In the Social Media Age, You Still Need Your Domain Name

October 1, 2012 by  Filed under: SEO 

Recently the firm where I work met with a client with regards to their website development. While plans for renovating their site seemed to be going smoothly, we learned that there might be an issue in transferring their URL over to the new site. It turned out that the person who owned the business, while he had access to his old website, did not officially own the URL attached to it.

This is not an uncommon challenge in the website development business. Over the years, I have seen clients worry about the statuses of their sites because the work had been done previously by a relative, or a relative of a friend. Sites would sit in servers in somebody’s garage, or the business owner was too occupied with business that he/she let somebody else handle the online work. For many, though, that meant giving permission for somebody else to buy the domain URLs so they were never in the owners’ names. Often the results are predictable – a disagreement and ending of friendship leads to the domain owner holding the URL and possibly the site hostage.

If you have been in this situation, it’s important to do what you can to make amends in order to have ownership of needed domains transferred back to you. You don’t want to turn an uncomfortable situation into a hostile one, so if you are able to peacefully negotiate custody of your domain all the better for you.

In a perfect world, of course, you will have secured all necessary domains for your business in an account you can access. You may think, too, that because people are more likely to utilize social media to find the information they need that you don’t really need to worry about domains or even a website. Honestly, you should have a main site as a base that remains a constant for your clientele. While social media is a strong referral tool for businesses, tastes change over the years and you will constantly adapt to them.

In the last five years, I have helped clients shift focus from one social network to another. Five years ago everybody had a MySpace account. These days that site doesn’t appear on the radar when we draw up social media proposals. Facebook pages for business are still viable, but now we have sites like Google+ and Pinterest vying for attention. Video and images are popular in mobile sharing, too, so we do suggest businesses get into Instagram. Two years from now, though, I could be telling a client something completely different.

With a website attached to a domain that showcases your brand, though, you have a place where people can turn when social media is buffering or losing its appeal. People will always use Internet search to find the products and services they need, and it’s important for your URL and site to show in results. Don’t leave the domain registration and ownership to somebody who may not be involved in your business next year. Take the reigns.

Kathryn Lively is a social media writer specializing in articles on Virginia web design.

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