Before you can build a website, you have to have a domain name. This is essentially your online address, just like the address of your flat or house. It’s where people go to visit you on the web and is unique to you. Generally, you can buy a domain for a year or more at a time and simply renew it before it expires if you want to keep it longer. Once you own your domain name, no one else can publish a website at that address. But keep in mind, you only own this right for as long as you continue to renew the domain.
When you own a business and consider your website a sales tool to connect with customers online, someone else taking your domain can be disastrous. Customers expect consistency and develop brand loyalty when a company provides the services they need where they expect them, and when they expect them. If you need to change your website URL because someone purchased your domain name after you let it expire, your customers’ expectations will not be met. It’s bad for user experience, branding and SEO, and should be avoided at all costs.
Fortunately, many of the largest domain registrars will offer automatic renewal of names. While some people may feel they have better control of their budget by deliberately purchasing their domain name each year, auto-renewal offers plenty of benefits that make it worth considering – especially if you don’t want to risk harming your online presence.
People are busy, especially those who are trying to run their own business. Days are filled with constantly growing to-do lists that pull you in seven different directions at once. For this reason, many individuals use auto pay for some of their most critical subscriptions. For example, water, power and phone services need to be paid every month, but it takes time to visit the utility website and manually submit payment – or worse, review charges and send a check through the postal services. Even if you have a moment to do so, it can slip your mind in all of life’s craziness, which means you may forget to complete the payment before it’s due.
Having key subscriptions on auto-renewal means that these payments won’t get side-tracked and you won’t lose the service or incur a cost for payment delay. The same applies to your website domain. If you use auto-renew, your website will not be taken down and your users will consistently find you where they expect you to be, without you having to take an extra step or spend more time to keep things running smoothly.
Peace of mind
Forgetting to make a payment on normal bills can mean missing out on your favourite television programme, getting mobile services shut off, or losing electricity. In the digital world, the consequence of not paying for domain renewal is having it go back on the market and potentially losing your website. For an established brand, personal or professional, this can be disastrous.
Take this example: A smart engineer founded his company at the beginning of the .com era, but the .com he wanted wasn’t available. Thanks to the WHOIS database, he was able to check the domain registration details and put a reminder in his calendar of when that domain would expire. Lo and behold, when the expiration date hit, the owner forgot to renew, and the engineer purchased it. This was great for the engineer, but not so great for the original owner who now had to consider alternative options, not to mention lose some of the traffic the existing site had built up to the new domain owner.
Whether you choose auto-renewal of your domain name or prefer to manually control it, communication with your registrar is usually part of the package. As set by the rules of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, registrars have to contact you at least twice about renewing your domain name before its expiration date. When it’s time to renew your domain, most services will send you an email or postal reminder letting you know when your name expires and the cost to renew. If you are set up for auto-renew, the communication will act as a confirmation that the designated amount will be deducted from your credit card or bank account on a specific date.
In many cases, the registrar will also send communications regarding updates and details of your subscription throughout the year. Just because your payments are made automatically, doesn’t mean you will be out of the loop. As long as you keep your contact information updated on your account, you will always be in-the-know when it comes to your domain name and its status.
It’s not a lock-in
When you receive the notification that your domain name is set to renew automatically, it’s not a done-deal.
Some registrars will let you adjust your settings within your online account, which may include the ability to cancel auto-pay. Most companies can help you stop your subscription through their customer care lines as well.
Automatic payment options are commonplace these days thanks to their convenience and consistency. Not having to worry about remembering to make a payment, paying penalties for late payments, or losing service is a much-desired blessing. Take advantage of auto-renew of your website’s domain name for an easy way to keep your website – and business – running without interruption.