Switching Domain Names

We recently switched the name of our company and our domain to http://TakeLessons.com. The name is shorter, easier to remember, and translates better internationally.

On our old domain, ClickForLessons.com, we had a Google page-rank of 5. We knew that by switching the domains, we were going to take an initial hit in our organic traffic, but we thought it better to make the change now than later when we have even more traffic. We have seen a slight drop in traffic, but not to the extent we thought. Whew – good news.

Here is a list of our action items that we took to help with the transfer to a new domain. If you are changing domains, this might get you started on the right foot:

=== Plan for Changing Domain Names ===

Prep work

    * Extract content from the blog and stop it. Plan on setting up new blog sub-domain.


    * Set up dns records
    * Set up mirroring
    * Point current hosting at new dns
    * SPF records
    * Reverse DNS with hosting company


    * New domain at mailtrust.com
    * Mail domain forwarding — not immediate
    * sendmail config
    * SPF records
    * Go through whitelisting again: BlackAndWhiteListing
    * use http://mxtoolbox.com/ to see if we are on any blacklists.

Office servers

    * Fix DNS on staging server
    * Domain on the router
    * DNS for office server
    * Reverse DNS with ISP

Web server config

    * Standardize on "takelessons.com" url (not www.takelessons.com)
    * Change to servername, webmaster
    * Install SSL certificate
    * Permanent 301 redirecting from clickforlessons.com to takelessons.com

Code changes

    * Find-and-replace ClickForLessons to TakeLessons
    * Logo and other images
    * Google api key
    * Legal documents: change the teacher/student agreement

Content changes

    * Testimonials
    * Profiles
    * Videos — including intro video for ICs

External sites

    * Google webmaster tools
    * Ads we publish
          o Adwords
          o Yahoo ad publishing
          o backpage
          o craigslist
    * Ad revenue
          o Adsense — including conversion tracking
          o Yahoo ads
    * Stats we collect
          o Statcounter — want to keep our historical data here
          o awstats
    * Merchant Account billing accounts, Paypal name change
    * Incoming links — notify web site owners


    * Let all strategic partners know of the change – update their sites

Accounts we have

    * Change or set up new social network sitesr

Other stuff

    * Update BBB listing
    * Postcards
    * Business cards
    * Let all clients know 3 days before change – have them add new domain to their "allowed" list

2 thoughts on “Switching Domain Names”

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