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Moving Domain Names

Posted By: Thomas Shaw, 1:29pm Tuesday 06 January 2009    Print Article

It's straight forward right? Change the website address, inform clients, generate as much buzz as possible, stock the printers with new stationery and copy and paste the website to the new domain name. Well, let’s just go over that last bit.

Your organisations domain name is literally the address of your website. It is the identifier/tag used by Google to establish who you are, what you are about and where to rank you. Your domain name will also have visitors reaching it from websites linking to you, book marking by users and direct traffic (people typing the domain directly into their web browsers).
  • How much business would you loose?
  • How much would it cost to get your domain name back?
  • What can I do about managing old domain names?
You should keep your old domain names for at least 5 years. The cost of registering a domain name is very low compared to the expense you may have to pay out to get the domain name back from squatters or even worse - your competitors!. The steps bellow will give you the best chance of protecting your current traffic and all important Search Engine rankings.

Planning ahead is the key to a successful switch over. Having copied all your website files to the new domain you will need to divert all traffic from your current domain to the new one. Leaving the two running simultaneously will cause the new domain to be treated as duplicate content by Google and therefore will not rank in the search results.

Do not redirect the whole domain name as users looking for specific pages will just be taken to the home page of the new domain. It is far better to redirect each page on your old site individually to the new site. Not a small task, but it is important enough to warrant the long hours and endless stream of coffee needed to be completed properly.

It is also advisable to ensure the IP address and WHOIS (domain registration details) records are the same on both the old and new domain. The idea is to change as little as possible, thus ensuring the best possible user experience and make it easier for Google to establish the owner of the new site.

Finally, registering with Google Webmaster Tools will help you in testing your sites links and redirects. Google will transfer the accrued value of your old domain to the new one through the 301 redirects. With all being well, you will be in an excellent position to launch your new website and continue benefiting from previous investment in your internet presence.

So let’s look at a real example. PageUp changed names to Pageup People changing domain names from to great, everything works well. (Yes this did happen a while ago)

But either they have forgotten to renew or expired one of their domain the new site is

Expired domain names go through various stages before they are deleted (length depends on the tld)

If you have a domain name in "Redemption Period" it is a 30-45 day period in which the owner of the domain may pay for the further dues to their registrar in order to retain the domain before it is deleted and other people can register it.

It is strongly recommended that you renew your domain registration in time before the domain name is placed in redemption lock because once its placed in redemption, the zone files of such domain gets automatically removed from the Domain Name Service and associated website and email etc services will cease to work.

The .jobs domain is regulated, so it would be difficult for another company to register see terms and conditions about the .jobs domain here

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