You are showering, driving, or maybe baking and boom a new fantastic idea hits (the greatest ideas come when you least expect them)! You want to dive right into your new business venture, and one of the first steps is a website.
First things first, you have to look for a domain name. The domain name is an essential piece of your company and needs to be simple, striking and memorable. It is the first impression may get of your brand. Maybe you haven’t even started your company yet, but just a catchy business name alone, no judgment. That’s awesome! As time passes you build your company, you build your brand and you build your website. Each represents your hard work and lots of time. Things are moving along and then you get that feeling... that horrible, sinking feeling that you have forgotten something. Did you remember to renew your domain name?
Domain name renewal is not just important, it's crucial.
Once the website is up and running it is easy to get into a system. Blogging, updating events and adding content is so important to keeping your site current. It is easy to forget, however, some of the more mundane tasks, like renewing your domain name. This is especially true if you bought the name for an extended period of time, it is easy to forget when your time is up.
No matter what type of site you have, when your domain expires, it’s gone. If you’re lucky and act fast when you notice your site is down you may be able buy the domain name back. If not, someone might have seized the opportunity and claimed your domain name already. In some cases, opportunistic people will attempt to squat on these domains in the hopes of a big payday when the right business figures it out. This is why we recommend auto-renewing your domain name so you don’t even have to think about it.
If you forget about domain name renewal... other people can take advantage.
Of course, there is always someone who forgets to renew with spectacularly disastrous consequences.
- Remember FourSqaure? In 2010 everyone was checking into foursquare on their phones to score a free latte at their favorite coffee shop. The company had raised 10 million in funding and theu were valued at nearly 80 million! While this app was extremely popular, someone forgot to renew the domain. Their site went completely offline causing a lot of problems for businesses and customers. Luckily someone caught the mistake quickly and acted soon enough to claim it back.
- From 2012 to 2014, Heinz ran a Fundorado contest where ketchup lovers could design their own bottle label. To get more information, ketchup bottles had a QR code that contest entrants could scan and take them to the contest page. In 2015 the contest expired and another company began using the domain for its…. porn site! This is one of the worst case scenarios that unfortunately did go viral on social media.
- The most recent viral boom on a domain name fail is JebBush.com. Since the presidential candidate did not register his own name as a domain name, someone swooped in and purchased it. The URL now redirects to Donald Trump’s website. While it’s not clear if Jeb ever owned JebBush.com, according to WHOIS, the domain was registered in 1997, and updated in October 2015. Regardless of the cause, this has been a big black eye for the campaign and the candidate. It only goes to show, political figures should always renew and buy their name as a domain. Businesses can learn from this mistake by registering and holding any domain that is ancillary to their brand.
Besides this worst case scenario cases, what else could happen if you forget about domain name renewal?
- Your customers won’t be able to find you online. This means that they will not have access to your site which means no conversions and lost sales.
- The brand that you have worked so hard to build up will be lost. Or in worst cases, your brand may be commandeered by someone less than favorable.
- SEO is linked to the length of time a domain is registered. The longer a domain is registered the better your SEO. If you lose your domain you instantly lose and SEO quality scores associated with it.
- If you lose your web domain and can't get it back, you will need to change all your email addresses. Existing email addresses will be no good, and your contacts won't know how to reach your business. Your customers won't know how to reach your business.
The consequences are pretty steep for such a small thing. With all this in mind, set up auto-renew for your domain name and be worry free!