A Step-by-Step Guide to Changing Your Domain Name
A customer’s first impression of your site or business often depends on your domain name, so it’s essential to choose one carefully.
But sometimes, despite strenuous efforts and research you put in to decide on a domain name, you realize it’s not working for you, and you want to change it.
But, as changing your domain name is not something to be done on a whim or just because you don’t like it, it’s important to have a strong reason to do that.
There are several possible reasons why website owners might want to change their domain name. It could be that their ideal domain name was previously unavailable, or:
- Due to industrial shifts or market changes, your existing domain name is insufficient to highlight the products and services you offer.
- A couple of months after finalizing the domain name, you realized their registered domain name doesn’t portray your brand’s tone of voice.
- Your current domain name is not drawing the required user attention.
- Their domain name is very long or has unnecessary numbers and hyphens, making it difficult for customers to remember it.
- They changed their business name and need a matching domain name.
- They’ve relocated to another country, so they to change their domain extension to match the country code.
How to Choose the Right Domain Name
Here are some tips to choose the best domain name for your website:
It should reflect your products or services
Select a domain name that reflects your brand’s vision and niche and the products/services you’re selling. You can list down related words or synonyms and start brainstorming ideas from there.
Prefer choosing a domain name with a wider scope. For example, if you register chairs.com now and later you want to add tables to your product range, visitors might get confused, leading to the need of changing the domain name again.
Keep it short and simple
Try to pick a short and clear domain name. There’s a high chance that the popular phrases and common words will either be taken or be more expensive.
So, if you have the funds, go for clearer, shorter domains as they are marketable, easy to remember, and help you build brand recognition much faster than a longer domain name.
Check if it’s legit
No one would want to purchase a domain name that was recently penalised by Google or has a related issue. To check if it is legitimate, you can use tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs to check traffic, search visibility, and spammy backlinks. And ask the current registrant to check Google Search Console for the manual penalties.
How to Change into a New Domain Name
The process of changing your domain name is straightforward and involves more than just purchasing a new one. Follow the steps below:
1. Assign the chosen domain name to your website
Once you’ve picked a good domain name, register it with a reliable domain name registrar. If you register one with Bigrock, you just need to follow a simple process to change the same in your hosting plan.
2. Redesign your website
Depending on your new domain, you’ll have to redesign your website and update its elements to reflect the new offerings.
For example, you’ll need to update your logo to match your new domain. And the same goes for other elements that allude to your former domain, like the About Us page, website footer, business tagline, and other miscellaneous references. Let your visitors know about these changes, such that they are not left in any dilemma.
3. Redirect traffic to your new domain
Redirecting your users from the old domain to the new one is the most crucial step to take while changing your domain name. This way, you won’t lose any visitors accessing your previous website.
Many web hosts enable you to do the following from your cPanel:
- Look for the Redirects icon under the Domains section of your cPanel and click through it.
- On the Redirects page, pick the Permanent (301) option and the domain you want to redirect
- Next, type your new domain URL, and enable the setting Redirect with or without www.
- Mention your new domain for the redirect, click the Add button and you are ready to go.
Now, every time anyone visits your old domain, they will be redirected to your new domain.
4. Update your visitors about the rebranding
At this stage, you should have your new domain up and running. Now, the only thing left is to update your visitors about your new domain and the rebranding process, wherever necessary.
This is a key step because, without it, you will have a lot of confused regular website visitors. Here are a few ways to do it:
- As soon as you rebrand your website, add an explanatory post.
- Use your website’s social media accounts to update your audience and link them to that post.
- Run an email campaign explaining the changes to your website or brand.
Note: You can send out multiple emails and social media updates to engage with as many subscribers and followers as possible.
How to Make a Backup of Your Website
There are many ways to back up a website, which can be classified into two categories: local and backup.
While a local backup service enables you to backup data at your own speed and provides flexibility, it lacks effectiveness and efficiency. Plus, doing it regularly can be time-consuming.
On the other hand, online website backups are effective when it comes to storage space. They alert you immediately if they notice any change on your website and allow you to restore data at any point in time, ensuring your website backup remains up to date and safe from hackers.
Bigrock offers an online backup service called CodeGuard, which automatically backs up your website at regular intervals.
Changing your domain name is not a decision to be taken lightly. After all, it is one of the primary identifiers and core elements for every website. However, if you are certain about it, there is no reason you cannot pull it off while keeping your website’s identity or traffic intact.