What is your domain audit score?


It’s all too easy to let your domain name strategy fall down the back of the filing cabinet.  All businesses start out with a few domains, but as they grow and push into new markets, develop new brands and acquire new businesses, domain registrations slowly increase in numbers.  Over the past few years numerous new TLD launches have seen brand owners scramble to secure their digital presence and adding to their existing domain portfolios.  With the impending launch of the biggest reset of the internet, now should be the time to have a good look at what is in an organization’s domain name portfolio, and how these reflect current and future business objectives and key markets of operation.

The good news is that it is relatively easily to keep your domain name portfolio looking spic and span.  Most organizations do not have the luxury of having one (or more) dedicated heads to look after their domain names and so it is important to have a strategy in place for all stakeholders to work within a single frame work.  This doesn’t have to be a complicated document or process.  A starting point is to define the registration and renewal authorization process such as who can make decisions on the domain portfolio and new registrations. It is also important to know what brand guidelines need to be adhered to, both in terms of registration terms and also in terms of the registrant details to be used.

In addition, NetNames recommends an annual review of the policy and the portfolio. Just like you service your car regularly, as portfolios mature, brand owners need to check for internet-worthiness or the value of those domains and make necessary additions to complete the portfolio to ensure critical digital assets are aligned with business strategies.

The NetNames five step annual domain name portfolio MOT consists of the following:

1. Understand and audit:

What domain names you have in your portfolio? How do they match your current branding? Do they reflect your products and services?

2. Gap analysis:

Do you have any clear gaps in your portfolio?  Do you need to use any country code Top Level Domain names (ccTLDs) to match your geographical reach? Do you have a consistent registration strategy across the key Top Level Domains (TLDs)?

3. Protect:

Who owns your Intellectual Property – If you do have clear gaps, who owns them?  How are they using them?  Are they damaging your brand reputation, diverting legitimate web traffic and customers away?

4. Resolve:

Where do your domain names resolve to? Which of your domain names are being used properly?  How many redirect to the wrong places, or worst still, no places.  What redirects are you using and what should you be using?

5. Secure:

Do you know where your SSLs are located/ on which domains? What critical assets are you protecting with additional trust and security products?  When do they expire?

All of this would form part of the domain audit report, which should be used in conjunction with the domain strategy to ensure the domain portfolio is kept ready for all eventualities. The NetNames domain audit report will show you how your domain portfolio is being used today. The higher the score, the healthier your critical digital assets are, and the happier search engines will be in sending good traffic your way. Over time, your domain name portfolio should change both in terms of quality of the assets as well as the quantity. As with other business functions, the management of IP normally has to adhere to a budgetary process and so it is a very useful exercise to look at where your current spend is going as well, as well as what your wish list is for the future.

Written by Stuart Fuller, Commercial and Communications Director, NetNames

10 October 2013

To find out more about requesting a NetNames Domain Audit for your company contact us here.