There are two most likely cases why you can answer “Yes” to the above question.
- You might want to do a rebranding for your company, where changing even the smallest detail should undoubtedly be also reflected in your website’s domain name.
- Your current name might become outdated, not clearly expressing the idea of your business and company.
Your case might be one of those mentioned above or something different (things happen). However, learning how to change your domain will benefit you in any case.
So, open this article in one tab and your website/domain registrars in the other. We’re getting started.
Don’t confuse changing a domain with transferring the domain.
Change and transfer might be synonyms in the English vocabulary, but not in the web domain’s terminology. Let’s clarify that point. Transferring a domain refers to moving your domain from one registrar to another registrar. In that case, absolutely nothing changes in your domain name and even on the website. Users do not see any difference. You just start cooperating with other registrars for domain registration, periodical renewal, and many related services.
We at Billioname provide any user with domain transfer services. We also prepared a detailed blog post for you on that topic in case you need assistance.
Change domain means taking the whole content and all the website information to a new domain. In this case, it’s up to you if you will change the domain registrar or acquire a new domain from the same one.
The magic of Add-on Function
One of the domain registration-related services is Add-on Domains. As simple as the name suggests, it allows you to add the domains to your current website later. Or, in a more technical explanation, it allows you to add a different domain to your subscription and redirect it to the existing website.
This function might be a bit costly in certain registrars, considering the level of security and convenience it provides. However, that’s not the case with Billioname. Here, we include the Add-on Domain in every, even free, package.
Consider that the next time you buy a domain.
How to smoothly change your domain name, meaning without losing traffic
Yes, that’s possible.
One of the primary risks of any website is losing traffic while changing a domain. The situation might appear worse to you because the older your domain is, the more traffic you get as search engines trust you more.
However, there are educated ways to move your content across domain names to protect what you gained with the old domain as much as possible.
The below steps are to teach you how.
Acquire a new domain
Your website content needs a new place to go. So, your first step should be acquiring a new domain name. Billioname’s endless list of TLDs and domain availability checkers will help you in that. Check the availability of your desired new domain and register it within seconds.
Backup your website
You need to extract and save all your website information precisely the way it is. That’s important both for not losing anything and for being able to successfully transfer the content from the old domain to a new one.
The latter part differs based on whether your old and new domains are on the same hosting service or different. If they are on the same, scroll up for the Add-on domain magic section of this article. Otherwise, export the website files and database, and upload them to the new hosting service. You can do this also by using migrating plugins.
301 Redirect is one of the essential steps in all the website moving process. By setting a proper redirect, users do not get lost when entering your old website. Rather, they get redirected to the new one. Similarly, when crawling your old website, Google does not find a missing or broken domain but discovers the new location of your website.
Otherwise, you can open a hosting account level in a file which is called .htaccess, and type there the below code:
Redirect 301/ HTTP(s):// [new domain]/
If you do not want to redirect the whole site, but only some sections of it, modify the code a bit to:
Redirect 301/ [the title of the section you want to redirect, such as “our mission”] / HTTP(s):// [new domain]/
Check internal links
By 301 Redirect, you solve the problem of external links, meaning if people click on any of your website’s backlinks on other sites, they will not get lost and will find their way to your new website.
However, there is also an issue of internal links. You should fix them. Otherwise, the internal links of your website will take to the old website’s non-existing sections. To avoid this, surf on your content and check the internal links to change them to the new ones. If there are not a few of them, use the broken link tracker to identify all the broken links in the new website which need to be fixed.
Communicate the change to Google
Considering that XML Sitemaps are the primary source that Google uses to crawl your website, it’s also the best place to notify Google about your changes. XML Sitemap is the main source Google uses to understand how different URLs are connected. So, updating your URLs there will be the first step to communicating your domain change to Google.
To complete the action, ask Google to reindex your website. In other words, ask it to pay attention to the changes you made on your XML Sitemap. After that, Google will identify your website content and start indexing and showing it in response to user queries. You can learn how to ask Google to recrawl your site in its official instruction.
Finally, communicate your domain change to those for whom you did that change. Your users should be all notified via email, social media, or other communication tools that your new website is available under the new address.