Buying a domain name is a big moment for any business. It’s saying to the wider world that you exist, and this is how you can be found. But despite your good intentions when buying a domain name, it’s possible that it might not get used in the first year of having it, or in the hustle and bustle of running a business, you may forget to renew it. A recent study conducted by .IE revealed that 50% of first-year registered domains don’t get renewed.
There are lots of reasons why this can happen – you haven’t had time, or you haven’t found the need for a website, or you haven’t had a chance to set up a branded email yet. We’ve heard all the reasons. But controlling that domain is important – it is one of your most important business assets, and even if you’re not using it when it’s time to renew, you should absolutely renew it because the cost of losing it will be so much more than keeping it.
Here’s a breakdown of all the reasons why you should renew your domain name every year on time:
1. To protect your intellectual property rights and prevent others from using your domain name. You’ve built your business and your identity; it belongs to you. But a domain only belongs to you if you register it – anyone else can register it and use it. If you let it expire, it goes back on the open market for anyone to buy.
2. To maintain your search engine rankings and online visibility. If your domain expires and your website goes offline, the search engines will remove it from their databases. Any search ranking equity you had would disappear and be hard to rebuild even if you renewed the domain and brought everything back online.
3. To prevent someone else from registering the same domain name. Security is a very important aspect of running a business. If you let your domain expire – someone else could set up a website in your name and begin stealing customers or committing fraud. They can set up an email address and then take control of any of your online social media accounts because they’ll be able to reset the passwords with access to the email address. While these illegal actions can be stopped and prosecuted, they’ll do a ton of damage until they’re sorted out.
4. To maintain your online presence and credibility with customers and clients. Having a website and a branded domain email address gives you authority and credibility with customers. If you lose your website or your email address, customers and clients are not going to have the same respect for your operations. Doing business, especially for large amounts of money, with someone with only a Gmail address does not inspire confidence.
5. To avoid the hassle and expense of rebranding or changing your website’s domain name. If you lose your domain and brand, and someone else takes control of the domain, then you’ll be faced with having to potentially rebrand your company and start all over. This is an expensive prospect, requiring tons of admin, like paperwork, new logos, new websites, etc. You’ve already done all that work; why do it all over again for not renewing something that only costs a few euros a year?
6. To ensure that your website remains secure and protected from cyber threats. As we mentioned above, it’s easy for a threat actor to take control of your domain if it expires and then do nefarious things with it that you will have little control over. Phishing is an ever-present problem in online business; don’t contribute to it. There are examples out there of major companies that had a small oversight that meant an important domain didn’t get renewed, which led to a disaster for their customers and the security of their names.
7. To maintain your investment in the domain name and any associated website or online assets. You’ve spent a lot of money on your website; don’t let it go to waste by not renewing the domain name. Even if the business is struggling, it’ll be struggling a lot more if the website goes offline and your email stops working.
8. Prevent others from doing what they want it. Someone else may register the domain name if you let it go – and start using it for their own business. Or they may do nothing with it at all – but refuse to sell it back to you – and there won’t be much you can do (beyond filing a WIPO UDRP copyright claim, which is expensive, and you may lose).
9. To maintain the online identity and reputation of your brand. This is probably the most important aspect. Your customers expect you to be online, so you should be. If you let your domain expire, someone else could use it, and you would have no control over it.
10. To ensure that your website remains accessible and functional to visitors. Some people may not realise that you need to renew a domain every year to keep your website working. If you let it expire, your website and your email will stop working fairly quickly, depending on the registry. Can you afford for your email to stop working? Your website? Any downtime is lost revenue.
So, don’t ignore those emails from your domain registrar telling you that you need to renew your domain. Set up auto-renewal if you have to (here is how to do it in your Blacknight account), don’t let one of your most valuable business assets slip away. Get it done!