What is the art of managing domain names successfully? Domain names are your prized real estate on the web and securing and protecting your valuable domain name is essential. As the number of your owned domain name increases, managing domain names requires extra effort and advanced skills. Here are some simple tips to keep your domains fine tuned.
1. Activate autorenew – I always thought this was a smart marketing gimmick, but its actually useful as it ensures your domain names never expires unless really you want to let it go. What if you forget to renew, the reminder email goes in the spam folder and your domain transfers to a domain shark. I tie up renewals with a Paypal account and never worry again.
2. Consolidate renewal dates – If you own a few hundred domain names, over time they end up with variable expiry and renewal dates. Many domain name registrars provide an option to consolidate these dates together, by charging the balance fee of the remaining months. Now it is easier to renew these domains in bulk and you never miss out.
3. Protect your privacy – Your registrant name, address, email and telephone numbers are visible to anyone on the web. The domain registrars share this information with whois services by default, displaying contact details of administrative and technical contacts too. Try a whois search on any domain. Private domain registration services (like Domains By Proxy) ensure that your personal details are hidden and your privacy is secured. There are too many examples of how your personal information can be misused on the internet. Better safe than sorry.
4. Register long term – You want to keep your site running for the next five years, don’t you? Then why do you want to register your domain name for one year and keep renewing every year. Note that a domain name registered for 5 years displays more trust as a long term site with more weightage in search engine algorithms (godd for SEO) compared to spammy one year cybersquatted domain names.
5. Keep contact details fresh – when you shift your residence, change your phone number or email – you immediately intimate credit cards companies and banks, so why not inform your domain name registrar too. It takes a minute to update your contact details on you domain management screen, but is worthwhile. How will information reach you about reminders for domain name renewal, or prospective domain name buyers. Domain tasters are everywhere.
6. Monetize parked domains – You bought multiple precious domains in the hope of selling them later at a huge premium till that day arrives, earn money easily using a variety of parked domain monetization programs like Cashparking, Adsense for domains etc. and earn money while saving your domain for the final day.
7. Lock Up Domain Names – Locking your domain name prevents changes to the contact details and the nameservers and protects you from unauthorized third parties who might try to misdirect your name servers or transfer your domain. Always keep all domains locked. You can always unlock it in minutes when you need to transfer the domain yourself.
8. Test Domain Auctions – Why keep storing multiple domains when you can make lots of money selling it. If your domain is worth its value, you can test its market value. Set up a domain auction with a reserve price and maybe you can get much more from selling it than nurturing it over the years.
9. Solid Passwords – Your entire domain security is protected by a login password to your domain account. Chose a tough password difficult to break by simple password generators. Keep changing your password periodically. Login from trusted computers only and stay safe from keyloggers. Keep your eyes open for password phishing emails. Do not tell your password to anyone, and remember to logout.
10. Network your Domains – Have you bought multiple domain names with different TLDs like .com, .org etc to secure your brand presence. Utilize them all by setting up options like permanent 301/302 redirects, forwarding, masking, cloaking etc such that these domains finally make the visitor reach your target domain. Beware that overdoing and misusing these techniques for SEO with multiple domains can be penalized by search engines.
11. Consolidate Registrars – Its dangerous to keep all your eggs in one basket, but managing a few hundred domain names is easier if they are on one (or a few) domain management panels. If you constantly find yourself troubled with multiple domain registrars and renewal dates, consolidating your domain names will surely bring some peace of mind.
12. Look for Discounts – Never renew or buy domain names without looking for a promo code or coupon code, which will give you cool discounts. Simply search the web or coupon code sites like Retailmenot and you can get a much cheaper deal.
13. Earn affiliate income – Most domain registrars have an affiliate referral program where you can earn some extra money by referring more users to try their service and earn commissions, and if someone ends up buying hosting from them, the commissions are a good bonus. Even better is to become a domain name reseller or domainer for bigger bucks .
14. Bulk is Better – Remember that renewing or buying multiple domain names in bulk will get you advantage of special pricing and many coupon codes usually work at higher baseline cut offs – so you might save a lot of dollars. I renew domain names in bulk, even if they are not expiring to get a better deal.
15. Value your domain – If you are sitting on multiple domains, get a professional domain name appraisal to find your domain worth. Premium domain names with a clean history can attract serious buyers and earn some huge money if done the right way. Free domain name worth estimation tools use your Google PR, backlinks, Alexa rank, Technorati to give you a quick general idea only.
16. Backorder domain names – You will be surprised how frequently people miss renewal deadlines (especially if they missed this article) and your favorite domain owner might just forget to renew and heed the reminders. If you backorder the domain, it will be snatched for you the moment it expires and you might get your prize catch.
17. Hire domain brokers – Sometimes your wanted domain is parked and with no signs of missing renewal deadlines or you cannot wait for 10 months to backorder. Hire a domain broker (most registrars would do it), who will negotiate with the domain owner and try to get your desired domain name for you. It does not come cheap, but at times is worth the value.
18. Buy Premium Services – Though most owners will not need them, its worthwhile to check if you need business registration, SSL certificates, etc to establish your brand dominance, online security and reliability. Its worth the value if you are running an online business and need that extra trust to drive sales.
Follow these tips and manage your domain like a professional domainer. Your domain names are valuable, and you need to maintain them the right way to reap the benefits. We use GoDaddy to buy our domain names and recommend them. Share your domain secrets in comments.