Best Practices To Manage Domains

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As a part of our OI blog best practice series, we bring you the first in a series of articles about ways you can manage your domain strategically and efficiently. Establishing a few best practices is a great way to ensure your domains aren’t hijacked, expired, or cyber squatted.

Here are three domain management practices that can help minimise domain risk and ensure domain dominance.

Get serious about organisational structure

One of the most overlooked domain management strategies is the need for more organisation. The first thing you should do with your domain is identify the person or team who will be responsible for managing your domain to serve as your domain manager.

Your domain manager should be from marketing or operations, not the technical team.

Your domain manager is the ultimate brand gatekeeper and will be the point person for renewals, analysis, and any domain threats that might come your way. But more importantly, your domain manager creates, manages and safeguards your domain strategy. They should be trained on the fundamentals of domain management and ensure that nothing gets in the way of your domain representing your brand.

The domain manager will regularly review your domains, including capturing domains and their expiration dates. Other responsibilities include bi-annual domain reviews with the internal team to understand the domain’s value to the brand, future domains that could be needed as the company expands, and alignment with product and brand management teams to sync with future brand and product launches.

The domain manager will also need regular domain reviews to ensure compatibility with SEO strategy and any brand changes with brand managers. Having consistent and regular reviews to understand if your domains are still relevant will protect your brand down the road.

All of these responsibilities can be done by your domain manager or in partnership with your domain supplier, like Okens.
On the legal side of domains, there are other considerations such as trademarks, regulators and privacy of domain ownership.

One approach to side-step legal complications is to adopt a risk and cost-benefit analysis for your domains. Here’s an easy way to set up your risk analysis:

  1. Identify your risks
  2. Measure your risks, including the likelihood of them happening and the potential cost impact.
  3. Look at the solutions and implement reviews to understand if the risks have changed or if more needs to be done. Risk can include typosquatting, domain hijacking, regulatory pressures, drop-catching or domain sniping, issues from search engines, or someone deliberately taking the same TLD.
  4. Create distribution lists for notifications to ensure expiry/renewal alerts from the registrar are sent to several people. If you use personal emails as the contact email, you may miss alerts if that person leaves the company. Anticipate staff turnover and use a dedicated company email for domains with a distribution list.
  5. Monitor all your results. Repeat.
Get smart about security

With domain theft and other domain crimes on the rise, you have to think about the security of your domain now and what any future growth could mean to your domain strategy. This is the value of a risk analysis, which can show the gaps in your domain strategy.

Other security considerations are privacy by default or playing it safe from the start. There is value in keeping your details private from the public eye via WhoIs protection, but there is more you can do, such as understanding if you should keep your information away from the domain registries aka the organisations that control TLDs. It is essential that you identify your privacy goals from the public and the domain registry.

You can also ensure that domain transfers can’t just happen by accident, that registrar controls are in place and that all your domains are locked for transfer by default. You can spread the risk amongst several registrars if domains are high risk. Your domain manager or other authorised internal staff can ensure a risk profile in place for each of your domains that address regulation, privacy and content.

Create a well-oiled operational machine

Operations, support and financial efficiency come down to details. Some of these may sound obvious, but they’re the most overlooked when it comes to domain management and cause the most significant problems.

Ensure all the right alerts are set up for renewals on all our domains. Ensure you have 24/7 support from your registrar and fast transfer ability if your domain is at risk.

Set up your payment methods in advance and have a backup to renew your domain while waiting if you have to chase your boss for a credit card and sign off. Okens has a domain line of credit that alleviates the use of credit cards for multiple domains.

Another overlooked operations strategy is ensuring someone can sign off and move quickly without red tape. But if you need more knowledge or a team to help with these critical details, find a domain registrar to handle these issues for you. And last, be sure there is level 2 support with SSL and hosting knowledge to help troubleshoot if you need it.

If you have any questions about structure, security and operational strategy for your domain, reach out to our team at Okens and we will be happy to give you a free risk analysis for your domain.

Want to learn more? Go to www.okens.domains and see how we can help.

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