Domain strategy – Increase the value of your company with the right domain names
Do you have an updated and documented strategy for your domain names? Have you ensured the best possible protection for your digital brand?
By proactively protecting the right domains, you minimize risks of being exposed to fraud or infringements that can damage or dilute your brand.
Every single domain in your portfolio should add value, by driving traffic or protecting the digital brand. In order not to own unnecessary domain names that add no value, you can map your domain holdings. This is best done based on where you stand today, but also where you are planning to be in the future. Are there domains that can be terminated? Are you missing business-critical names that might be of importance for your business in the longer term? Are they taken? If so, can they be acquired?
These questions help you create a clear strategy around which domain names should be kept, acquired, or registered, and at what stage. Don’t let anyone else get access to your digital brand, it can be very costly.
An unstructured domain strategy can even be seen as a risk factor by potential investors. Therefore, use a partner who knows and understands the market, and gets to know your business and your needs.
Ready for expansion?
Are you a company that operates on a single market, but have plans to expand and go international? Then it’s important to have a strategy in place before you introduce with your expansion plans externally, to ensure that no one else registers your name for malicious purposes.
If you want to operate internationally from the start, a .com address can be quite essential. Therefore, if available, make sure to register your brand name as a .com domain before proceeding. If it’s already taken – consider acquiring. In addition to the .com-domain and ccTLDs (country code top-level domains) in relevant markets, you should map out your needs for other domain names, for example for specific brands or product names that have or will be launched.
In addition, you should focus on the markets where you operate or want to enter in the future. Here, it is important to think long-term. Explore the possibility of country code top-level domains in the markets. You ought to have the local domains in place before expanding. The domain you use when targeting local markets can affect how your website performs.
Who is the legal owner of the domain names?
Having the right owner set on your domain name is a critical aspect of your domain management – It is quite common that the domain was registered by a person in the IT department, using their details, who has now quit his/her job. Alternatively, a web agency or distributor is put as legal owner. If something happens, it is the person who is the legal owner who has the right to the name, and also the one receiving important information from, for example, registries. To minimize risks linked to ownership of your domain names, ALWAYS list your company as the legal owner of your domains. It is therefore of great importance to have depersonalized ownership information and inboxes with shared responsibility. So that nothing falls through the cracks.
Having total control of your domain names means creating the right conditions for growth while protecting your brand, avoiding unnecessary costs and administrative burden.
Monitor – Domain Watch
In addition to having a clear strategy over which names you should own in order to create maximum value from your portfolio, one of the most cost-effective complements is domain watch. Once you have created a domain portfolio that benefits your business goals and protects your interests, you should monitor everything outside of your portfolio.
You then monitor how your name is used online and can act in case of possible infringements immediately before too much damage is done. It is a good way to counter digital crime such as email fraud and phishing.
A domain strategy should be in sync with your overall strategy, marketing plan, and business. So that your domain holdings reflect the journey you are making with the entire company.
The process can differ from company to company, but usually, the following steps are part of it:
Step 1: Mapping the current situation
Step 2: Workshop (2 h), in which it is suitable for all involved parts on your side to participate. Usually, these are representatives from the Marketing, IT, and Legal departments.
Step 3: Strategy & Policy are developed based on steps 1 and 2.
Step 4: Review and possible adjustments of Strategy & Policy.
Step 5: Running updates of Strategy & Policy – should take place yearly, at a minimum.