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Will Changing Your Domain Name Help or Hurt?

Will Changing Your Domain Name Help or Hurt?

By | 01.24.12
Will Changing Your Domain Name Help or Hurt?

Should You Change Your Domain Name?Here are the most important things to consider before you decide to change your domain name.

How old is your current domain name?

Generally speaking, older domain names garner more “authority” with the search engines and perform better than brand new domains which are given no respect until they prove themselves. Unless you have to change your domain name for some compelling reason, the age of your existing site is an important reason to keep the old name.

What is the reputation of your current domain name?

Have you ever been dropped out of the search results? Or has your site been blacklisted or banned? This can happen when you buy links from disreputable sources, or if your site is hosted on a server that hosts nothing but spam, or if you’ve used any “black hat” techniques to try to game the search results. If so, it might make sense for you to start over. Cleaning up a bad reputation with the search engines can be a long, painful process and might never get you in their good graces anyway.

How many other sites link to your site?

It’s a smart idea to have a Webmaster account with each of the three largest search engines, Google, Yahoo and Bing. These accounts allow you to find out all about the traffic and visitors to your site, links to your site, and how the search engines view your site. But if you don’t have Webmaster accounts, you can still check backlinks to your site.

In Google and Bing, type this in the search bar:
link: yourdomain.com
That’s the word link, followed by a colon, space, and the name of your domain.

In Yahoo, type this in the search bar:
linkdomain: yourdomain.com
That’s the word linkdomain followed by a colon and a space, then the name of your domain.

When you change to a new domain name, you don’t want to lose these valuable links to your site. So if you absolutely have to change your domain name, be sure to set up a permanent (301) redirect from your exisiting web pages to their corresponding new pages on the new domain.

Does your company use your domain name for email?

If you and your employees have email addresses with your current domain name, you’ll have to change everyone’s email address, and you’ll undoubtedly lose contact with some people in the process.

Are you prepared to spend some money promoting your change?

It can be quite expensive to “train” your existing customers, partners, suppliers and contacts to find your website at the new address. Since your company’s web address should be on everything you print (business cards, brochures, mailers, invoices, receipts, and all advertising) you’ll need to print all new material with the new domain.

If you still want to change your website’s domain name, here are the things you need to do to make that change successful and minimize potential problems.

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