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Why You Shouldn’t Immediately Let Go of an Old Domain

As a website designer, I've encountered many situations where clients let go of their old domains without fully understanding the potential consequences. This decision can have serious repercussions, as illustrated by a recent discussion I came across in a Facebook group. One user shared their unfortunate experience of letting an old company URL expire, only to see it quickly taken over by a Chinese casino/porn site. This raises a critical question: Why should you hold onto your old domain, even if you think you no longer need it?

The Pitfalls of Letting Go Too Soon

  1. Reputation Damage: As seen in the example, an old domain can be quickly repurposed for questionable or inappropriate content. If your former clients or customers stumble upon the new site, it can severely damage your brand's reputation.

  2. Broken Links: When you let go of a domain, all the links pointing to your old site become broken. This not only frustrates users but also sends negative signals to search engines, impacting your SEO.

  3. Lost Traffic: Even if you've moved to a new domain, there might still be significant traffic coming through the old one. Redirecting this traffic to your new site ensures you don't lose potential customers.

Proper Steps to Offboard an Old Domain

To avoid the pitfalls mentioned above, it's crucial to follow proper steps when transitioning away from an old domain:

  1. Hold the Domain for an Extra Year: Keep the old domain for at least another year while running 301 redirects to your new site. This allows search engines to update their indexes and users to find your new location.

  2. Set Up Redirects: Implement 301 redirects from your old domain to the new one. This ensures that anyone visiting the old URL is automatically taken to your new site, preserving your traffic and SEO value.

  3. Update Online Listings: Ensure that all online listings, including social media profiles, directories, and other references, are updated with your new domain.

  4. Notify Your Audience: Send out an announcement to your customers and audience about the domain change. This can be done through email newsletters, social media posts, and updates on your website.

  5. Monitor for Activity: After the domain expires, periodically check to see if it's been repurposed. This can help you address any potential issues early on.

Proactive Steps if You've Let Go of an Old Domain

If you’ve already let go of an old domain and it has been taken over by inappropriate content, consider these proactive steps:

  1. Public Statements: Make a clear and public statement on your new website and social media channels explaining that the old domain is no longer affiliated with your business. This can help mitigate confusion and protect your brand's reputation.

  2. Client Communication: Personally reach out to your key clients and inform them of the situation. Assure them that your business is not associated with the content on the old domain.

  3. Legal Consultation: Consult with a legal expert to explore any potential actions you might take. While it may not always lead to reclaiming the domain, a legal expert can provide guidance specific to your situation.

  4. Strengthening Your New Domain: Focus on building and promoting your new domain. Enhance your SEO, engage in active marketing, and ensure all your digital assets point to the new domain to strengthen its presence.

  5. Consider Domain Monitoring Services: Use domain monitoring services to keep an eye on your old domain and receive alerts if there are significant changes. This allows you to stay informed and respond promptly if necessary.


Letting go of an old domain without proper planning can lead to a host of problems, from damaged reputation to lost traffic and SEO value. By holding onto your old domain for a while and setting up proper redirects, you can ensure a smoother transition and protect your brand’s integrity. At WixCreate, we specialize in helping businesses navigate these transitions seamlessly. Contact us today to learn more about how we can support your website needs.



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