What’s one important (and often overlooked) consideration for startups thinking about changing domains?
The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
1. Switching Over All of Your Services
We tend to add Web services over time, so when you’re considering a move, make sure you can update all the SEO, custom landing pages, webforms, analytics and tracking software at the same time. Start by making a list of the add-on services you’re using on the current site, so nothing gets overlooked in the transfer.
- Kelly Azevedo, She’s Got Systems
2. Setting Up Redirects
Always be sure to set up redirects for every page of your website. Without redirects, all the links to your website and your content will be lost, and your website traffic and online authority will suffer. Inserting redirects is a simple process, but it is often overlooked by Web design companies and business owners.
- Phil Laboon, Clear Sky SEO
3. Telling Users You’ve Made a Change
Depending on the stage of your business, there will be a period where previous users or customers are still searching your old domain. With a redirect, it is sometimes overlooked to have a small and visible message on the new site that clearly informs users of the change, even if only for a short period of time. Help yourself by removing the possibility for confusion.
- Ronnie Castro, Porch
4. Forwarding Your Email
Changing a domain creates the need to forward emails from an old address to the new one. The process for forwarding email varies by platform, but this is one important step to address.
- Brett Farmiloe, Internet Marketing Company
5. Building a Task List
We just changed our company name, and our domain went from cpxinteractive.com to cpxi.com. Build a list of all of the places your old domain was referenced, and have your marketing team systematically go through and update them. This includes social media, boilerplates on industry resources, email signatures and the like.
- Michael Seiman, CPXi
6. Setting Up Webmaster Tools
If you want to keep your free traffic from Google, set up Webmaster Tools before making the switch. Make sure to add the old and new domain as separate URLs in the account. After the change is made, all broken URLs will be shown under crawl errors. This will allow you to keep up with pages that have disappeared and make appropriate 301 redirects. Often, Google will notify you of bigger issues.
- Brendon Schenecker, Travel Vegas
7. Weighing the Pros and Cons
This is a potentially self-inflicted branding fork in the leg, so put the fork down, and step away from the table. I would only seriously consider changing it if your current domain truly confuses people, is mildly offensive or encourages crimes against humanity. Seriously, your brand is your identity, and changing it is more likely to harm you than help if you have any traction whatsoever.
- Seth Talbott, AtomOrbit
8. Remembering Social Media
Your social media profiles are almost as important today as your native domain. Do not neglect your social media profiles when you’re planning for the transition. Failing to do the proper research ahead of time about your desired social media handles or URLs on each social media platform can leave you regretting the decision to switch domain names.
- Doreen Bloch, Poshly Inc.
9. Redoing PPC Campaigns