Managing Your Domain Names—Refresher Course for eCom-Business’s 101
If you own an online business, chances are that you also own several domain names pertaining to your online name or branding. Whichever the case, domain name management, just like brand management, is not without its problems, especially if your domain names are registered at several different domain registrars, have different expiration dates, pricing, and your accounts at these registrars have different user IDs and passwords. Sometimes it can be hard to keep track of all this information even with a single domain name, and the higher the number of domains, the more difficult it can become to manage them properly.
We thought we would just provide a few tips on domain name management here for you since it’s the beginning of spring, meteorological spring that is and have YOU gotten on top of the management phase of your eCom domain names?
Register and Take Control over YOUR Domain Names:
One thing you need to keep in mind is that domain name registrations are a fairly simple process, it’s not something you should let others handle for you especially that, as the owner of your domain name, you should have full control over its management, and the first step in the management process starts with the registration itself!
If you’re the one handling registration, you’re also less likely to lose access to important information such as when the registration was made, at what registrar, how much it cost, etc. Letting your employees handle this without you having any control over your own domains can cause you a lot of headaches, especially if that particular employee will no longer work for your company one day.
Remember, close friends or partners one day can sometimes result in some unavoidable bad blood and you do NOT want to be held hostage for ownership of your domain name if your online presence is overseen by someone else who you have parted ways with. This can only compound the difficulties in the renewal process down the road.
Consolidate your domain names
If you own more than one domain name at different registrars, remembering account access information can be quite the hassle. Advanced domain portfolio management tools like Domain Punch, Watch My Domain, or DomainCentral allow you to consolidate all your domains, and monitor, update and renew them in a single place. Domain name consolidation is also useful for times when you have to make changes across the board, for example, refresh WHOIS information for multiple domains at the same time. A domain management tool also makes it possible to have an overview of important information regarding your domains such as the registrars you’ve purchased them from, renewal options, expiration dates, and other information that can help you better manage your domains.
An easy at hand reference is to keep an excel spreadsheet going that you can constantly update as your main backup source, just so you have a handy resource available to you that lists your various domain names, who they are registered with, costs per term and expiration dates. This I would keep, even if you use one of the services above. And Yes, I am a backup Freak when it comes to knowing what I own and want to keep control of!
Register for Multiple Years
If you usually go with the default one-year registration offered by domain name registrars, you need to always carefully monitor your domain’s expiry dates to avoid losing your domain. A better way of “locking” your domain name is to register it for multiple years. In this way, you don’t run the risk of waking up one day to an expired domain. By registering it for multiple years, you don’t have to worry about domain renewals or price changes. Alternatively, you can turn on the auto-renewal feature, which will make sure your domain name will renew automatically. It’s also a good idea to add a registry lock to your domain, thus preventing unauthorized transfers. Domain registrars, however, usually keep domains locked by default to keep them secure. The other benefits of registering for multiple years is you can usually get a better price because of the longer term.
Familiarize yourself with WHOIS
The authority in charge of domain name registrations is the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which requires all accredited registries to comply with WHOIS database requirements. This means that every time you register a domain, your registrar is required to submit your information to the WHOIS database, which is a public directory that returns information about a domain name or IP address, including registrant contact information (address, e-mail, telephone numbers, etc.), billing information, technical contact information, name servers, expiry dates, etc. for a respective domain. WHOIS is your friend, get to know the INS-and OUTS of how the program works and you will be better for it.
WHOIS Privacy Services
If you’re worried about such information getting publicly available, it’s good to know that you have access to WHOIS Privacy Services, which allow you to mask your personal information and avoid their exploitation by spammers, direct marketers and identify thieves. Thus, instead of your data becoming public in the WHOIS database, queries for your domain name will no longer return your personal information. Domain registrars usually offer privacy protection services, so if you want your personal information masked, choose a domain registrar that offers this service.
Update your contact info
Make sure your contact information is always up-to-date. If your registrar can’t contact you, you risk missing out on important information about your domain. Whether it’s a reminder about your domain expiring or information that you need for unlocking your domain, if your e-mail address that you registered with has been disabled, you will have troubles with renewing your domain or unlocking it. To avoid issues like this, have a system in place to always check if your contact information is up-to-date.
Choose a reputable registrar
Choose a domain name registrar that has built a good reputation over the years, and it’s accredited by ICANN. A good registrar values privacy and security offer’s 24/7 customer support, comes with a user-friendly dashboard or interface for quick and easy domain name management, and offers complete control over your domain’s management (e.g. domain locking/unlocking, domain auth code access, advanced DNS configuration, and editing, etc.). Registrars like Namecheap, GoDaddy, iPage or BlueHost are a few examples of reputable domain registrars that will make it easy for you to register and manage your domains.
As you can see, domain name management is not a complicated process, so there really is no reason why you shouldn’t do it yourself. If you run into problems or difficulties, you can always ask for the help of your registrar’s support team. Taking control over your own domain portfolio and taking the necessary steps to safeguard your old and newly purchased domains should be as important as any other brand management measures you apply. After all, without your domain name your corporate website, online store or blog will not be able to be up and running.
Bottom line is, it’s worth it for you to a little searching and investigating and compare services against each other and then use the chat feature or make the phone call and speak directly to the account managers and by their tone of voice, you should be able to determine which service is right for you. Remember, your domain name is YOU don’t let ownership fall into anybody else’s hands but your own.