When we talk about websites, it’s their design and performance, the wow factor stuff, that typically gets the spotlight. And that makes sense! The look and feel is the most visible element of your site – the one that grabs users’ attention. But there are also several less visible components that keep your website running smoothly… or running at all.
Your domain is one of the most vital pieces of your website’s ecosystem, and yet, it often goes overlooked as something that needs to be managed, protected, and cared for. The reality is, taking time to give your domain the TLC it deserves is a critical part of keeping your website – and your brand as a whole – protected.
If you play a part in keeping your organization’s website functioning and thriving (business owners, marketing departments, sales departments, IT, and legal, looking at all of you), it’s important that you know the ins and outs of your domain. In this blog, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about understanding and managing your domain.
What is a domain?
A domain is the address, or name, used to indicate a specific web page on the internet.
If you’ve ever started a new business or run a campaign that needed a new website, you probably had to claim an available domain name of your choice (likely your business name .com, or something along those lines). For example, our domain name is madebyspeak.com – has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?
The domain name that you and web users see is a string of text that can be typed into a browser window to connect to a particular website. How this works behind the scenes is that that string of text directs to an IP address, which is a unique identifier that keeps track of who is doing what on the Internet at any given time.
Brief Internet lesson aside, here’s the stuff it’s important for any domain owner or website manager to understand.
What does your domain control?
Your domain is arguably the most important piece of your online presence — a protected domain is your first defense for keeping your brand protected.
Your domain not only controls who can access your website though – it can also control who can get to your email, blog, forms, and any other online content you manage.
How are domain names registered and managed?
Domain names are managed by domain registries. When a new website is created, a domain name can be registered with a registrar to secure it. However, it’s important to note this common misconception: when someone claims and registers a domain name with a registrar, they have not purchased that domain name from a seller. Domain names are all owned by registries and can only be leased by users.
To learn more about how domain names work in layman’s terms, check out this article on Everything You Need to Know About Domains.
Now that we know exactly what we’ve got when we’re dealing with a domain, let’s talk about how to keep it secure.
How to keep your domain name secure
It’s important to be sure you know who registered your domain and that your registration is kept current. This is key to making sure you stay in control of your domain – and all of the content that’s posted on it that you’ve worked so hard to build.
Once you’ve registered your domain with a registrar, the registrar will notify you when your domain is about to expire. You’ll be prompted to renew in order to ensure you don’t lose your domain name.
Keeping up with your domain’s expiration date and responding quickly to renewing your registration is a massive part of keeping it secure. Some untrustworthy registrars will take quick advantage of expired domain names by buying them the moment they expire, then dramatically raising the price before reselling them back to the original registrant. For this reason, it’s also important to do your research before choosing a registrar to avoid dishonest practices like these.
Managing multiple domains
Many businesses opt to purchase other domain names closely related to their primary domain name. For example, if a car wash company’s main domain name is nashvillecarwash.com, they may also opt to claim domains like nashvillecarwash.net, nashvillecarwash.co, and other similar names.
Being able to set these URLs up to reroute to your actual website not only saves you from potentially losing out on traffic, but it also strengthens your security measures, as phishing websites and cybersquatters may attempt to use these unclaimed domains to fraudulently trick your customers.
We recommend considering registering other general top-level domains (gTLDs), especially if you’re a large company, or have a commonly misspelled or mistaken company/domain name. You may also consider registering various country code domains like .uk and .us.
But registering multiple domains means you’ll have a large list of domains to manage and keep protected and secure, which can feel daunting. Consider tapping outside help from a web agency to help you with domain management needs like domain renewals, managing your umbrella of domain names, maintaining the security of your website, and conducting ongoing audits of your domain list to regularly add or remove new or unwanted domains.
Getting assistance with your domain management
While domain management isn’t overly complex, it can feel like a drag, especially when you have a large portfolio of domains to keep track of. Fortunately, when you work with an agency like Speak, we’ll help you with handling the registration of your domain name, making domain renewals, and web hosting so you get that time back.
If you’re looking for help or advisement managing your domain or domain portfolio, we’d love to help. Speak offers our partners robust website hosting along with our website design and development services. We’d love to chat about how we can help you succeed in your web marketing endeavors.