Domain Name Tips

I get asked about domain names all the time, so I’ve compiled a list of tips for you on domain names that may save you some money. Here they are, in no particular order:

When aging is valuable

  • If you have a domain that has been used for many years, keep it. Google ranks older, continually used domains much higher than newer ones. (This tip overrides all other tips.)

Domain name extensions

  • Do not waste money on extensions other than .com. Do not bother to get .info, .net, .org, etc.
  • A few of you have .biz and .net sites and those are OK, but I don’t normally recommend them. I recommend you get a .com domain even if it’s a bit longer. You can suffix your business name with llc, online, inc, or other words and still get your business name with the .com extension. But don’t change your domain if it’s got any age on it at all (see rule #1)

Multiple domain names

  • We can only optimize one domain name per website. Many of you have multiple domain names pointing to one website, and that’s fine, but Google will only let us optimize one domain name, and for us that’s the base one that your account is under. There is no point in buying a bunch of domains other than your base one.
  • There is one exception to the above rule and you should always own your name, as in

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Where to register your domain

  • Our first choice is GoDaddy. It’s simply the easiest for us; it takes the Office 365 email records which many do not, and it’s super easy for us to change your DNS records (Domain name server; where we point your domain to your website on our servers) when we need to. We have recommended Namecheap in the past and that’s fine too, but GoDaddy is the easiest.
  • Our least favorite place for you to register your domain: Yahoo. Network Solutions. Anywhere we have to submit a ticket to support to do DNS maintenance.

Your domain should be in your name, not your webmaster’s

  • We’ve just seen way too many horror stories where webmasters disappear and the domain owner doesn’t have a clue how to get control of their domain. Never let your webmaster register your domain for you. You domain account should be in your name. You should have the password and other account credentials printed on paper in a safe place where you won’t lose them. This is a very important asset, almost like a house title or car title.
  • Keep your domain contact information updated and your email address current. We recommend you use an email address that is NOT your domain email address (Comcast, sbcglobal, Verizon, gmail, Hotmail, or the like). Because if something happens to your domain, your domain email will go down and it will be very hard to retrieve it.

Should I transfer my domain name to GoDaddy?

  • Only if it’s in another person’s name. You should have you own account.
  • And yes, I’d love it if all my Yahoo people transferred their domains to GoDaddy, but it’s up to you.
  • Transferring a domain is tricky. You first need to unlock it at the current registrar and make sure your email address is current. Then create an account at the new registrar and initiate the transfer. Look for several emails and do everything in their instructions. They will include things like authorization codes that you’ll need to paste in your account to allow the transfer to proceed. If you want us to transfer your domain, we’re happy to do so for a flat fee of $75.

Annual updates

  • ICANN requires all domain holders to update or verify their contact information annually. We’ve had a few cases where domain owners didn’t do this and lost their domain. Pay attention to any ICANN notices you get from your domain registrar and follow those instructions.

Should I make my domain private?

  • We don’t recommend this. It’s a huge hassle to move it, cancel it or anything else.

If you need a new domain

  • Try to get as close to your business name as you can. Use llc, inc, or online if you have to in order to get the .com.
  • If possible, include keywords like tax, accounting, and bookkeeping in your domain. You can also use your city too. Avoid using generic domains like unless it’s your business name because it is not personalized enough and makes you look like a commodity. I like it best if your name is part of your business name because that’s required for most CPAs and just looks more professional.
  • Do NOT include words that are trademarks of other companies (like QuickBooks). This is illegal.
  • If you live in TX, HI, and a few other states, watch the use of the words accounting and accountants if you are not a CPA. Only CPAs can use those words in certain states.
  • Do not abbreviate words in your domain (except for llc, inc). Use compete words if possible. is much better than
  • Don’t worry how long your domain is. Most people won’t be keying it in from scratch anyway.
  • Don’t get a new domain unless you have to. Older domains rank higher (see #1).

Domain scams

  • Be careful of domain scams. You may get a letter asking you to renew your domain. If you are not sure, email a copy to us and we’ll let you know if it’s legit or not. Do NOT pay it. We’ve had several people lose money on these scams in the early 2000s, not so much lately.
  • The newest scam is an email from China about using your business name. China is quite unique; there are no copyright laws, and in fact, it’s the opposite there. Students and people are encouraged to copy the work of people they admire. I found this out the hard way the year I taught Asian students at a community college when they submitted papers that were copied from the internet word for word. They were paying great respect to their masters, while they earned a failing grade on the paper because they did not know our custom. So ignore any emails from China. You can’t do anything about it anyway.

Selling domains

  • Instead of letting a domain expire, one alternative is to sell it. GoDaddy and other vendors broker domains for you. Unfortunately, I do not have a lot of experience in this area. I just wanted you to know it is a possibility. Some domains are worth a lot of money. One of my nonprofits owns That domain is worth a lot of money – far more than its $10 annual registration fee — if the chapter ever wanted to sell it.

Hope that gives you some ideas on saving time and money with your domains.