Should You Pick a New Domain Name?
As your website grows and reaches a larger audience, there are certain elements of “growing pains” that you must experience. Whether it be layout redesigns, changes in search engine optimization strategy or finding new hosting solutions to handle the traffic, you will most likely encounter multiple forms of frustration in the pursuit of developing a better, more popular website. One question many ask is in regards to whether a domain name change is in order – in many cases, a domain name is selected prior to a certain website becoming successful and as such, may no longer be optimal. Below, we will outline advantages and disadvantages to changing your domain name.
Advantage – Better Name Recognition
Perhaps when you started your blog or website, you picked a name that was relevant but limited in its capacity. For example, a webmaster who wrote about local pottery while selling his own creations chose portlandceramicdeals.com. However, as his site grew, he found that the geographic limitation of his domain name prevented others from recognizing that his site sold and shipped pottery to anywhere in the world. If your domain name is no longer relevant or is not living up to a growing, professional theme, then a domain name change could be a solution to rectify the problem.
Advantage – Multiple Pathways
If you are fond of your current domain but wish you could have an alternative, then you may wish to consider adding a secondary domain that redirects to your current website. Many businesses buy up several variations of a particular domain in order to have a grasp on their identity and the market. You can continue pinging search engines through your old domain while having multiple redirects that take visitors to the same page. There is also the potential of using varying domain names to redirect to particular sections of your site. This works well for webmasters who have content broken down by category or region.
Disadvantage – Lost SEO
If you decide to change your domain name with the intention of abandoning your current domain, then you may find that search engines will not know how to find you at first. Since most SEO strategy revolves around prioritizing content by domain, you could possibly experience a massive decrease in traffic for some time. This is one of the biggest turn-offs for many when it comes to replacing their existing domain. While there are workarounds to preventing a complete loss of search recognition when changing domains, it is still a fairly complex process and will require a decent amount of effort.
Disadvantage – Loyal Users Can’t Find You
If you completely eliminate your old domain and replace it with a new one, then you stand the risk of losing loyal users who do not know how to find you. While email lists and other forms of notification can mitigate this effect, there will always be some users who you cannot reach and therefore will not know about the changes. Many webmasters will leave the original domain up to continue pinging search engines while they develop their new domain’s presence. This may leave you asking, “Why should I bother changing it in the first place, then?”.