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Pros and Cons of a Domain Name Change

Posted by on 03 October 2013.

Picking a domain name is one of the most important steps in launching a website and, more importantly, building your brand online. Not to put any pressure but you really do have to get it right early on. Otherwise, it would be difficult and costly to change it later. If you picked a highly unsuitable domain name, however, and it’s an imperative to get a new one, here are a few pros and cons you would have to consider:

Pros

Branding. Your domain name is a crucial part of your brand and as such, it has to be a good match for you. If you can’t make your current domain name work with your branding, then it’s better to change it now rather than get stuck with something you can’t use.

Better audience appeal. If you’re planning to expand or shift your target audience, then it’s worth the effort to change your domain name. For instance, you want to have a more international audience but you have a country code TLD like .sg. It would be a good move to get a new .com domain in order to appeal to potential customers beyond your home country.

Better site traffic. You can eventually improve your site traffic if the new domain name you’re getting is far better than the one you currently have. Does it have better recall? Is it shorter and easier to spell? Is it search-friendly? If all the answers are yes, then you’ve got a potential winner on the new one. You can’t expect a traffic spike right away though since it’ll take some time and a lot of effort to market your new domain name.

Cons

Additional expenses. A domain name change entails more than just a new URL. You’d have to redirect your old domain to a new one so as not to lose your current audience. This can entail added fees. You’d also have to launch marketing efforts to promote the new domain name. If you’re a business, this may also mean producing new brochures, catalogs, business cards, signage and whatnot.

Lower search engine ranking. With a new domain name, your ranking in search results would suffer. It takes time for search engines to recognize the value of the new domain. Even with a redirect, the value of the backlinks you may have earned with your old domain won’t be transferred to the new one.

More SEO work. With a lower PR and search ranking, you’d have to put more efforts into SEO and gaining backlinks for your new domain name. In a lot of ways, it can be like going back to square one.

Changing your domain name is a big move and requires a lot of consideration. If you must do it though, then it’s best to make this change early. Migrating to a new domain becomes more complicated and leaves you with much more to lose if you do so with a well-established website.