Friday, September 11, 2009

How many years do you register a domain?

If you've had your business online since 1999 or before, this topic may not be of great concern to you. 

However, I do know that there are many out there who have no idea how long a domain name should be registered. The truth is there's no strict rule that says you must register for more than 1 year. Of course, there are deals available that offer discounts based on the number of years you choose to register. 

It's likely you will pay less if you register for more years. In a slow economy, saving money can be a real treat. What you may not know is registering your domain for more years (paying upfront for 10 years rather than only 1 year) can help you secure the respect of the search engines. Why? As I do when consulting my clients; let me tell you a short story to help you understand the logic: 

Here goes... 

All those with the gift of having two good working eyes have seen small business owners driving around town with magnetic signs on utility trucks, SUVs, and all car types really. Now with this in mind, let's say a perfect stranger pulled her (Nene) vehicle next to yours at pump #7... As you stand there pumping your gas, you notice a magnetic sign on Nene's car that reads Financial Planner, Take The Cap Off Your Income! Call Today! Your first thought might be that Nene might have a special strategy for helping you take control of your finances, right? Well, this may be true. However, there is another question. That question might be: Magnetic signs are not exactly a big commitment. I mean one could keep a stack of magnetic signs in the trunk and change town-to-town or state-to-state. Sounds a bit like selling snake oil. You want to conduct business with a company that shows a real commitment - a company that appears to be stable. Now before some of you get your shorts in a knot... I do know that there are perfect reasons and situations where/why a magnetic sign should be used over something better (vehicle wraps, etc.). But what I'm talking about here is the Internet where you can start a company in 5 minutes and dissolve in an additional 5 minutes. So the risks are much higher. Unlike Nene who can have a brief discussion with and ask for her business card, such options are not available online. 

So here it is... 

Let's replace Nene with the name of your business and I'm a search engine trying to determine the worthiness of your company. If you're a business with a domain name registered for 1 year. I might assume that you are new to the world wide web and you don't think you'll be around in 366 days. On the other hand, you may be a business with a domain name registered for 5 years. This might tell me that although you could be new to the world wide web, you may have a plan, you may have joint commitments, you may be in a joint venture or you've planned to keep your information available for a decent amount of time - I can index your company in my listing and not worry about house cleaning for at least 5 years.

You may also want to consider registering multiple domain names to:

  • Keep your competition from registering a domain name that draws customers to them instead of you.
  • Promote the different products and services you offer.
  • Drive more traffic to your Web site.
  • Enjoy more opportunities to market to, and be listed on, search engines.
  • Create distinct advertising strategies that reach different target markets.
  • Provide customers more ways to find you when searching the Internet.
  • Capture common misspellings of your domain name, instead of sending visitors to an error page.
  • Protect your brand and online identity from those who may have unsavory purposes.

That's it. 

You can save money when you register your domain names with longer terms and be seen as a company with a commitment to your product, services, and existence. 

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