Owning a Domain is a must for individuals or companies wishing to grow their business online. There are different types of registrars or hosting providers that provide domain registration services or domain packages. As a result, one may register his first domain with company A, and his second and third with company B. Now the question is, should you transfer all your other domains to a single domain registrar?
Why transfer a domain?
The features of each domain company is different. We could figure it out whether they are reliable or not by seeing the features of the domain company. Thus, if you are not satisfied with your registrar/hosting company, you may just switch it to a different one.
There are also more things to consider when you are looking for a new registrar:
The features and services are open for everyone who register a domain. The features included are web hosting, privacy protection and email. When you do not enjoy all of these features and services, you may think of transferring your domain to another domain company that may offer you better packages. It is also important for you to look at how the features and services are priced and implemented in order to compare the features.
Price is an important feature for the domain owner as the price that is offered by each of the company may be different. Some of the domain companies may have additional charges on the services that are considered critical while others may offer the same services included in the package without any additional charges. Thus, some of the domain companies may offer a low price for the first year but with a higher renewal rate. In this case, if the current domain company that you had registered has a higher price as compared to others, you definitely would like to search for other companies that could provide a lower price for registration.However, you should always remember that the price itself may not justify the transferring of your domain. Saving some of the extra charges or choosing the cheaper package for the domain name is much less valuable than having a domain registrar that is suitable for your needs. So, it is important for you to consider the pros and cons whenever you want to register it.
- Changes of ownership
If you are considering changing the ownership of your domain — either from you to another person or another person to you, you will need to do a domain transfer. For instance, your employee had registered your domain under a personal account, you may want to transfer the domain to an account that is maintained by your business. Other than that, if you choose to transfer the domain to the other registrar, you also need transferred ownership of the domain.
- The way to transfer easily and safely
It is very easy for you to transfer your domain as there are so many registrars out there. However, you also have to make sure that the process of transferring the domain is safe and secure. In this case, all of the registrars will have some useful features in common to ensure that transfer is safe and secure.
- Confirmation emails: This could help you to make sure that you are transferring your domain to the right person and this could verify your identity and enhance the security of transferring the domain.
- Authorization codes: The code that you get the permission in order to access the process of transferring the domain from one registrar to another. This code is also known as the ‘EPP codes’ or ‘Transfer Codes’.
- Transfer locks: It could help you to prevent your domain from being transferred without your knowledge and to ensure that your domain is safe all the time.
If you need to spend an hour on the system interface just to set up their domain name, this means that the platform is not a user-friendly platform. In today’s digital world, having a user-friendly system is important because a user-friendly system can respond quickly. Thus users will transfer their domain to another registrar when they figure out that the system is not easy to use for them.Slowly, this has become the primary feature or service that the individuals or companies consider before they transfer their domain to another registrar. Beginners and the existing market users would also like to manage their domains on an easy to use platform. Many prefer to pay the extra charges for a user-friendly platform as this will make it easier to navigate.
- Customer Support
Good customer support is a must for a company to provide for their customers. As a customer, you might not need to use it all the time but you definitely want it to be available whenever you need it. The support team must be responsive and helpful enough. It is because when the customer support team is not effective enough, your domain will hang in there and stay in offline mode for some time and it will directly affect your brand’s online presence. Then, your customers may exit your website and leave without buying or seeing any kind of products or services. This shows that the longer your website is down, the more customers will leave. This is a major concern for individuals or companies that operate their business online and has a high traffic. Now you can see why 24×7 customer support is really important.
When you want to transfer a domain, the name servers for the domain could not be changed. If your domain is already hosted with a DNS provider that you could use and trust, this means that you are using a good DNS. However, if you are using name servers which are under your registrar, then you would need to switch or transfer to DNSimple’s name servers before your domain starts to transfer as they mostly will turn off your DNS records either during the transfer process or after the transfer completes.
Has your domain been registered for more than 60 days? If so, you can transfer your domain. Thus, your domain must also be unlocked before you start the transfer.
Other than that, you should also know about the step of migrating your domain before you transfer your domain to another domain company. There are 4 key stages or steps that you should know:
- Knowing when you will need a domain migration
- Pre-launch: Planning a migration
- Launch: Going live with your own new domain
- Post-launch: Monitoring your migration
Knowing When You Will Need a Domain Migration
Rebranding is one of the common reasons for domain transfer. The changes of domain will reflect a new brand name and this could potentially present a problem for both the search engines and visitors of your sites.
First, what is your audience reaction? If your audience is bouncing away from your site, they probably will bounce into the arms of competitors. This will not only affect your position in the eyes of Google but your sales will also be affected directly. In this case, making sure that your visitors know that they are in a familiar place is important.
Then, search engine Google will also notice the changes of the brand — it will look at how often a brand is mentioned and searched for. So, if you are considering transferring your domain, you should definitely focus on building a new brand’s reputation and transferring the existing authority as much as possible.
Changing or transferring a country-specific or an international domain
Individuals or companies will employ a domain migration — changing from a generic domain (.net or .biz) to anything which is more geographically specific.
Some of the companies or individuals will choose to use the country domain (example: .sg, .tw) aka country-specific top-level domain (ccTLD). This is because these domains are preferred by many sites and are more appealing to the local market. Thus, a country specific top level domain can also make the page or website look more professional and approachable as compared to more universal domains like .com.
Furthermore, if you are running several different domains and wish to move or transfer them to a single top-level domain (TLD), you can combine them to attract customers from different countries into one universal home. After that, you could also create an individual language content within this larger site (example: example.org.kr/uk).
Pre-launch: Planning a Migration
In this step, you must be sure that transferring the domain is the right move. So, you should start your migration plan.
You don’t have to be intimidated while doing a site migration. By having a plan and gathering all of the useful data before the new domain is launched, you are on your way to success. In other words, if no one is visiting your new domain, it’s not going to be a success.
- Check the history of your new domain
You have to make sure that you know all about the history of your new domain before you start. Was it used before? Was the content removed? Any backlinks? Is there a manual penalty?
- Verify your domain in the Search Console
Google’s Search Console will give you detailed info on what it searches or filters about your website and it is free! It also could help you verify your domain.
- New domain should include a holding page
A single page will introduce a new brand or the brand that will be launched soon. In this case, search engines will recognize it when a parked domain becomes live. It is because it has the presence that could recognize and remove the one that has the potential delay to the transferring of your rankings.
- Audit the current sites
By using the Search Console, any errors that had been identified will be fixed prior to migration.
You also should look for the existing redirects, references to pages that do not exist (404 errors), and the reported soft 404 errors. You will need these for mapping your websites later. In this case, you have to decide if any old URL that causes the errors should be redirected or marked as removed.
- Benchmark current performance (rankings)
There are two parts that you will need to put your attention on in order to know how successful the migration has been.The first part is you have to measure the rankings and the visibility that your site has right now. Tools like Sistrix, SEMrush, SearchMetrics and so on are the apps that could help you to track your performance. Google’s Search Console also contains a lot of data on the visible keywords, although you just can download a limited number of it only.
You should take note of the URLs that are ranking for your most important keywords; if you are using rank tracking software to monitor your target keywords.
- Benchmark your current performance (traffic)
This will be the second part that needs your attention — benchmarking the current performance of your content. This is to find out which pages are the most important pages that drive organic traffic.You could create a spreadsheet using your analytics package data to record the visits, conversion, bounce rates, sessions and anything else important to your site for each of the URLs.
In this case, you don’t need to record data for years into the past, and this could also ensure that you get a large enough sample to be meaningful. Tools like Sistrix, SEMrush, SearchMetrics and so on are the apps that can help you track your organic impression and clicks.
- Check Google Analytics tagging
Tagging of Google Analytics is seamless and fully retained on the new domain in order to maintain data. You have to check the developed version of the site before it launches. You also have to make sure that important elements such as GA code are kept even though it is on the same website.
Launch: Going Live With Your New Domain
At this stage, several important elements have to be implemented so that you can spot anything that’s going wrong and keep you in control.
- Launch the new domain
You just need to publish your website on its new domain (which will look very similar to your current site but with updated internal links).
- Open up the new domain for business
Remove password protection, meta robots no index tags and the line will not allow access in the robots.txt file. So, everyone can crawl to your site and see your content already.
- Use Google’s Change of Address tool
There are many features which are called the Change of Address tools. It will tell Google that this domain has been moved. In this case, you will have both domains to verify it. You could refer to the second step to know about the details of verifying your site with the Search Console.
- Google will check out your new domain
In the Search Console, you can use the Fetch as Googlebot tool for the homepage of your website and most importantly URLs. First, you have to make sure that the page has been split correctly. After that, you could use the Submit to Index Option for the URL so that you could request for Google to index the page.
- Test your redirects
From your crawling tool to the testing phase, you could enter the list of all URLs from the old domains that you owned before and use them. By using the crawler software, you have to make sure that each of the URLs are redirecting to the new domain successfully.If your software allows it, then you should check for redirect chains in order to see how many redirect of each request has been sent through before landing on the final URL.
- Check, rename and annotate Google Analytics
You just have to go to your Google Analytics profile and use the Real Time reports to ensure that your analytics are working correctly. Other than that, you also should add an annotation to note when the migration of the domain has launched. Thus, the rename of profile and the views is important as it is appropriate to see what the impact is on your traffic.
Post-launch: Monitoring your Migration
After the previous stage, your new domain is live and the migration is completed. This will be the last step for you to do your full set of domain migration.
- Create the fresh links to the new domain
By creating fresh links to the new domain, it can encourage search engines to crawl the new domain and also boost its authority. Thus, the new links will be found and crawled by Google.
- Crawl the websites for errors
You have to check your new domain regularly in order to see if there are any errors or issues experienced by your visitors or search engines.
- Check the rankings and visibility of your domain
You could use the benchmark in the planning stage in order to monitor how well the ranking of your new domain is for your target keywords. Another useful way is to use visibility tools to see how it is performing overall, and to compare it to your old domain. Once all of these are well, you will see a crossover in your charts as the new domain replaces the old.
- Traffic and Sales
In particular, you have to pay attention to the individual URLs that performed well before. Do you see a comparable performance pre and post-migration? Although most migration will experience certain turbulence, this can be resolved if you have been diligent in the process. This is the best chance for you to see it return to normal as soon as possible.
By following the aforementioned steps, you can ensure that your current visitors and potential customers will have a great experience, and their expectations reached with your websites. Thus, no matter which channel they use to access, they will be taken to the right content and site if you manage and follow the steps well.