How To Change The Domain Name Of An Existing Site

Michael Gargiulo - CEO, VPN.com

By: Michael Gargiulo, CEO at VPN.com

Updated: 1:48 مساءً ET الجمعة, أغسطس 28th 2020

Change your domain name.

A relevant, memorable domain name can help improve your branding, SEO, memorability, and ultimately drive more users to your website. 

Having common terms or a popular key phrase in your domain can improve your website’s ranking with search engines and legitimize your brand to Internet users.

But what if you didn’t use your best judgement at your site’s inception? How do you change the domain name of an existing site?

Thankfully, it’s not difficult. Here’s how you can easily change your site’s domain name — and why you should consider it.

Why Is Your Domain So Important?

Your domain is the foundation of your brand’s online presence. It’s the first thing that comes to people’s mind when they think about your site, and in many cases it’s the name of your business. If it’s not, it’s just as important.

A powerful domain name will clearly describe your website, stand out over the competition, and be easy to remember. When creating a website, choosing the domain is the most important factor affecting overall success.

A feature of domains that makes them inherently valuable is that they’re finite — there are no duplicates. So if you’re an apple salesman, having apples.com would give you a clear advantage over your competitors.

Creating a unique name that performs as well as the exact-match domains owned by multi-million dollar corporations can be difficult, and is another reason why it’s important to know how to change your domain name.

Is It Worth It To Change Domain Names?

When you change your domain name, you will lose the status your site has built with Google and other search engines. If you’ve spent years building up your website with high quality content, backlinks, endorsements, and steady organic search traffic, you may not want to put in the work to get back to where you were.

However websites change and evolve, and your domain name may need to reflect that growth. Perhaps you’ve overhauled your brand or invested into another sector. It may be necessary to change your domain to accurately depict your evolving site.

In other cases, your website may be new or simply not performing to expectation. Changing your domain can be the spark necessary to get your site traction.

Regardless of your situation, always give your site a full evaluation before considering a domain change. Ensure you aren’t being hurt in other areas, such as SEO, site structure, or your user interface.

How To Change Your Domain Name

Most web hosting sites give easy to follow instructions describing how to change your domain name yourself. As long as the name isn’t already registered to someone else, that is.

How To Change Domains In WordPress

  1. Sign in to your dashboard.
  2. Navigate to Settings -> General.
  3. Change the URL to your new domain name.
  4. Update the wp-config.php file.
  5. Save and upload the changes.
  6. Test your new domain on another device to ensure the change was successful.

Advice For A Smooth Domain Name Change

  • Make sure you have legal ownership of the new domain before attempting to make a change.
  • Fully back up your website before starting the conversion process.
  • Install a FTP client to ensure that all of your web files have copied over to your new domain.
  • To clean up site links that may direct users to your old domain, access your old site via FTP and look for the .htaccess file. Add the following code:
    1. #Options +FollowSymLinks
    2. RewriteEngine on
    3. RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.example.COM/$1 [R=301,L]
    4. Once completed, update your links using the Google Search Console.

Do I Need A Broker To Change My Domain Name?

You likely won’t need a broker to change your domain, but you may need one to secure your new domain name. It’s never a bad idea to enlist a professional to help negotiate a better-fitting domain for your site. If you have any questions about the transition process, they can answer those as well.

Our team of brokers specialize in getting people the best prices on high-end, exact-match domain names. We’ve spent years honing our skills on behalf of our clients and would be honored to help you improve your website.

Don’t underestimate the impact a powerful domain can have, evaluate your site to determine whether you should change your name.

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