Once you’ve registered a domain name, make sure you remember these 5 tips in order to protect your new acquisition.
Registering a domain name is an easy process, but complications can arise if the necessary precautions aren’t taken. Domain names can end up in the wrong hands, they can expire, or they can be impossible to manage due to lost or stolen information.
For example, United States presidential candidate Jeb Bush apparently committed a vital domain name error, letting his slide into the wrong hands. Currently the domain name jebbush.com redirects visitors to his primary opponent’s website, donaldjtrump.com, thanks to some quick thinking and fast acting Donald Trump supporters.
These kinds of slip-ups happen all the time. For small business it’s often just a matter of registering your domain name again. However in some cases the domain name is lost and a hacker or competitor can do as they wish with your domain name, much like Mr Bush’s misfortune.
So how do you prevent these events from happening? Once you register your domain name, what should you do next?
Remember these 5 tips when registering your domain name so that it remains safely in your hands:
- Know when you need to renew your domain name.
The biggest reason why companies lose their domain name is simply because they forget to renew it. When you purchase a domain name, you’re actually just registering it for a set amount of time. Different registrars will allow different time spans, but generally you can register your domain anywhere from 1 to 10 years.
Once you decide on the right amount of time, make sure you write down and note exactly when your domain name is going to expire. Your registrar will most likely send you a reminder email, but always write it down just in case.
The best practice for registering a domain name is to set it up to auto renew, meaning it will automatically renew your domain name once the registration period is over.
Competitors and scammers will pounce on a popular domain name if it expires. Make sure yours never does!
- Understand who your registrar is.
Always do research about your registrar before going ahead and registering a domain name. Verify that your registrar is an ICANN-accredited registrar before deciding to purchase a domain name. This confirms that your registrar is legitimate.
If you ever have issues with your domain name, make sure you contact your registrar directly. You can usually run a WHOIS search to see which registrar a domain name is registered with.
- Decide if setting your domain name to private is right for you.
When you register your domain name, you’ll have the option of setting your domain name to private. This just means that if someone runs a WHOIS search, they won’t be able to see the personal contact information you have listed for your domain name (name, phone number, email address, physical address).
Generally we recommend spending the extra couple of dollars to set your domain name to private. However, remember that if you do you won’t be able to see the contact information for your own domain name. This leads us to tip #4…
- Keep track of your domain name registration information
Going along the same lines as the previous tip, make sure you keep track of the information you use to register your domain name. We suggest creating an email address specifically for your domain name registration, such as email@example.com or just firstname.lastname@example.org.
If someone registers your domain name under their personal email address and then leaves the company a year later, the domain name may still be registered to them. Using a neutral company email address prevents this sort of thing from happening.
Write down all of the contact information associated with your domain name. Also, it’s good practice to verify that all of the information is correct. If your domain name becomes popular you’ll want a potential buyer to have an accurate way of getting ahold of you.
- Register more than one domain name.
Although not a necessity, we highly recommend looking into registering other domain names that are closely associated with the one you own. For example, if your company name is often misspelled or has an abbreviation, it’s wise to register these variations of your name and then point those alternate spellings to your primary domain.
Google has done a great job with this. Try entering google.com, gogle.com, gooogle.com or googel.com and they will all take you to the familiar search engine’s homepage.
This also keeps a competitor from posting negative content about your business on a similar domain name. If you own example.com, example.org and exampel.org, there’s no way someone will be able to register one of these domains for their own purposes.
Keeping these 5 things in mind will protect you from possibly losing your domain name. For more information on how to maximize your domain name, check out our other blog posts!