Published September 26, 2011

Domain Security: 6 Strategies to Protect Your Small Business Domain

As an entrepreneur and a small business owner, you have worked hard to start your online business and build it into a functional, profitable, and growing enterprise. If your small business realizes some level of success, like most other successful companies, you could be a target for others to want to "piggyback" on your success.

The internet has proven that it is easy to look like another business using variations on a domain. A small business domain could be modified to pull customers away from your legitimate URL or even to trash talk your business through the internet. That is why domain security is important in order to continue your strong online sales, as well as to protect your reputation online.

  1. Domain Protection Starts with Proper Registration

    When you acquire your small business domain, you must register it through a domain registrar. In some cases, a small business domain may be registered by a third-party web designer, and the designer may place his or her name as the registered owner and contact.

    This can lead to a nightmare situation in the future if you were ever to sever relations with your web designer. He or she could take your domain hostage as the registered contact, and you could face hefty litigation in order to get it back.

    No matter who performs the actual registration of your small business domain, make sure that your name is properly added. That means having your business as the actual owner of the domain, and your personal name and email for the administrative contact.

  2. Lock Your Small Business Domain's Registration

    Sneaky domain thieves can stealthily swipe your domain right under your nose. In fact, it could be as easy as a devious individual requesting a domain transfer from your registrar. If your registrar honors the request, the thief has effectively hijacked your small business domain and has control over it on another hosting platform.

    To prevent this from happening, you should choose a registrar who will 'lock' your registration. That means that if a transfer request is presented, the registrar sends an email to the administrative contact to verify the transfer.

  3. Renew Your Domain Registration on Time

    Busy with wearing so many hats, business owners are likely to forget that a small business domain must be renewed through the registrar on a regular basis, usually every two years. You should receive an email notification when the registration is coming up for expiration. However, if those emails are overlooked, or you haven't updated a correct email contact with the domain registrar, you could easily miss this important step.

    If you miss the domain renewal, anyone can swipe the cancelled domain and claim it as their own - and then ask for a hefty fee from you to get it back. To avoid this possibility, always set your calendar for your small business domain registration renewals.

  4. Buy Alternate Domain Extensions

    You may own the 'yourbusiness.com' domain, but what about the .co, .net, .biz, .org, .us, .tv, etc? There are many popular extensions that are not used as often as the .com, but could still be important to your business if another scurrilous individual gathered your domain in the other alternate extensions. Consider buying them yourself and redirecting them to your main domain.

  5. Acquire Domain Variations

    While you may have found the perfect domain for 'yourbusiness.com', customers may try to type in variations of your name in their URL field. Consider owning certain small business domain variations so you can redirect them to your website.

    For instance, a 'nuttyandsweet' domain may be easily swapped into 'sweetandnutty'. Try to obtain both if possible, as well as other variations that could be close to your domain.

  6. Secure Potential Negative Domains

    It may seem silly to own the rights to 'yourdomainsucks.com', but wouldn't you rather own it than someone else? If ever a disgruntled customer wants to wreak havoc on your business, it could easily be done through a negatively named site. While it is not illegal for them to do so, you can prevent it by taking that domain and simply hoarding it away from any possible evil-doers.