Why change your business domain name?
Have you found yourself in the position where you need to change your business domain name? Sometimes life takes you down a new path which means you need to change the direction of your business. This could mean a change of name, a new brand or rebranding. This will often mean, changing the domain name (or URL) of your business.
Having the right domain name (website address) for your business is so important. What happens when you get a new business name? This blog will talk you through how you go about changing your business domain name when you already have one established.
Firstly, you will need to purchase a new domain name. Then you will need a way for people to still be able to find you. If changing your business domain name isn’t done correctly it can cause an unnecessary mess. And even worse, loss of business!
I’m not going to lie, changing an established domain name isn’t easy (in fact, unless it’s absolutely necessary, I usually advise against it). Read on if you want to make sure your domain name change is as painless as possible.
Where to start when changing your business domain name
There are a few places you’ll need to make sure you update your domain name, and a few technical things you’ll need to do to make sure the process is as smooth as possible.
Website: Change your business website to your new domain name
This first step is making sure your business website is pointing to your new domain name. This step can be one of the most technical and challenging. If done correctly, it should be a smooth process. But if done incorrectly this can cause a lot of issues for your business. For those who are not technically savvy, we highly recommend outsourcing this job to someone who is (we at Brugel Creative would love to help).
There are a few things we recommend you make sure you do during this step (if you’re outsourcing this step, ignore this list and simply ask your developer to read this list).
- Update website domain: Launch or move your website to the new domain name. Here’s a great tool to help make changing your domain name in your SQL database fairly easy
- Redirect old domain: Redirect your old domain name to ensure anyone who visits it can easily find your new website.
- Update DNS: Update your DNS records (if you don’t know what they are, stay tuned for a future blog)
- Redirect old links: Ensure any internal links from your old website are pointing to the updated domain name
- Move file storage location: Enure all your website media files and other attachments are hosted at the new domain.
- Update Backlinks: Contact anyone who mentions your old domain on their website and ask them to update it to point to the new one to keep your backlinks up to date
- Update primary domain: Update your website hosting account to have the new domain as the primary domain on your account
- New XML sitemap: Create a new XML sitemap (see below details about Google if you don’t know why this is important)
Emails: Change your business email addresses to reflect your new domain name
The steps to changing your email domain address are different depending on what email system you use. Make sure you check with your service provider first. These steps are rather general in nature, but still a really important part in your domain name transition.
- Re-create all inboxes: You will need to create a new email inbox for all email addresses you want to be associated with your business domain. Eg: if you had [email protected], you will need to create an inbox [email protected]. (Note: Some mail providers, such as Google Workplace, will allow you to simply make an email alias with the new domain name, so you don’t have to completely create a new inbox.)
- Re-direct old emails: Once you have created all the new inboxes you will need to re-direct your old email inbox. This is so people who forget you have a new domain name can still reach you when they email the wrong address. You may also want to migrate your old inbox content so you don’t lose any of your previous emails.
- Update email signature: If you have an email signature, make sure you update it with the relevant new links. Check for any email addresses, website, social media handles etc.
- Update email address listings: Make sure you update your email address in any public business listings you may have and on your website itself.
Social Media; Update your domain name across all your social media accounts
If you have a business presence in any social media platforms, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest (and all the other channels I can’t keep up with), make sure you update your new domain name. Here’s a few tips to help you remember all the many places your domain name may be hiding:
- Change handle: Every social media channel has a “handle” (ours is @brugelcreative). Wherever possible, this handle should match your domain name. Ensure you update your social media handles to match your new domain as soon as you can.
- Update business profile: Check your social media profile (account settings). Then ensure you update your website and email addresses to reflect your new domain name.
- Update buttons/links: Find any call to action buttons set-up on your social media profile, such as a contact us button. Make sure you update the email or web address attached to these buttons to be your new business domain name.
- Change links: Ensure you update your website social buttons and also your email signature to point to your updated social media handles.
Google: Make sure Google knows your new business domain name
“Build it, and they will come”, said no one ever about a website. What is a website if it isn’t appearing on a Google Search Results page? Your old website may have been ranking well, and you don’t want to lose that – so these steps are extremely important to ensure your website traffic isn’t impacted by the updated domain name.
- Update Search Console: If you have access to your Google Search Console account, you will need to create a new account for the new website address, and then merge it with your old account. This will let Google know it’s the same business, and it will only rank the new address. This can take several days, so best to do it as a priority when you switch over to the new domain.
- Submit new XML Sitemap: The XML Sitemap you created in step 1 can then be added to your Google Search Console account. This will help Google to scroll your entire website and rank all the pages associated with it.
- Update Google Analytics: You will also need to update your website domain name in your Google Analytics account to ensure you can continue to measure traffic to your website. You will want to merge this with your old account so you don’t lose any of your historical data.
- Update Google My Business: Your Google My Business account will need to be updated. Remember to update both your website URL and your email address.
- Check SERP: Now, once you have made all these changes, a week or so later, Google your business and check the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) to see if you’re still ranking the same as you were before you updated your domain name – and also check your SERP is showing the right URL. Provided the steps above have been completed successfully, this step should be relatively straightforward.
Business Listings: Check all your online business listings have your updated domain
All businesses will have some sort of listing beyond simply their own website or on social media. This step may take quite some time for older more established businesses. We recommend keeping a database of all the various places your business is listed, to make steps like this simpler. If you don’t know where your business may be listed online, then start is looking on Google.
- Update ads/promotions: If you actively run any paid advertising or campaigns, ensure you update them to take people to the new domain name. You really don’t want to be paying for ads and people can’t find you.
- Update business directories: If your business is listed in any directory (like Yellow Pages), then you will need to update your business listings with your new domain name.
- Check Google: Pop over to Google and browse to find all the references to your old domain name. You will need to work your way through and update them manually. In some instances you will need to contact the website owner and request they update your Google reference.
Business Records: Update your official business information
Now that you’ve updated your business records where the public may find them online, there’s a few other systems you will also need to ensure you update with your new details. You will need to update all the various business systems you use, below are a few we’ve thought of for you.
- Update Business Registration: You will need to locate and update your business records. These will most likely be located in your ASIC business account, and also your MyGov business account.
- Update bookkeeping/accounting software: Remember any bookkeeping or other software used to help manage your business. You will need to login to any of these systems and update them to your new domain.
- Update payment portals: For any payment portals for accepting or making online transactions (e.g. PayPal or Stripe), you will need to login to update your business profile with the new information.
- Update printed materials: Also, remember to update any printed business materials. This includs items like business cards, letterheads, invoices, quotations, and any other stationary.
Need help updating your business domain?
Whilst changing your business name is time-consuming, it’s definitely worth doing when it comes to setting up a successful business. The brand and domain name of your business is incredibly important for both yourself and your customers. Once you’ve changed your brand, make sure you start telling everyone about it!
Hopefully, you’ve found this article useful. It will be a lot of work, but don’t let that put you off. Download our checklist to make the process as painless as possible. Good luck with your changing your business name, and remember not to panic if things don’t go to plan!If you need any assistance with changing your domain name, be sure to contact us at Brugel Creative.