8 domain name ownership tips for your web design clients

Making it worry-free

Dealing with domain names can be a daunting task for your clients, especially if they are unaware of the subtleties of the domain management process. Domain name ownership requires a bit of knowledge in order to keep everything running smoothly and maintain a secure site.

Related: DNS records — A beginner’s guide

Follow these domain name ownership tips

Whether you’re working with first-time domain owners, or those with well-aged domains and websites, consider offering these tips to make their domain ownership as worry-free as possible:

  1. Don’t select your registrar based on price.

  2. Consolidate your domain portfolio.

  3. Enable auto-renewal of your domains.

  4. Renew for several years at once.

  5. Register domains in your own name.

  6. Keep your domains locked.

  7. Pay for privacy.

  8. Keep your domain contact information up to date.

Let’s look at each tip in detail.

1. Don’t select your registrar based on price

Sound bite: No matter how attractive it might be, don’t select a registrar based on low price alone.

Selling points

Perspective: Registrars won’t all charge the same amount, but the difference is small, compared to the overall cost of the website project, so other factors play a role in the decision: consider customer support, responsiveness, and their full set of product offerings.

Process: Time spent on the phone with technical support can far outweigh any cost savings. For an item which runs on average between $10 and $20 per year, realize that just 10 additional minutes of your time on the phone with support will eat up any cost savings found via a cheaper registrar.

Related: How much does a domain name cost? and How to select a domain name registrar for your online venture

2. Consolidate your domain portfolio

Sound bite: Having all of your domains with one provider has important business and security advantages.

Consolidating your domain portfolio (and other products and services) means you can better manage all domains from one account, reduce the number of people who have access, and deal with one provider instead of many.

Selling points

Simplicity: With everything in one place, you can better manage all domains from one account.

Efficiency: Multiple registrars means remembering more logins and understanding different processes. Dealing with one provider simplifies support, billing and administration.

Security: Fewer vendors, accounts and logins means your domains will be more secure, in terms of who has access.

Continuity: If you ever sell your business, having all domains together makes a change of control easier.

Expertise: With all domains in one place that you trust, you know you can contact an expert who can solve all issues.

Domain Name Ownership Coffeeshop

Pro tip: All of the same points apply to consolidating multiple services with the same vendor. Why stop with domains, when you can consolidate hosting, email, SSLs, email marketing and more? Just replace “domains” in every point above with “products/services.”

Related: How to manage DNS and hosting for client WordPress sites

3. Enable auto-renewal of your domains

Sound bite: Auto-renewal helps ensure that your domain stays yours.

Selling points

Peace of mind: Auto-renewal relieves you from remembering when to renew, and avoids the challenges of manual renewal or recovery of an expired domain — which can be expensive, complicated and time-consuming.

Risk of missed communication: While we hope registrars notify customers of soon-to-expire domains, it’s also possible that email renewal notifications will land in your junk folder, get delivered to the wrong person, or even pass by unnoticed.

Pro tip: When credit cards are changed, be sure to update any vendors where auto-renewal has been enabled.

4. Renew for several years at once

Sound bite: “Set it and forget it” — and avoid worry about losing your domain.

Selling points

Peace of mind: You don’t have to think about renewal for a long time.

No potential financial loss: Even if you transfer your domain to another registrar later, the registration time paid for is not lost.

Fewer deceptive solicitations: There are folks who figure out your domain registration renewal date and send you phishing messages implying it’s time to pay them. If you accidentally pay someone other than your registrar, that money is lost. With a far-in-the-future expiration date, they don’t bother trying to scam you.

Related: How to protect your business from phishing scams

5. Register domains in your own name

Sound bite: You wouldn’t let someone else register the license plate for your car, put their name on your house deed, or be a cosigner on your bank account. The same logic applies to your domain name.

Selling points

Long-term reliability: Your friend, child, neighbor or web pro might say they are doing you a favor by setting up the domain name. Problems are likely to occur when they are no longer around to help, or forget to pay the renewal bills.

Challenges recovering control: The process to resolve domain ownership disputes can be time-consuming and difficult. Avoid it completely by insisting on owning your domain.

Related: Why getting a domain name is a startup essential — and how to do it right

6. Keep your domain locked

Domain Name Ownership Lock

Sound bite: Do everything you can to prevent unauthorized changes to your domain.

Selling point

Discourage bad actors: The process to transfer your domain from one registrar to another requires that the domain be unlocked, so this provides a bit of extra protection, should someone try to hijack your domain name.

Editor’s note: GoDaddy keeps domains registered through our company locked to keep them secure. Locked domains can’t be transferred to another registrar or account. When you make changes to a domain’s settings, such as updating nameservers or contact information, we automatically unlock and re-lock the domain name. If necessary, here’s how to unlock a domain.

7. Pay for domain privacy

Sound bite: Starting at less than $10 per year, the cost of private domain registration is a bargain.

Selling points

Protection: This is an easy way to protect your personal information. There’s enough data in a WHOIS domain record for someone to be intentionally malicious.

Avoid unwanted solicitations: Having your personal information available with your domain is an open invitation to salespeople, con artists, spammers and more. They’re especially eager to go after owners of new domains, offering SEO services, social media marketing, content optimization and more.

Prevent domain hijacking: Even with following tip No. 6, hiding your personal information makes it that much more difficult for someone to get key information that could help them hijack your account.

Related: How to protect your domain name

8. Keep your domain contact information up to date

Sound bite: Any changes to a domain (including renewal or transfer) will need to use the contact information associated with the domain, so keep it current.

Selling points

Security: Outdated contact information means someone might have access to your domain who should no longer have it.

Continued access: With out-of-date contact information on a domain, the chances of being locked out increase — for example, if the contact is a former employee and there is no longer access to their email.

Pro tip: If you receive a remind-o-gram from your registrar to check and confirm that your contact info is up to date, do it!

In conclusion

Let’s recap my favorite tips for helping clients ensure worry-free domain management:

  1. Don’t select your registrar based on price.

  2. Consolidate your domain portfolio.

  3. Enable auto-renewal of your domains.

  4. Renew for several years at once.

  5. Register domains in your own name.

  6. Keep your domain locked.

  7. Pay for domain privacy.

  8. Keep your domain contact information up-to-date.

Keeping domain ownership free from strife isn’t difficult when you keep these tips in mind — and share them with your clients!