Your domain name can be the difference between online success and website struggles. The right name brings customers to your digital doorstep, while less-than-optimal monikers can make it harder for prospective purchasers to find your site.
The result? If things aren’t working — or there’s an opportunity for improvement — it may be worth making a change. Here’s how to change your domain name for maximum impact with minimal frustration.
Changing Your Domain Name
It’s a common question: Can I change my domain name?
The answer is easy — absolutely. You’re never locked into using a single domain name for the life of your business. Instead, you can change your name whenever it works best for your brand.
In this piece, we’ll break down some of the top considerations that come with changing your domain name, including:
- Common reasons to change your domain name
- How to prepare for a domain name change
- What happens if you change your domain name
- Steps to take on Name.com for simple domain name changes
Reasons to Change Your Domain Name
As your business grows, your market expands and your website changes, there are several reasons you might consider changing your domain name.
Name Realignment With Brand or Business
Brands and businesses aren’t static. As your list of products or services grows, you may find that original domain names no longer reflect what you offer. Consider an outdoor footwear company that’s making the transition into selling a complete line of camping gear. Its original domain name — outdoor-shoes.com — is now too narrow for the brand, prompting a transition to something broader, such as outdoor-gear.com
Business Name Change
You may also want to change your domain name if your business name changes. For example, when fast food restaurant Kentucky Fried Chicken rebranded itself as simply KFC, it changed its domain name to reflect the transition.
Desire to Change Your Top-Level Domain
Generic top-level domains (TLDs) are the last part of your website’s address — for example, the .com in Name.com is our TLD.
The number of TLDs is slowly expanding as the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) introduces new options such as .travel, .sport, .tech or .space. This means you may eventually find a new top-level domain that better matches your brand and makes it worthwhile to switch.
Preparing for a Domain Name Change
There are four key components in preparing for a domain name change.
Choose a New Domain Name
First up? Choose a new domain name. This starts with a search for a domain — if you’re not sure what your new name should be, a search could trigger inspiration. If you’ve already got an idea in mind, a quick search lets you see if the name is still available.
Map Out Website Redirects
Next, map out how you’re going to redirect visitors that end up on your old page. This includes both 301 (permanent) and 302 (temporary) redirects.
With a new domain name found and your redirect strategy in place, it’s time to update your information. This includes mentions of your website in physical advertising media, online ads and corporate email addresses.
Last but not least? Tell customers what’s coming. Post information about the change on your current website and highlight the move on social media. It’s also worth sending out an email to customers that subscribe to your newsletter or have opted in for product updates.
What Happens if You Change a Domain Name?
So what happens if you change your domain name? While the long-term goal is driving more visitors to your site and increasing your business impact, there are also short-term implications worth considering.
Fluctuations in Search Rankings and Traffic
When you first make the move, expect search rankings and traffic to change. While using a permanent 301 redirect lets search engines know that the search rankings from your old site should transfer over to the new one, this takes time.
Increased Importance of Brand Awareness Efforts
Significant changes to your domain name — especially if they’re coupled with a complete business name change — increase the importance of brand awareness. Make sure to highlight your new brand and website in all communications and on your social media feeds, and look for backlink opportunities wherever possible.
Steps for Changing Your Domain on Name.com
Once you’ve found and purchased a new domain name, mapped out your redirects and let customers know what’s happening, you’re ready to make the move. Not sure what comes next? Follow our step-by-step guide.
1. Log in to your Name.com account.
2. Click “My Products” located in the top-right area of the navigation.
3. Scroll down to the “Hosting” section and select the plan in which you want to change the domain.
4. In the “Hosting Details” section, click “CHANGE DOMAIN.”
5. Select a domain from the provided list or manually assign a domain, then click “Update” to save your changes.
Need more help? No problem. Our knowledge base has you covered with articles about how to change the domain name of an existing website, how to handle this process in WordPress and how DNS propagation may impact your name change.
A Site By Any Other Name…
A new domain name may help bring in more visitors and boost your brand’s digital impact. Ready to get started with a new domain name? See how Name.com can help. From thousands of available domain names and TLDs to aftermarket and expiring options, plus hosting plans and a comprehensive knowledge base, we’re ready to take your domain to the next level. Start your search.