Due to many reasons, you might want to change your domain name of the website. Maybe you are going to rebrand or switch to something entirely new domain for some reasons. But the question is, can you change the domain name of a website once you bought and publish it online?
Here is the good news. It can be done.
However, changing the domain name of your existing website can be an exciting time for you. At the same time that can be one of the scariest and it may give you a headache sometimes.
Changing the domain name of your website is something that rarely happens. Most of the time, people will stick with their domain selection all the way.
When You Should Change Your Domain Name
However, in some cases changing a domain name can be a good thing. For example, at later stages, you may find a domain name for your website better than the existing one or you may want to change suffixes for personal reasons.
Some people may find changing a domain name like a crazy idea. But many popular websites have gone through the same situation and they have come back very stronger after rebranding their domain name.
Change Your Domain Name to Suit Your Business Needs
You already know that having the right domain name is a crucial factor if you want to build credibility with customers in the online space. Also, the domain is an easy way to signal other people about what you are doing in the webspace.
Unfortunately, some people don’t understand the value of having a perfect domain name. They ignore the most critical factors when assigning a domain name to their businesses. As a result, they are forced to change their domain name at the later stages of their business.
Therefore when you selecting a domain name consider why you should buy that domain name and is it suitable for your business.
Keep in mind that the benefits you can get by selecting a perfect domain name are well worth your time and the money you invested.
Can I Rename My Domain
Unfortunately, you can’t rename your domain name once you bought it. The only possible thing that you can do is to change or replace the current domain name with another domain name.
Can You Change a Domain Name After Purchasing It
No. You will not be able to change the domain name after you registered it. Once registered, it is yours for the next 12 months.
11 Crucial Things to Do When Changing Your Domain Name
Even though changing a domain name is possible, that doesn’t mean that the procedure is straightforward. Surely there are some works involved. You need to be very careful when changing your domain name. Because incorrectly changed domain name may bring disastrous results for your website.
Here are the most critical steps that you need to follow to transfer all the credibility that your existing domain earned to your new domain.
1. Buy a New Domain Name Early
Buying a new domain is essential. Because there should be a new domain to redirect your old domain. Besides this primary factor, there is another reason why you should buy your new domain well in advance. That is a well-known reason: SEO
If your new domain is up and running for an extended period, the chances are higher to search engines to crawl your new site. After purchasing your new domain create a coming soon page to let the search engines and other people to know that a new website will be there shortly.
Also, by letting your new domain up and running search engines will understand that the domain is not a parked domain and they will pay closer attention to it.
2. Update Your Users About Changing Your Domain
At this stage, your new domain should be up and running. Don’t treat changing your domain like a surprise part to your users.
Your recent visitors should aware of your rebranding and your new domain, so that avoid confusing them. This step is crucial. Done this right and you will maximize your chances of engaging with your old visitors and new visitors.
You can follow the below steps to inform your visitors about your rebranding.
- Place a notice on your home page about your new domain name
- Post about your new domain name on your social media channels
- Mention in your newsletters that you are going to rebrand
- Do some email campaign explain the changes to your site
3. Create a Site Map of Your Old Site
If your old site is up and running there for a while, the chances are that your website has a lot of pages and posts. Creating a sitemap allows you to see all of the pages and posts of your site easily. That will be needed to complete the next few steps of the guideline.
4. Do a Content Audit
After taking the site map, go to every page and find any mentions of your old domain. You will need to change those according to your new domain name once you move your site to the new domain. This includes the mentions within your posts as well as navigational links such as menu and footer links.
5. Rebrand Your Website Design
Sometimes you may want to completely change the appearance and the design of your website. For example, you might need to update your logo to reflect your new brand name. Also, you may need to change your about page, the footer of your website, etc.
At the same time inform your recent visitors about your new design through social media and newsletters
6. Set Up 301 Redirects
Google will not know that the new site belongs to the same owner of the old domain. Therefore it will catch the contents of your new website as the duplicates of your old one. To avoid this, you need to set up a 301 redirect your early domain to the new domain.
A 301 redirect tells the search engines that a link has been permanently moved to another location. Not only for the search engines but also for the visitors a 301 redirect is essential.
They might still type your old domain to the address bar or they may click links from external sites, old emails. When that happens, a 301 redirect will forward them to the new domain.
7. Update Your Changes in Google Search Console
Once you created your new site, tell Google that you have changed your domain. You can do it through the Google Search Console. Submit your URL and sitemap to Google search console and it will take care of the rest.
Also, this will help Google transfer all of the rankings and credibility from your old links to your new site.
8. Update Google Analytics
At the same time, you will need to update your analytic account sp that you can track the performance of your new website. Analytic will help you to monitor and compare the performance of your old site and new site.
9. Keep Your Old Site Alive for a While
Do not shutdown your old domain name right after you move your old site to the new domain. You will need some transition period so that your visitors can find your new domain. After creating a 301 redirect keeping your old one around will not do any harm.
Also, let your old domain run until it expires. If the renewal fee is not a significant amount, it is a good idea to renew it for the next year too.
10. Create a 404 Page for Your Old Site
A broken link is not a surprising thing. It is relatively common to have broken links on your website. But don’t forget to create a 404 page to inform your visitors about your new site if they accidentally visit a broken link. That will allow your lost visitors to find your new domain much quicker.
11. Change Your Email Address
If your old domain expires your email address assigned to that domain will also stop working. If you use your domain for your email, don’t forget to map them to your new domain. In some cases, you may need to forward your old emails to your new address and inform the people about your new email address.
Changing your domain name should not be done regularly. You should only do it if you genuinely want to change your domain name for some critical reasons such as rebranding your old brand.
However, by following the above steps correctly, you should able to change your domain name to a new one without any issues.