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3 things to consider when changing your domain name

by Michael O'Laughlin July 2, 2021
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Is it OK to change a domain name? We get this question from clients from time to time, especially if their organization is undergoing a rebrand, name change or about to merge with or acquire another company. Whatever the reason, there are a few things to keep in mind before pulling the trigger.

  1. Redirects can be set up, but they may not last forever. You can set up a 301 (permanent redirect) from the old domain to the new domain. You can also leverage Google’s Change of Address tool to migrate your Google Search results from your old site to your new site. This is crucial because the SEO value from the old URLs will then be transferred to the new URLs. However, it’s important to note that, even with the redirects in place, eventually the old domain may go away–and with it, all the redirects. Taking the time to update your content with the new domain can help offset this risk.
  2. Changing domains involves and affects more than just SEO. It’s almost like getting a new credit card (with a new number) after losing your current one. You have to make sure to change that number in a bunch of different places. In the case of changing your domain, you’ll want to make sure to update all of your content, email addresses and SSL certificates with the new domain. Additionally, if you have any subscriptions tied to your domain, like web fonts or subdomains, don’t forget to update those as well. There may be more changes you’ll need to consider making as well. It’s best to start with a review of everything using the existing domain.
  3. The change could trigger additional updates. It’s important to keep other teams in your organization in the loop and work with them to help you determine additional impacts or other necessary changes so you can be proactive. We recommend connecting with IT at the very least, but also think about other places or materials that might reference the current domain, and put a plan in place to make updates accordingly. This will ensure the transition is seamless, and that your internal and external audiences aren’t negatively impacted. At the end of the day, the goal is for them not to notice at all!
Michael O'Laughlin

As Director, QA & Managed Applications, Michael is responsible for delivering One North digital experiences to clients and creating both web applications and custom data integration solutions. Michael’s favorite Chicago spot is the United Center, watching the Hawks in the playoffs.

Favorite movie quote: “Great moments…are born from great opportunity. And that’s what you have here tonight, boys. That’s what you’ve earned here tonight. One game. If we played ’em ten times, they might win nine. But not this game; not tonight.” – Miracle

What you wanted to be when you were little: A firefighter

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