Be the master of your domain… the dot com kind, of course!
We can thank the Jerry Seinfeld Show for the “master of your domain” connotation that has become a part of the American lexicon. I won’t get into the show’s bawdy definition of that phrase, but its common meaning — to maintain control — can certainly apply to you as the owner of your business domain name.
Although costing just dollars a year, a domain name is often a greatly overlooked business asset of tremendous value that should be diligently maintained. Besides the URL address of your company’s website, your domain also serves as the key communication tool for your company via email. These are critical components to conducting business on a daily basis.
When you purchase a domain name for your business, you will be fortunate to find an exact or close match of your business name ending in the “.com” Top Level Domain (TLD) ending. As of March, 2020, 147.3 million dot com domains had been registered around the globe.
Dot com domain names are the King of the Internet, accounting for nearly one-half of all TLD domains registered overall; which is why if you are fortunate enough to have a good dot com domain name, you need to master the protection of it as a valuable company asset.
Three ways to master your domain
- Make sure YOU own and control your domain.
Seems like a no-brainer, right? But you might be surprised who could be listed as the registrant (owner) of your domain. (Check your domain ownership here.)
Avoid or thoroughly scrutinize “complete package” web development offers that include the cost of your domain. Many web design and development firms, especially some of the nationally-advertised firms, offer web development packages that include your domain name as part of the “complete package.” This may sound like a great deal, but the big question to ask is whether or not the domain will be registered in your name, and if so, whether or not you will have complete control over the settings for the domain itself.
Think of it this way: Would you buy an important piece of equipment for your company — perhaps a delivery van — and place ownership and control of it in the name of the company that sold you and/or services the van for you? Like Elaine would say, “Get out!” Likewise, your domain — an important company asset — should be in YOUR name and under YOUR control. This means you should have an independent domain registrar account (eNom, Godaddy, etc.) that allows you to make any changes to your domain at any time you wish. This way your domain cannot be withheld from you as leverage if the working relationship with your developer/designer should go south at some point.
- Keep your credit card and contact email information up to date with your domain registrar.
Again, seems pretty basic; but, I cannot emphasize this suggestion strongly enough. This is just a matter of discipline, perhaps by making a calendar reminder to verify your registrar account credit card and contact information on an annual basis.
A couple of things can happen if your credit card and contact information is not current: (a) your domain name expires, goes into redemption and you will have to pay a hefty fee to recoup it or, (b) worst of all, your domain is released for sale and then, yada yada, it gets purchased by a “domain squatter,” who will extort a much higher fee — sometimes hundreds or thousands of dollars — for you can get your domain back. All the while your website and company email will not be accessible to you, and your clients or customers will not be able to send email to you — no soup for you!
So whether you have your domain registered with eNom, NetworkSolutions, GoDaddy, be sure that you check your account information annually.
- Consider acquiring your domain name in “.net” and “.org” formats.
For less than $30 per year, you can acquire the TLDs of .net and .org to correspond with your .com domain name. While this may seem an unnecessary annual expense, here are a few things to consider that makes this idea sponge-worthy.
If you have ownership of those domains, they cannot be used by your competitors in unscrupulous ways to divert traffic from your website to theirs. It also prevents an angry customer from using it to discredit or spoof your company.
You can put those domains to work for private email within your organization that you might not want to make available to the public, or for marketing purposes to determine if your digital ad buys or special ad campaigns are really driving business to your website. Just use your .org or .net domains for the click-throughs on the ads to track results.
Thinking about having your existing site redesigned? You can also use one of those domains as a temporary location for the new site until it is ready for launch on your .com domain for uninterrupted service to your clients and customers.
If you have questions about these suggestions, acquiring a domain, or any other questions of a web design/development nature, please feel free to contact me and I will do my best to answer your questions. Thanks for reading!
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