By Samuel Solis, Senior Internet Marketing Consultant
Before you have an SEO team or a paid advertising strategy or even a product or service to market, you first need to purchase your website domain. Step one for any business today is to purchase a domain that will best represent your business online.
So, it might come as a surprise that something so important would be forgotten and left to expire. When purchasing a domain, you have options in regards to how often you’d like the domain to be renewed. Usually it’s intervals of 1, 3 or 5 years. Some providers let you auto-renew as well, which is normally the best way for a busy lawyer, doctor or other business owner to go.
It may sound like there should be no lapses in renewing a domain with the options I’ve described above, but it happens to almost everyone. Some of the world's biggest companies with millions of dollars have allowed their domains to expire. Two of the most notable are Microsoft and the Dallas Cowboys.
What Happens When Domains Expire?
When a domain expires, your website is no longer live on the Internet. Usually the company from which the domain was purchased “parks” a page saying something along the lines that the website is down. So, when potential customers end up on your expired domain from an organic Internet search, an online ad or another marketing channel, they’re not going to see what they expect.
The worst-case scenario would be if your domain expired and a competitor picked it up. This could potentially ruin your business if you can’t get the domain back.
There’s a whole business model centered around purchasing valuable expired domains and then holding the domain ransom from the original owner. An expired domain can cost hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars to reacquire, and the disruption to your practice can cost you thousands more.
Proactive Domain Management
So what can you do to prevent domain expiration (and, worst, hostage-taking) from happening? There are actually quite a few options for protecting your practice’s online presence:
- If you work with a digital marketing company, chances are the agency can manage your domain for a small annual fee. This brings peace of mind that your domain won’t expire due to lack of renewal. When you work with Page 1 Solutions, this is one of services we offer to you!
- When you purchase your domain, select the auto-renew option so you can just set it and forget it.
- Instead of auto-renew, choose one of the interval renew options and then make sure you keep an eye out for the email letting you know the domain needs to be renewed -- don't ignore it!
For attorneys, plastic surgeons, dentists and ophthalmologists, domain management can be something incredibly simple and painless if you pay attention when initially purchasing your domain. However, as a digital marketer I’ve seen domain expiration happen a lot throughout my career. It’s apparent some business owners aren’t aware of how domain management works or some are just too busy to pay attention.
For this reason, it might be in the best interests of your practice website and your overall digital marketing to entrust management of your domain to an agency.