It used to be, when you sold a business you absolutely included the phone number associated with the business as part of the sale. Having that consistency meant it was easier for thrilled customers to continue to find your business. Simple logic. That’s still true but today there are other assets that are also important such as the businesses’ URL. What’s a URL and what’s it worth?
The term URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator and it’s the address you type into the address bar on your web browser to find a businesses’ website. For example, what would the URL www.facebook.com be worth?
While I have argued that the specific URL someone chooses for their website may not be that important, whatever is ultimately chosen should be considered gold by the business owner. For example, before that company had the URL www.google.com really had no value and wouldn’t be associated with a company that provides internet search. However, if they changed their URL to www.searchthis.com and just gave up www.google.com it would absolutely affect that business.
The same’s true of a traditional business. Over time a specific URL associated with your company begins to become noticed in the world. Other sites may link to that URL and your business could be getting business from sources you never imagined.
For example, a resort I was affiliated with not only had a tremendous amount of traffic from people who directly sought-out that business, but also earned traffic from articles that were written about it, referral services like Yelp and TripAdvisor, other websites including fishing sites and more. When you ran a report of the number of websites that linked to the resort’s website, it numbered in the hundreds.
There is almost no way to convince all the people linking to your business website that they should change that link so the asset that is your businesses’ URL is a really vital part of your business today.
Another factor is the search engines. Despite the immediacy of the Internet, it takes quite some time for search engines to change all the links to your website if you change the URL. While they’re finding the new site, they’re sending people to the old URL.
Considering the cost of keeping an old URL, about $12/year, there is really no reason to ever let one go. In fact, if you change the name of the business, it still makes sense to keep the old URL just because some people don’t change their own method of finding you and even losing one customer for the sake of $12/year isn’t worth it.
But if you did change the name of your business, you could point the old URL to your fancy new one. That way you don’t lose out on any links that might be directing traffic your way but you still take advantage of the new URL.
Sadly, I know of a company who let their URL expire and, before they knew it, the URL was being used by a porn site. That URL was stamped on countless numbers of cases used by DJs and bands and the company had also invested in a tremendous number of giveaway items with their name and logo on it over the years that were distributed at trade shows.
Even today, almost 9 years after the fact, they are still being harmed by this simple mistake by someone in the marketing department.
Truthfully the longer you have a URL reserved for the better as well. You get a superior deal on the renewal plus it looks better to search engines that you’re in business for the long haul. That being said, make sure you have an effective way of making sure that you can renew the URL when the time is nigh.
Unless you really like people associating your business with Internet porn.