The quest for the best domain names: how should you handle a domain change?
Maybe you’re not getting the online traffic that you’d like. Or maybe you’re ready to push to become even more dominant in your space. Or maybe you now have the money to purchase a more competitive domain name. In any case, it seems logical that having the best possible domain name is at least one key part of maximizing your profits online.
But, how do you know when it’s time to switch to another domain?
Jeffrey Braverman was intimately involved in the decision to switch the domain name of the Newark Nut Company from NutsOnline.com to simply Nuts.com; you can read the details in this New York Times article. Here’s how it worked out for him, at least in the short run:
“The site, which had been averaging more than 30,000 visits each week from nonpaid Google searches, with traffic rising 5 to 10 percent a month, suffered a 70 percent decline in nonpaid Google traffic in the two weeks after the switch. Almost three months later, it was still down by more than 50 percent. The decline, Mr. Braverman said, cost the company at least 100 to 150 orders a day.”
How do you make your own domain change decision?
List the pros (benefits) of making a change, as well as the cons (negative aspects). In Braverman’s case, a benefit was that Nuts.com was an easier domain name to remember, one that people tended to think was the URL of his site, anyhow. It also gave him a chance to rebrand his company online. A negative aspect was that he dramatically lost traffic, which means that he also lost sales.
It’s likely that you’ll have similar pros and cons in your list, so your challenge is therefore three-fold:
- Should I make a domain change?
- Of my list of the best domain names, which represents my company best and provides the most appropriate cues to search engine spiders?
- If I decide to make the change, what is my timing?
If you decide not to change, then the subject matter is closed and you continue to build your business in other ways. If you decide that you do in fact want to change your domain, then it’s crucial that you establish a reasonable timeline, one that allows you to:
- Select the best time of year to make the switch; as just one example, if holiday traffic makes up a huge percentage of your annual sales, then you’ll want to make the change shortly after the new year, to avoid losing sales in the current year and to give yourself enough time to recover in Google before the next year’s holiday time arrives.
- Conduct the research needed to choose the best domain name for your site; this process should include, at a minimum, keyphrase research and usability interviewing.
- Improve any areas of the site architecture that need bolstering; as one example, make sure you have enough time to conduct the keyphrase research needed to craft the most optimal URL names.
- Consult with your SEO firm to talk about methods to mitigate traffic loss. Do this BEFORE you make any changes. Afterwards, it may be too late.
Are you thinking about a domain change?
If so, please share your reasons in the comments below. Need help with your domain change? Contact The Search Guru now!
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