So, you don’t like your domain name? Perhaps you thought that adding those clever little “wing dings” into it was fun, but you have now discovered how important it is to keep it simple and keep it safe. Now, instead of “new_amazing_awesome.com,” you are hoping to get something along the lines of: “brandedproduct.com.” A domain name that is simple and easy for your target audience to find.
When people are searching for knowledge, products, or services, they tend to stick with the basics while navigating their search-engine inquiries. When someone is looking for a “dog groomer,” they will tend to search for that exact phrase, and if your puppy wash and trim establishment has a domain name that falls under “pups&suds&stuff&junk….” you will be buried in the classic online abyss, and few ever come back from that deep-dark hole.
However, changing your domain name to something that will allow people to find your site with ease, may just be exactly what your business needs to improve its online presence.
How is this done?
1- Register the new domain name or purchase an old one that fits your needs?
First things first: acquire a new domain. Keep in mind that the TLD of a domain (.com, .org, .gov, etc.) is often used to show the geographical position of your business and can play a major role on your traffic rankings.
Be aware that there is such a thing as an “aged domain.” This will most certainly come with the risk of having been banned by one or all of the major search engines. If you are purchasing a “used” domain, do your research, know your history, and make sure you are crossing all your T’s and dotting all your I’s before you make a final decision. Try using a tool, such as Is Banned by Google, to make sure that your new domain name is actually a good idea.
2 – Upload a “coming soon” page
Some would argue that if you have a “coming soon” or “under construction” page, that you shouldn’t have the need for that page at all, but when it comes to uploading HTML pages to your new domain, moving it a few weeks beforehand will allow search engines to crawl and index your new website. This is a way for you to place good and relevant content, which will help search engines pick up on the fact that you are moving to a new domain, which is in fact a real website, and your new domain is not a “parked” domain.
3- Transfer smaller parts of your website (this is optional)
Doing one giant transfer could potentially have a negative effect on your rankings. When possible, try moving smaller segments and spread them throughout the period of transferring all content. This will allow you to validate your rankings and keep those “crawlers” from having a serious effect when you proceed to moving over the whole shebang.
4- Uploading pages to your new domain
You should pay close attention to how you map your old page URLs to the new ones. If for some reason you have decided to change the structure all together, such as folder and path sites, make sure you keep note of all changes.
5- Redirecting old pages
The page of your old site should (obviously) be redirected to your new URL. This should be done on the page level, which means exactly what it sounds like; when someone goes to your old site, they should automatically be redirected to your new site, without a hitch and without extra steps.
Using 301 redirects will help you manage the passage of metrics, statistics, and characteristics from old to new, but keep in mind that 301 redirects should only be used for permanent changes. If you are looking for a temporary fix, stick with a 302 redirect.
6- Register through the change of address tool in the Google Webmaster Console
This one is all in the title. Google offers a tool that can help you change the address at a site level, which gives them a better understanding of the transition your business is trying to undertake.
7 – Remember your backlinks
Focus on the important ones. Trying to contact each and every one of the webmasters that have linked to your site can be tedious, and in the end, not worth the trouble. Stick with the ones that have directly and positively influenced your page rank. Try using Backlink Analyzer tool for this project to help make a smooth transition.
8- Patience is a virtue
You will need to test, test again, and test a few more times to make sure that the transfer from one domain to another is working successfully. Keep up with the renewal of your old domains, so that they don’t expire. This will keep you from losing and backlinks you may have missed or avoid the loss of quality referring traffic.
Following these steps carefully, closely, tediously, and with much-needed attention will help you take a daunting experience and turn it into a smooth operation. A domain name can make or break your online presence, so if you are going to take the plunge and switch yours to better the success of your business, knowing and following steps and guidelines will save you heartache throughout the process.