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Changing Your Domain Name: Purposes, Possible Risks, and Advantages

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A domain name is an ID label that defines a field of administrative authority or control on the Net, according to the Domain Name System or DNS. It is used to supply easily identifiable names to address Web resources numerically.

While some might still question the importance of having a domain name, there are those who recognize the importance of having one and so have established their own domains. Just think of it this way: if you have a website with free Web hosting assistance but without a domain name, the company that will be earning from it is the hosting company and not you.

Your domain name is your online address. It can either make or break your presence on the Web. It needs to be easily recognizable to gather enough visitors, contain keywords for it to be search engine-friendly, and not difficult to spell to avoid losing traffic. It is basically your way of putting yourself out there and earning money.

Why change?

There are times, however, when you have to change your domain name for certain reasons. You may want to diversify and consider putting a lot of thought and advanced planning to your domain purchase. You may also do that after a corporate re-brand or if you have chosen a poor name the first time. Also, when your business has now outgrown its original status or when your business needs an upgrade, renewing the domain might be appropriate.

With every action, there is always a risk, including the renaming of your domain. You may lose the support and word of mouth your previous clients have under your old domain name. You may also need to take time to re-introduce your new domain to your clients; some of them will not be available or will be difficult to contact by then.

Square one

Your marketing material, with a link to your web address, will appear on catalogs, brochures, business cards, billboards, television ads and printed pamphlets, but they will likely be rendered questionable once you change your domain. It will also cost you in reprinting material to add to your new address.

The brand that you have built with your old domain name will not be as significant when you have acquired your new address, as impressions and reputations need time to develop and will not immediately be transferred to the new domain. Regaining the value of your brand requires hard work and patience.

Things to look out for

Having a new site design for the new address is essential. While it would be a good idea to move the elements found in the old domain to the new, there has to be changes in the visual design — logos, footers and headers, for instance.

Lastly, and most importantly, the domain change might affect the organic search volume. One of the most common errors site owners do is point their old site to the new one, without a 301 redirect implementation. If you just park your old domain and link it to the new address, you are at risk of a duplicate content issue, making your rankings slowly go down, affecting your SERP visibility and your traffic.

The benefits that eclipse all (if you changed your domain name for the right reasons)

Due to these risks, one might think that a domain change is not worth it. However, it can be. It is important to weigh the advantage from the disadvantage before choosing to change your name permanently.

Having a new domain is good to reach a wider scale, without the risk of losing browsers who recognize the old domain and believe that you focus only on one product or service.

Moreover, having a renamed domain helps the rankings in the search engine as well as online marketing. Since the new site is better, it will be more recognizable and users will easily remember it, resulting to a greater traffic influx. Keywords included in the new address will help SEO efforts and will eventually achieve a higher place in the search results.