Does your company have a website? If so, you have a domain of some sort. Whether it ends in .com, .net, .us, or dot anything else, somebody at some point registered your domain. Here’s a list of five things you can (and should) do right now to make sure you’re taking care of your website’s domain.
- Who is your domain registrar?
Do you know? Common registrars include Godaddy, Network Solutions, Bluehost, etc. Make sure you have your username and password to log into your account. If you don’t have access, start here.
- When does your domain expire?
Hopefully, you’re already aware of the fact that when you register a domain, you don’t actually own it forever—you’re “leasing” it for a specific amount of time (generally one, two, or five years). So check on the expiration date of your domain, and write it down in a safe place
- Who actually owns your domain?
If it’s your old web design guy that you can’t get in touch with, you may be in trouble. Make sure that you’re the one whose details are on the domain registration. If not, contact your registrar and ask them to change the info on the account.
- Is it set to auto-renew?
When it does come time for your domain to renew, is it set to auto-renew? Or do you actually have to login in to your control panel with your registrar and renew it manually? I generally recommend that you let it auto-renew, as long as you make sure your credit card info stays accurate.
- Is the credit card on file accurate?
When it does auto-renew, is it going to work? Especially when you register for two or more years, a credit card on file will often expire before it’s charged again. So when your card is charged, it will be declined because it will have expired! Watch out for this!
These questions may seem obvious, but it’s really surprising to me the amount of companies I work with that haven’t considered them either because they had their original webmaster (who they’re no longer working with) take care of it, or because they’re so busy that they haven’t delegated these tasks to one person to take care of it, so it gets pushed off until it’s too late.
Don’t let it happen to you—don’t let your company’s domain expire! It can cost your hundreds or thousands of dollars. Just imagine—if your company’s domain expires and you can’t get it back, you’ll need to change all of your promotional materials because your data is now old.
This happened to a business that I ended up working with. They had a (very small) website at www.examplecompany.com, and lost contact with their webmaster, and the domain expired. So they called me in and asked me if I could “retrieve” the old, lost domain. I tried, but couldn’t because someone else had bought it at auction a few weeks before. So instead we had to build a new website with a new domain as close as we could find (www.exampleinc.com), but all of their promotional materials were now inaccurate. They’re driving around in trucks that have the wrong domain, all their jobsite signs are now wrong, they’re locked into a local print advertising book that has the wrong domain and they’re even running a TV ad with onscreen instructions to visit the company’s website (the wrong website)!
So please watch over your domain carefully—it’s the easiest thing you can do for your business. And it can cost you so much if you don’t set a side the time to pay attention to it.