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Four Important Factors to Consider Before Letting a Domain Expire

Four Important Factors to Consider Before Letting a Domain Expire

A lot of companies register a variety of domain names, not just the domain address for their primary website and corporate email, but also other domains that are like the primary domain.

Think through these situations, and I’m sure you’ve registered at least one domain in one of these categories:

  1. You own the “.com” domain but you also want to register the .net, .org, .info and .ca versions.
  2. You have a shortened business name and a full version — for example, wordjack.com is your official website and you also register wordjackmedia.com.
  3. You once registered a domain name for a promotion and promoted that to a specific audience (for example wordjackspecialoffer.com).
  4. Your website was once addressed at a different domain name, but you rebranded or moved to a new domain and now the former domain is just an extra.

Now you might have a situation where your annual renewal is due to be paid and you’re debating whether that domain is still useful to you. Here are three things to consider before you let that D\domain expire:

  1. Past Use of the Domain

Is this a domain that you’ve ever communicated to people in the past? Could it be included on some printed material or a bookmark someone has kept, or a link from another website? If so, try to estimate the impact of cutting off those potential referrals to your website, even if they may be minimal.

  1. Your Domain Has Been Indexed By Search Engines

Is there any remaining evidence of the old domain in the Google index?  To test this, go to google.com and type in site:domain.com. For example, if you were looking up wordjack.ca, type “site:wordjack.ca”

Search Engines

 
Any pages that show up here may have some value to you, even if they don’t currently take users back to your website.  You can create redirects to each of these indexed pages back to your website to add some traffic referral or small SEO value to your primary website.

Another way of thinking about this is that even if you don’t think it’s valuable to you, the fact that your pages are indexed may be a value to somebody else. Always assume there is a business out there trawling for expired domains and purchasing them if it believes there is sufficient value in that domain’s history or indexed pages. And then ask yourself how would you feel if another business became the owner of that domain and started trading on the value you have created. You can prevent that by renewing the domain, but you can’t control it after you’ve let it go into someone else’s possession.

  1. Protecting Your Brand

Think about whether the domains you register are more about brand protection and stopping someone else for using your business name. Anyone can easily register an available domain – even with your name in it. This specifically relates to all those .com, .net, .org, .info and .co-type variations. Sure, you own the trademark for your business name and you can probably win a legal case over a potential future imposter, but you might want to avoid that hassle completely.

  1. What Does a Domain Cost, Overall?

Finally think about all of the above and whether the ~$15 it costs to renew the domain for another year might save you some potential headaches in the long run. I looked up 3 domain registration sites to give you an idea of that cost for 1 year based on their public pricing for a .com domain as of today:

GoDaddy – $12.99

Namecheap – $14.45

Network Solutions – $34.99

Even at the high end, you’re not spending a lot of money. But if you register many domain names, you should obviously transfer the registration to a lowest-cost provider or ask your registrar about a multiple-domain discount.

A Quick Recap on How Domain Registration and Renewal Works

Just to clarify, as a domain owner, you have the right to that domain and everything it’s used for, within the period of your domain registration. You have the first right to renew it at the standard price your registration company determines.  As long as you pay that annual registration, no one has a right to it but you. But if you miss your expiry date, the domain goes into a redemption status.  Typically this is 60 days, and the registrar may allow you to renew it during that time, but they will charge you a premium price for you to do so (e.g. they might add a $100 penalty fee to the normal registration). Once that redemption period has elapsed, then your domain is available on the open market for anyone to purchase. It may get purchased the very day it’s available, or it may remain unregistered and never be purchased.

The bottom line is, once you let it go, you no longer have control over who owns that domain and what that domain is used for.

If you’re grappling with this decision, your WordJack web marketing manager can talk you through your options to help you arrive at the right decision.

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