the changes. You’ll face these complications:
• All your e-mail address on all subscriptions, and logins to every secure site you use must be updated
• With no access to your old e-mail address, you can’t confirm changes or get passwords
• You’ll have to spend time to create a new URL, make sure it’s available, set up the new domain with your host, and modify your Web site to work with the new domain
• You’ll need to update your links from Facebook, LinkedIn, blogs and any other social media sites you manage
• You may have to create a new blog address as well, if the previous one was tied to your domain
Whew! Don’t let this happen to you! Stay on top of your domain registrations by following a few simple steps:
1) Know who your registrar is (who you paid for the right to use the domain)
2) Understand how and when they invoice you
3) Keep up with your renewal date – mark it on the calendar you use every day
4) Don’t lose your user name and password to your domain account
5) Make sure YOU are the registrant and not your hosting company or the person who set up your Web site for you
6) Make sure the e-mail address on file with the registrar is still active
7) Keep good records of the length of your domain registration and any other details on your site registration
Not sure about all this? You can check your standing by going to: http://www.networksolutions.com/whois/index.jsp.
Just type in your domain in the box in the middle of the page and hit search. Note – a registrar is the group that manages domains and sells licenses for them, which can be different than your host. You’ve probably heard of Network Solutions and Go Daddy – both of these registration companies have been around for a long time and are stable. Most domain registrations go through one of these two businesses, although you’ll find a few other legitimate companies out there.
Don’t take your domain for granted. If you don’t know when your license expires, make time today to find out and take steps to make sure your Web site address doesn’t slip away. You’ll be so glad you did!