Sometimes we all need grounding – or, re-grounding. After spending months with clients who are well beyond the basics, and into coordinated social media/app, targeted marketing and customer service (which is FUN), it was a reality check to go over some other accounts and a new client, and realize, they need to go back to the starting block.
In our world the domain is key. The basic food groups are top level domains – your .com, .net, .org, and let’s add in a country domain like .ca. Doesn’t really matter if it’s a company, event, location, product name, or – and this is where I know peeps will rant back – your personal name. We live in a media environment where even the most ethical, professional journalist (or citizen journalist) will instantly ‘search’ a name if it comes up for a potential story, and equally potentially, use the information provided. The most ardent will ignore a Whois search, and simply ‘blog’ any message. So what, you say..
If you think simply owning the .com will protect your ass, get real. A simple question, would you go away for a weekend and purposely lock all your doors except one (or maybe two or three, and leave a note ‘this door is open’)?
Essentially that’s what happens when you register a domain for your brand, whatever that may be… you leave the door open for others to grab an alternative suffix, and use it however they wish.
Own the brand. Take control. Your domain names are you, and should be controlled by you, and you alone. Too many companies, organizations and personal brands leave it up to fly-by-night webmasters to register their domains and handle hosting along with web services. What happens if they go bust, or get hit by a bus?
A decent cred level for any branding company – have they asked if you own ALL top level domains? If not, lose them, and quickly. They obviously don’t know SEO, or branding.
There are plenty. Most are crap. Consider what you need with a registrar – then look at what they offer, and costs. As this blog is for local Victoria BC, my consideration is for a Canadian owned company, that has years (if not decades) in business, and offers a full range of automatic services, with an easy interface. There are notable registrars, like Network Solutions, which not only charge a huge premium for annual domain costs, but also cost for basics like url forwarding and DNS tools, or GoDaddy: far cheaper, but their customer service ( and practice) is less than desirable. The aforementioned are US companies.
One option is to use the ‘accredited’ list from CIRA (the .ca certification organization – although, I would give them a pass as well). In the interest of not getting sued, and fairness: on that list there are two companies I would heartily recommend, and two I would avoid like swine flu. So much for our Canadian solution to network neutrality – as of this date, CIRA does not work in the best interest of Canadians, or Canadian companies.
Protecting Your Name
Through a credible registrar, book the top level domains – yourbrand.com, .net, .org and .country – that is the basic. Own them yourself, not under some other company. Your domains are your name, your brand, your identity.
Whatever domain you create to be active on the web, as a live website, your other domains can easily forward, and ‘silently’. In other words, if your active domain is yourcompany.com, the .net, .org and .ca can (and should), be active on your behalf. The registrar I use has DNS fields to ensure FWD domains can not only have silent fowarding, along with unique title, keyword and description tags – that is a huge advantage in competitive markets like travel and restaurants.
What does that mean? You can achieve 4 search engine listings for the price of one active domain, and if a potential client types in the incorrect url (.com vs .ca) the true website comes up without any interrupting windows. Check it now, are you achieving that?
Own Your Domains, Don’t let them Own You – simple consult.