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Domain Basics, Domains

Need a shorter version of your domain name?

Business is good. Really good. But there’s something that’s been nagging you: your subpar domain name. 

When you originally developed your web presence, you chose a longer domain name than what you wanted. Why? Do any of the below scenarios ring a bell?

  • The ideal domain was already registered, and you didn’t have the budget to acquire it.
  • Another business was using the domain you wanted and wouldn’t sell it.
  • You couldn’t figure out who owned the domain you really wanted.
  • You thought your domain should be more descriptive, so you registered a domain like exampleInsurance.com or exampleAuto.com instead of example.com.

Now, you’re tired of customers accidentally emailing you at the wrong address because they forgot part of your domain name. You’re tired of spelling it out for them over the phone. It’s time to upgrade the domain to something shorter and more straightforward.

Shortening your domain name

There are two main ways that companies shorten their domain name. An obvious one is to acquire the same domain but with fewer words.

For example, say your business uses the domain name exampleonline.com or exampleinsurance.com. A shorter domain choice is example.com.

Another way to shorten your domain is to acquire an acronym or initialism. Can you imagine if IBM used the domain name InternationalBusinessMachines.com? Any business with two or more words can shorten it by getting a domain with its initials.

Short acronym domains can be expensive, but there are options, such as adding online or another suffix to your domain, e.g., XYZonline.com instead of XYZ.com.

One thing to avoid is shortening your domain by dropping vowels or using obscure abbreviations. This just adds to the confusion.

Acquiring your new domain

There’s a big obstacle standing between you and your new domain: odds are, someone else has already registered it. It’s time to get crafty and negotiate for your domain.

There are several ways to buy an already registered domain name:

  1. See if the domain is listed for sale on a major domain marketplace. Namecheap has integrations with the two largest domain marketplaces. If you search for a domain at Namecheap that is listed for sale on one of these marketplaces, you will see a notice that you can buy the domain through Namecheap.
  2. Contact the domain name owner. You can sometimes get their contact information in Whois or by typing in the domain name to see if it has contact information or a contact form.
  3. Hire a broker. This is a smart move if your business is growing quickly. A domain buyer broker like Name Ninja can act as a go-between so the domain name owner doesn’t know who is trying to buy their domain. They will also determine the best way to contact the domain name owner and how much money to offer for the domain.

Putting your new domain to use

Congratulations! You managed to acquire a shorter version of your domain name. Now, how do you put this domain to use?

If you’ve been running your business for years, there are two significant obstacles to using your new domain.

  • Email is the first obstacle. You’ve been using email addresses like ashley@longerdomainname.com. That’s how customers contact you, and it’s hard to let everyone know about your new email addresses right away. To solve this problem, set up duplicate email accounts at your new domain name and forward any mail for the old addresses to the new ones.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the other obstacle. Switching domain names isn’t as simple as just changing where your site is uploaded. Search engines like Google have indexed your content on URLs that will change. Other websites have linked to your old domain, signaling to Google that you have valuable content. Changing your domain without preparation could result in lower search rankings and lost business.

    Because search rankings are very important to businesses, many choose to continue using their original domain for their website and using the new domain as a forward. They keep longerdomainname.com active and forward example.com to it. This requires the least amount of effort, and you can still promote your new domain name to customers. Namecheap offers free domain name forwarding to make this a cinch.

Are you frustrated with your long domain name? Make 2021 the year you finally upgrade. Register your new — or upgraded — domain at Namecheap.

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Andrew Allemann avatar

Andrew Allemann

Andrew is the founder and editor of Domain Name Wire, a publication that has been covering domain names since 2005. He has personally written over 10,000 posts covering domain name sales, policy, and strategies for domain name owners. Andrew has been quoted in stories about domain names in The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, New York Times and Fortune. More articles written by Andrew.

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